By all accounts, I’m a fan of Mr. Argento’s work. However, somehow I got caught up in the anticipation of another Masters of Horror episode and forgot the quality of his previous movies. Despite being more than aware of the contents of his past forays into film, I expected this to be substantial and plot-driven.
The episode started well. The pace was good, and the message was clear from the start - helpless animals would die, and furriers would get their comeuppance. Unfortunately, the plot failed to progress from there. Until the last ten minutes, you learn nothing new about the pelts or the raccoons they came from. Argento offers a vague attempt at an explanation as to why these Raccoons are so special, but it clarifies little and leaves the viewer only slightly less enlightened than they were in the opening few minutes.
Lack of plot aside, the movie had some truly genuine shock-value moments. Argento’s morbid creativity seems to be at its best, and a couple of those deaths were definitely things I’ve never seen before in a movie, which impressed me. The violence is constant and gratuitous, which seems to be an Argento trademark.
Meat Loaf is quite good in horror (I was especially fond of his tongue-in-cheek fate in Tales From The Crypt) and works well as Jake Feldman, delivering a strong performance. 'Pelts' wasn’t my favourite offering from Masters of Horror, but at least the conservation message Argento clumsily attempts to force upon us is a valid one:
Wear a ‘coon coat, and you might just end up dead in an elevator with a partially-flayed rock star.