A warlock couple abduct a young teenage girl to sacrifice her to a mysterious and evil entity as an offering to resurrect their long-dead boy.
Took a bit of a break to go and enjoy some family gatherings, and turkey dinners, so I hope you’ll forgive the absence. In order to make up the time, I popped open my yet-to-be-watched box set of the first season of Masters of Horror. The films are shorter, to be sure, but I think they work pretty well. So, you’ll see three reviews today, two episodes of Masters of Horror and one feature film. Let’s get started.
This little gem was directed by William Malone, who had previously given me one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, the remake of House on Haunted Hill, and the terrible Feardotcom. Joining Malone is writer Matt Greenberg, who penned such hits as 1408, Seventh Son, and Halloween H20. The pair work together to produce almost exactly what you might expect: a satisfying, fun, and flawed little horror film.
Going with the positives first, the design of the titular fair haired child, or as it is credited “Johnny Thing”, is absolutely fantastic. It’s creepy, and works in full light, something that doesn’t happen all that often. The costume has elements of being cheesy, but something about the way it looks and moves will get right under your skin, and stay there.
The performances are all pretty good, if not a bit hammy. The Johnny Thing is played by Walter Phelan, who played Doctor Satan in House of 1000 Corpses, and worked in the special effects department on Attack the Block, so he’s done pretty well for himself. His movements are creepy, aided of course by spooky editing, and he certainly knows how to move in a costume. Johnny himself is played by Jesse Haddock, who has had a smattering of small or background roles in things like Hot Rod, and Trick ‘r Treat. The leading lady of the piece is Lindsay Pulsipher (True Blood), who does a pretty good job considering she’s forced to wear a school girl outfit for almost 90% of the film. You’ve also got William Samples (The BFG), and Lori Petty (Tank Girl) as Johnny’s grieving parents, and also sorcerers.
The writing is a bit clunky, and does reek of the mid 2000’s, but it works pretty effectively. The biggest issue I had with the script was the ending, which feels like a bit of a cop-out in the form of a cheese-ball twist. That said, I appreciate that it doesn’t try to cram too many big ideas in, and that it tells a complete story from start to finish. So many short films can’t be bothered to do that, and working within an hour The Fair Haired Child does manage to pull it off.
While this is an episode of a television show, it’s one that I’ve seen available on its own (which is why I figured it counted for this little project), and I can understand why. It’s a distinct film, with a very memorable monster in it. Now, it’s possible you’ll think I’ve spoiled the monster for you with the images I’ve put in this review, but I’ve yet to see a cover for the movie that doesn’t have it plastered all over.
It’s a fun movie, and it’s a short movie, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse than this. I’d recommend checking it out, and while you’re at it, maybe take a look at other episodes of Masters of Horror.
MY RATING: ****