I was impressed by the costumes and the period piece sets. I was expecting a lot from this period drama, but all I see is another silly story that lacks substance. The story was flat, the characters despite their superb victorian era acting were just as flat. When the supernatural stuff starts to appear, the whole story just becomes rubbish. There's nothing here worth watching, and this is not even horror anymore, it's just plain rubbish. I feel that I wasted my time with this episode, if you haven't seen it yet, let me do you a favor, don't bother watching it, it's nothing special.
"That's the most horrible tale ever told!" So says Edward Ralston, whose quest to bring back his love leads him to a mysterious woman with a cautionary tale. He could not have been more correct . . . !
Ah, well - another miss for the Masters of Horror. . . I had high hopes for this one, given that it's based on a story by Clive Barker. It started well enough, with Ralston arriving at the woman's cabin to beg her to reanimate his lost love. She will do so, but only if he still desires it after hearing Haeckel's Tale. While there was some suspense, the payoff was frankly disappointing. The only bright spot was seeing the beguiling Leela Savasta in the altogether . . . but even that wasn't enough to save this one. If you have a chance to see this one, don't!
I enjoyed the story of Haeckel's Tale, which I would have to say is one of Clive Barker's greatest fictional works. When I heard that it was filmed as a Masters of Horror segment, I was very interested and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed by the outcome.
It started out like a Masterpiece Theatre episode with the opening scene of a man coming to an elderly necromancer in order to revive his deceased wife. She refuses but then decides to help him only if he still wants that after she tells him the story of Ernest Haeckel. One of the most interesting parts was the attempted revival that went utterly wrong and the night of forbidden pleasure was performed well. Leela Savasta's portrayal of the younger Elise was the best role followed by Derek Cecil's Ernst Haeckel. Mick Garris and John McNaughton have done well.
Hackeals tale is kind of a rip off, well very much a rip off but frankinstien with necrophilia, can't blame the guy for trying. Had me interested, I dread stuff thats set in the past mainly because the english language has changed a lot in the last centuary and stuff like this is usually poorly scripted, and nothings different in that area here, the script is a little weak but it kept me watching. The gore and scares were in all the right places and at right levels (Clive Barker wrote the story, why wouldn't it be?) but sometimes you can feel that it could've been handled better, the way it was scripted was a little weak, but a better take on Hackeals tale would get a better score from me.
This story left me wanting more; a good quality considering the subject matter involved forbidden love in the furthest extreme. I haven't read Mr. Clive Barker's story on which this is based, but true to his other work, Haeckel captures the perverse fascination that I know better than to express. When we are confronted with the realization, it is handled almost with care and gentleness, it's mesmerizing. It is worth mentioning that the most profuse blood spray is the work of an infant (that's how they make their entrance so it's our notions about innocence that is being disturbed). So there are a few elements challenging a viewer's sense of order and what is proper. When the story begins, we are in an earlier time but we can identify clearly with Ernst being a man of science. It is only later that we learn he is a virgin and despite being a medical student, holding convictions, and possessing intelligence (mocked by the cadaver vendor) it is all powerless next to the captivatingly beautiful Elise. Would a more world-weary Ernst faired better? that depends if you feel his fate was such a bad thing.
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