From 2005-2007, Showtime aired 26 episodes of the anthology Masters of Horror, created by SLEEPWALKERS director Mick Garris. Well known directors including Stuart Gordon, Tobe Hooper, Dario Argento, Joe Dante, John Landis, and Takashi Miike were given an hour running time and a TV crew and budget, but few other limitations, to make little mini horror movies. The results were mixed, but there were some good ones (my favorites were by Lucky McKee, Don Coscarelli and John Carpenter) and it was an opportunity to get new material from great directors who for the most part weren’t getting as many opportunities as they should’ve in those days.
When Showtime opted not to renew Masters of Horror for a third season, Garris took basically the same premise to NBC, under the new title Fear Itself. This was kinda different not only because it had a new theme song by Serj Tankian of System of a Down, but because it had commercials and was censored for network TV. So if you haven’t heard of it, that’s why. They made 13 episodes, but NBC only aired five. Along with official Masters of Horror Landis and Gordon were more directors from a younger generation including Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES), Brad Anderson (THE MACHINIST), and Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO), plus – you guessed it – the master of such horrors as THE TRAIL, THE OCCUPANT, BLESS THIS HOUSE, BRIDE OF CHUCKY and FREDDY VS. JASON, Ronny Yu. That’s right – his followup to FEARLESS was the opposite, Fear Itself.
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