STARZ HOME ENTERTAINMENT/ANCHOR BAY has released the third volume from the first season of "MASTERS OF HORROR," on blu-ray. For some reason, the episodes in these volumes is out of chronological order with regards to their original airings. "INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD" may not be the best of the entire series, but it's definitely the best of the three offered in Volume 3. Directed by Don(PHANTASM)Coscarelli, Bree Turner stars as a young girl whose car runs off a mountain road, only to be trapped and pursued by a "Jeepers Creepers" type of entity, intent on doing horrible things to her, as he's already done with so many other victims. Luckilly, she's learned to use weapons and ingenuity to survive from her husband, a survivalist, as revealed in flashbacks. There's some other surprises revealed in flashbacks, leading to a disturbing conclusion.
"DANCE OF THE DEAD" is one of the most convoluted, annoying episodes of the entire series. It's all over the place! It tries to be too many things. It's a post-apocalyptic thriller, sci-fi and other genres, but none of them realized with any impact. Ultimately, it's just bad!
"PICK ME UP," while flawed, is still amusing and semi-disturbing in a "DEXTER" type of way. Michael Moriarty is terrific as a trucker-serial killer battling wits with another serial killer-hitchhiker along the same roads. Director Larry Cohen has shown a penchant for unusual twists within routine stories in the past, and he manages to do the same here.
As with the other volumes, STARZ has presented this volume in 1080i, as was the original source elements for its SHOWTIME airings. While colors come close to oversaturation at times, the image is generally solid. Hues and fleshtones that are a bit lax at first, quickly become stable and natural, within the "unnatural" settings of these stories. Deep blacks and grays, provide terrific detail in the frequently darker scenes.
A PCM 5.1 mix is offered along with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. While there isn't a huge difference between the two, the PCM offers slightly deeper bass and a wider dynamic range. Each episode offers a unique and engaging experience for the audience. There are plenty of discrete effects, surrounds are creatively utilized, and there's a surprising amount of bass, always effective when employed here! The terrific score is well balanced with dialogue and the other effects.
There are a variety of audio commentaries here, with the best belonging to the two for "INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD." Certainly worth a listen.