Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Masters of Horror: Right to Die (2007)

Director Rob Schmidt could hardly be called a "Master of Horror" at the time that he directed Right to Die because he only had one horror film under his belt. But seeing as how that one horror film was one of my favorites of all time, Wrong Turn, I was excited to see what he could do with this episode. Truthfully, I had been majorly disappointed by most of the Masters of Horror episodes so I stopped seeking them out after a while. However, since they're only an hour long I gave this one a shot the other day and I'm glad to say that this is one of the better ones.

After his wife Abby is left badly burned and in a coma after a car accident, Cliff Addison has to make the horrible decision of whether or not to "pull his plug" on her. The problem is that every time Abby flatlines, she visits Cliff in the most awful ways, hellbent on revenge for recent slights committed against her. Cliff then has to figure out a way to keep Abby alive, or risk becoming one of her victims himself.

The first thing that attracts me to this episode is that the plot is one of the most creative I've seen in a while. It is essential a ghost story (do you know what I'm going to say here?) and I loves me some ghosts, so I was impressed with the unique perspective they took on the typical ghost or haunting story. Abby basically has one foot in the grave with how nasty burned up she is, and whenever she "dies" in the hospital, she takes the opportunity to get back at her husband. The visits last only as long as it takes for the doctors to revive her. I really thought that was genius, especially when you consider Cliff's dilemma - it'll solve all his problems if she dies, but her spirit will mostly kill him if she dies, as well.

One place that the Masters of Horror have never disappointed me on is the gore factor and Right to Die has got some great gore moments. I have a pretty severe fear of being burned by fire so this episode did absolutely nothing to alleviate that. Abby has been burned basically over 100% of her body so she's bandaged head to toe but when she visits Cliff's mistress, Trish, and his sleazy lawyer (Corbin Bernsen rules) she is gored-out and bloody and oozy and I was very uncomfortable. But that scene where she's propped up on the table and the doctors are doing something like removing skin or whatever? YEESH. That was disgusting. Oh, and you know how when you pull a slice of pizza out of the pie and the cheese gets all gooey and sticks to the edges? Yeah, that's what it looked when the doctors use the defibrillator paddles on Abby while trying to resuscitate her.

The climactic scene comes when Cliff learns that the doctors only have a few hours to save Abby using skin grafts and they need a donor. Cliff finds a donor himself in the slutty Trish girl and proceeds to tie her down, dose her with laughing gas, and skin her alive - because, of course, the skin has to be fresh. The makeup effects here, and really throughout the whole episode, was very impressive and seamless. Everything is shown in all its bloody glory with nothing left to the imagination and it was fantastic. High five to those guys at KNB because they really know their shit.

By the end of the episode, I couldn't help but be on Abby's side. Sure she's kind of a vengeful bitch, but when the truth about what happened to her is revealed, you realize that Cliff has gotten off easy for all the things he has done. He had an affair, basically murdered his wife, and though he shows remorse for it all, his reasons for wanting to save her are completely selfish. At the end, when Abby has finally died (for good), Cliff walks through the front door where his wife's ghost is waiting for him and apparently takes his punishment. I was expecting a more bloody end for Cliff with a big climactic battle with Abby's ghost but this ending was so much more effective. You don't really have to see what happens to Cliff to know that he is pretty much fucked in the hands of the woman he betrayed and killed.

Schmidt definitely has some talent in the horror genre with this and Wrong Turn, so I would be more than happy to check out anything else he has to offer. Right to Die had a great story and was delightfully and disgustingly gory. Gives me hope for some of the other episodes I'm still catching up on.


  1. Glad you liked it. I loved most of the episodes and this one was one of the best for sure.

  2. also glad you liked it. Right To Die is undoubtedly amazing, and along with Cigarette Burns, Imprint and Family my favorite MOH episode.

  3. @Xploit: There were really only a few standout episodes of the ones I've watched, mainly Cigarette Burns and Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, but maybe I'll find some more hidden gems!

    @Maynard: I watched Family the other day too, after Right to Die! LOVED that one as well. Review coming soon!

  4. @Michele:
    Yay for Family!

    btw, I also recommend Rob Schmidt's "The Spirit Box" to you, a cool episode he directed for the short-lived TV series "Fear Itself".

  5. I finished to watch this episode and i think it's beautiful. The story is creepy -and sad- and the finale is really awesome! One of the best episode of the season two!

    P.S. I'm sorry for my english, i'm italian and i don't speak this language very well.