Friday, November 6, 2009

Masters of Horror S2 08: Valerie on the Stairs (2006)

Valerie on the Stairs is the 8th episode in season 2 of Masters of Horror, and directed by Mick Garris, the man responsible for giving us this show in the first place. His previous entry, Chocolate, was not one of my favorites of the original season, and though this story was a little more immersive, I found it largely forgettable.


Rob Hanisey is an unpublished young author, broke, down on his luck, and dumped by his girlfriend. He gets a rare opportunity to take a room at a place called Highberger House, a sort of boarding house for unpublished authors. This is a cool idea, the coolest in the story...once a resident is published, they have to move out and move on. The other residents of the place include a Southern romance writer, a grumpy old pulp horror/sci-fi author (played well by Christopher Lloyd), and another younger writer.

Rob settles in to a previous tenant's room (who killed himself), and tries to write, but is interrupted when he discovers a beautiful ghost (Clare Grant) who is in distress. The other tenants act like Rob is crazy and tell him to shut up, but it turns guessed it...there is a dark secret! The fair maiden Valerie and her demonic tormentor (Tony Todd basically playing himself) are the product of a collaboration between the three other tenants, a story so vivid that it has taken flesh within Highberger House. Todd begins killing these writers, and it's up to Rob to save the day and get the girl!

As you can see, the story is quite weak...and what's worse, it ends with a pretty ham-fisted attempt at symbolism. Is Rob a real person? Or is he also written into the story? Why is his 'ex-girlfriend' hanging in the demon's crypt, and why did she bite Christopher Lloyd to death? If you really care, kill the 50 minutes and watch the episode. It's not the worst this season, but I was yawning half way through.

Verdict: Indifference [5/10]

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