Funny, but I get the titles of Masters of Horror Season 2's best/worst episodes mixed up. For the record, Right To Die is the good one and Pro-Life is the bad one. These episodes, while both peripherally tackling the "issues" of the day, could not be more different from one another.
Right To Die was semi-influenced by the Terri Schiavo case, but don't worry about having political messages crammed down your throat — this is a scary story, first and foremost.
It begins in a car on a lonely, dark mountain road. The husband, mild-mannered dentist Cliff (Martin Donovan), is at the wheel when he crashes, near-fatally injuring his brittle and obviously angry wife, Abby (Julia Anderson).
Burned beyond belief, she hangs by a thread in the hospital while Cliff wrestles with his guilt — not merely remorse over the crash, but about something that happened before. As Abby walks between the veil or life and death she comes to visit Cliff, often reminding him that he is not forgiven for any of his transgressions.
Cliff wants to pull the plug, but standing in his way is Abby's shrewish mother (Linda Sorenson). Fortunately, standing on his side is his shark of an attorney (Corbin Bernsen). But as I mentioned; all of these legal and emotional issues take a back seat to the suspenseful, often cringe-inducing moments of bloody horror. (For Horror.com's review of Right To Die's original airing on Showtime, please click here.)
The DVDs for the second season of Masters of Horror are definitely more subdued than those which were produced for its debut year in 2005/2006, but Right To Die does put forth a lot of practical information about the making of the mini-movie. There's a director's commentary, but only major Rob Schmidt need tune in — pretty much the same ground is covered in the more succinct Burnt Offerings making-of featurette.
The main featurette boasts sound-bites from nearly everyone in the cast, plus the most important players behind the scenes (most notably Lee Wilson, the special effects guru; and Howard Berger, his makeup effects counterpart). In the featuretette, Schmidt says "having nightmares actually helps" horror directors. Bernsen jokes that a crew member actually went outside and puked after a certain gooey scene was filmed. And Donovan deadpans, "What do you mean? Is there something in this show that's anything you wouldn't see in a Disney movie?"
A featurette called Flay-O-Trish is actually much more than the title implies. In this fx travelogue through the grilled and gored up body parts is also The Hot Foot (featuring Lee Wilson), The Abby-Thing (featuring the actress who portrayed the "Abby Thing", Xantha Radley), and more.
= = =Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson