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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2008
This is my first Masters of Horror movie I watched due to such bad reviews of almost every one of them. I read good things about this one (hi Chris and M!) so I decided to pick it up. And boy am I glad I did. If you want to sit back and enjoy a good gore fest then I would definitely recommend this. Argento definitely does not hold back with the grossness. I haven't been happily goriefied in quite some time. And not only that... we are also blessed with a ton of nudity. So much nudity that I actually kind of felt bad about our main actress cause I think she was topless for about 90% of her scenes. And then we have Meatloaf. You can never go wrong when Man-Boob Bob is in your movie. He played his part wonderfully in Pelts as a horny, sleazy, and uncaring fur coat maker looking for a big paycheck.

Oh... the story is about some raccoons with some guardian spirits in them. They die and get skinned. But their guardian spirits live on and get revenge. Sounds dumb I know, but the story isn't THAT bad. But, like porn, are you really watching this for the story or are you watching this for something else!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The second season of Showtime's "Masters of Horror" has had more than its share of inauspicious offerings. So I was intrigued and delighted when Italian horror legend Dario Argento was invited to the party again. Season One's Argento was "Jenifer" which, to me, was more of an oddity than an entertainment. But I never count Argento out. To be honest--I hadn't seen Argento around in the few years prior to "Masters," but his early Giallo-style influence on modern horror is undeniable. And while nothing in "Pelts" come close to his lyrical and haunting masterpiece "Suspiria," it is still a demented bit of fun (and a big improvement over "Jenifer."

Meatloaf (I will do anything for pelts, but I won't do that!) stars as a fur trader looking to cash in on some quality skins. With a big score, he hopes to win the love of a most unpleasant stripper. John Saxon is a trapper who ensnares a whole slew of beautiful raccoons. For reasons that aren't particularly important (just go with it) they are mystical and guard something vaguely supernatural. Anyone who comes into contact with the pelts from these beasts can expect to meet with a little nastiness.

Buoyed by a great, over-the-top performance by Meatloaf--I had a lot of fun with "Pelts." I never connected with the supernatural angle, but I didn't try to overthink it either. There are some good effects, a decent amount of gore, and a playful tone. The ending, in particular, reaching a crescendo that is almost operatic in scope. One of the more interesting entries into a very hit-or-miss anthology. KGHarris, 12/06.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2007
Do you like the old HBO series TALES FROM THE CRYPT? If so, PELTS may just be tailor made for you. In this installment of the popular MASTERS OF HORROR series, director Dario Argento gives us PELTS, the story of a fur trader named Jake Feldman (Meat Loaf Aday, who really needs to drop that last name, IMO) who stumbles upon the furs of several enchanted raccoons, and decides to make the world's most beautiful coonskin coat with them, in order to seduce Shana, the lesbian stripper of his dreams(A role filled out very nicely by Ellen Ewusie). One small problem: The furs, being once attached to enchanted-forest-dwelling raccoons, curse whomever they come in contact with to die as the raccoons themselves did; bloody, hideous, painful deaths.

So in no short order, the trapper who originally trapped the animals and killed them, his son, and several sweatshop workers are dead in stupendously over the top fashion, from gutting themselves, to diving face first onto a bearclaw trap (A great moment of giallo that is sure to please the gorehounds out there) to actually sewing their face shut. The only question left is whether or not Feldman can resist the siren song of the furs long enough to dump them and surive the nightmare he's found himself in.

The plot IS, as other reviews have stated, flat out ridiculous, but in PELTS' defense, no more so than the average episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT used to be. In fact, if you threw in a Cryptkeeper intro and extro, this would be a slam bang episode of TFTC. The acting is solidly in the B-movie range, as you'd expect from a made for cable movie, and only Meat Loaf really stands out from the rest of the cast. The gore is plentiful enough to keep the gorehounds happy, there's plenty of bare breasts to keep T & A fans happy, and over all, horror fans in general should find enough in PELTS to suit their fancy. A great entry into the MASTERS cannon, right alongside Argento's other entry, JENIFER. Recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2007
Oh where do I begin?

This has got to be one of the best, if not the best, episodes of both Masters of Horror seasons. This was truly gore at its finest. Some of the other episodes claim to be about horror but never really delivers. Not so with Argento's contribution.

Warning: Even though I'm a vegan, don't let that influence you when reading my review. Of course, I'm happy the characters got it in karmic spades, but I am a horror fan and feel I can contribute an unbiased critique of Argento's work.

With that said, allow me to continue: This has it all: sex, nudity, girl-on-girl, seedy people, pretty girls, blood, more blood, gore galore, humor, etc. For me, I walked away with a huge feeling of satisfaction from the conclusion of this horrific installment. Everyone connected to the racoon slaughter got what they deserved--big time!

I'd like to insert spoilers here but I know that wouldn't be fair to you. So, all I can say is go rent or buy this DVD and see if it isn't the very best episode in the whole MOH series.

To my fellow veggies, if you can stomach one racoon killing which is of course fake, then by all means watch it. You'll not be disappointed by how karma grabs her victims by the jugular and rips their throats out.

I still shudder when I think about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2007
Okay, that sounds stupid. But trust me, this gory short film rules!
Meatloaf makes fur coats out of the pelts of dead raccoons. But the little critters' ghosts hold a grudge and put a curse on all those involved.
It's easy to overlook this weak storyline due to all the gore and nudity. Fright Master Dario Argento is the best with gruesome deaths, and he doesn't hold back here. There were a few disgusting self-mutilation scenes that looked way too realistic.
Really, with all the vivid gore and hot naked chicks you don't get a chance to get annoyed by the plot. A must-see for horror buffs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2009
Jake Feldman (Meat Loaf) runs a sweat shop specializing in fake furs. His frustration with his lack of quality furs causes him to lash out at his mostly immigrant staff. What frustrates Jake even more are the unreturned advances of a stripper named Shanna (Ellen Ewusie) whom he is obsessed with. Jake pays her nightly visits and on one particular night things take a terrifying turn in Jake's life . After he almost rapes Shanna he gets a phone call from a trapper named Jameson (John Saxon). Jameson and his son have just caught the most beautiful raccoon furs imaginable and he is offering Jake first pick of the merchandise. Before Jake can meet up with Jameson, Jameson's son, under the mysterious influence of the furs murders his father by bashing his head in with a metal bat and takes his own life by diving headfirst into a bear trap. The gore in this film is ridiculous and over the top but still disgusting. It surprises me that this film aired with all of its extreme violence yet Takashi Miike's offering was deemed too disturbing. Once Jake sees the pelts he could care less about the mutilated bodies he has to step over to get to his prized possession. He declares them the best pelts he has seen in twenty years and believes that they are just what he needs to get the two things he wants most out of life : a successful business and Shanna. He pays Shanna a visit at work (what she is doing when Jake arrives is funny and erotic) and asks her to model the furs in an upcoming fashion show. Sensing an opportunity to manipulate Jake further Shanna teases him with sexual advances before agreeing to his wish. She wants the furs for herself. Jake does a little investigating and discovers that the furs are a special kind coming from magical raccoons who once presided over their own city. They were the guardians of that city and the magical powers that they once possessed now cause anyone who comes into contact with these furs to commit violent acts of self mutilation and murder. Each murder is in keeping with how these animals are slaughtered. The film is a little goofy and over the top but Argento knows what people expect from him and he doesn't disappoint. The murders are gross and there is tons of blood and intestines spilling all over the screen. Easier on the eyes is Shanna who is a stripper who actually takes her clothes off in a movie. Some films you might read that an actress is half naked for most of the film but in this case it's not an exaggeration. Actress Ellen Ewusie appears nude in every scene that she has in this film. Meat Loaf is a lot of fun as Jake. His portrayal of a sleazy guy driven mad by desire was so intense that I was reminded of Jack Nicholson at times. John Saxon makes you wish he had more scenes before he is brutally murdered. The score by regular Argento composer Claudio Simonetti is very spooky and recalls the nursery rhyme from Deep Red in a couple of scenes towards the end. Pelts is gross as hell but it's one of the funnest horror films in a while since it tells a crazy story about murderous raccoons and features tons of gratuitous gore and nudity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2007
After watching Argento's "Jennifer" first and then "Pelts", the difference was obvious to me. Where "Jennifer" had a more murkier approach to its story--we are brought in the middle where Jennifer makes yet another appearance in someone's life and we have learned nothing about her past or who she is and what her motivations are--you will be left with no doubt where you stand by the end of "Pelts". Everything works with this MOH installment. Meatloaf gives a terrific performance as this perpetually pissed off furrier who obsesses over a stripper half his age. Knowing he can't have her just seems to egg him on (and piss him off) more. Then you get these magical raccoons thrown into the mix. This is the one murky spot in the story--you only know that they come from an enchanted raccoon city that just happens to be beyond a neighbor's cow pasture. Yeah, I don't know where that one came from either. But the pelts are cursed and anyone who touches them has their fate sealed-and ended by some kind of grisly act of self-mutilation. I'm not giving anything away here, you'll figure this out after the first 10 minutes or so. The real story is the erotic cat and mouse game that Mealoaf's character and the stripper play with each other throughout the film. I'm not one for sexual tension as a main story theme, but this one has a HUGE payoff at the story's ending, which is quite amazing. When you see it, you'll definitely say holy cow. If you are familiar with Argento's previous masterpieces, then you'll recognize the elements: the very eerie music by Claudio Simonetti, the leader of the band Goblin (they did the music for "Susperia" and Romero's "Dawn of the Dead"), the surreal multi-colored lighting, and the over-the-top violence that is poetry in and of itself. The extras are somewhat more sparse than what we have been accustomed to from the first season. There is a small featurette about the making of the episode; another featurette about the special make up effects; the screen play and of course a commentary track, this time with the writer instead of the actor or director. My only beef about that is how "Pelts" wasn't even Matt Venne's story--he lifted it from the far superior F.Paul Wilson (whom some of you might remember wrote The Keep)--now a commentary by him would have been interesting! It will also be interesting in the future to see if Argento collaborates with his daughter Asia for another MOH entry. Thank you, Dario, for this one, however!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Dario Argento's second episode for the Masters of Horror TV series, Pelts, is a distinct improvement on his first, Jenifer, and also probably the goriest thing he's ever done. Again, surprises aren't really on the menu, but this time the execution is a lot more inspired, especially since the show seems to be on a dare to see just how far it can go and doesn't chicken out. The story is a fairly simple don't muck with Mother Nature one as everyone who comes into contact with a series of beautiful racoon pelts, from John Saxon's grizzled trapper to Meat Loaf's desperate furrier and the stripper he lusts after, meet increasingly gory ends that mirror the various stages from trap to fur coat. The visuals are good, making much play on cages and traps without being over-obvious, while Claudio Simonetti's score gives the pelts themselves a seductively beautiful theme and there's a particularly good performance from Meat Loaf Aday. The featurette on the DVD also reveals that the racoons themselves are played, rather convincingly at that, by West Highland Terriers in fur coats...

Not as many extras as on the first Masters of Horrors series, but still a recommended episode.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2007
Dario Argento knows Horror. Dario Argento knows gore and blood. And he knows how to do it in style.

Fast paced and interesting plot. Gruesome, agonizing and jawdropping deaths. Pelts is graphic gore, blood spattering, vomit inducing entertainment to the extreme. Masters of Horrors scored big with this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2009
A slimy furrier, Jake, (Meatloaf) gets his greedy hands on some prized raccoon pelts and uses them to make an exquisite fur coat for the object of his desire- a sultry stripper named Shanna (Ellen Ewusie) who has no interest in being with him unless he has something to offer her. What Jake doesn't know is the raccoons used to make the coat were sacred animals, "sentinels to the lost city", who were hunted by a shady fur trader (John Saxon) and his son on forbidden, sacred land so their furs are cursed. Anyone who seeks to exploit their hypnotically beautiful pelts end up becoming victims of their spirits wrath and self mutilation and an agonizing death is the end result.

I have been a fan of Dario Argento for quite some time now. His movies from 1975-1987 are some of his best work ("Suspiria" being my absolute favorite) and it is obvious to anyone who has seen these films that he does not shy away from depicting loss of life on screen in detail. However in his earlier works, the death scenes looked too artistic to be believable. For instance, the oozing blood displayed was too red, too animated making the deaths look pretty and grotesque at the same time. What a difference a few decades make? Argento is now giving us straight up, repulsive, nasty gore and even more gore. The first episode from season 2 that I saw was Rob Schmidt's "Right to Die" and I thought it couldn't get gorier than that. Well Argento has proven me wrong. So wrong in fact that by the conclusion of this episode, I really didn't know how to react so I started laughing hysterically like Jessica Harper at the end of "Suspiria" only to discover my legs were numb and I felt quite nauseous. Argento made me realize that I do not have a high gore threshold which is somewhat disappointing. If you can stomach this amount of repulsiveness, than "Pelts" is the short movie for you. The gore effects are achingly grotesque and well done and the nudity is plentiful. So much so that the lead actress pretty much has her clothes off for practically every scene she is in (she is playing a stripper so it is fitting) but as lovely as she is to look at, the star of this show is the gore and the gore is just a prelude to even more gore and an even gorier climax.

Thanks Argento, your nasty film made me feel sensations I have never felt before and after watching this sick excursion into Argento-land, I think I can now stomach anything. I could go on about the cinematography and performances but there really is no point. No one will be watching this for the plot or the scenery or those lovely shots of those cutesy little raccoons looking sad and adorable in those barbaric animal traps. Nope. You will be tuning in for the gratuitous nudity and those elaborate, graphic depictions of self-mutilation and murder.

"Pelts" is recommended to all MOH fans, Argento fans, horror fans, gore fans ..oh just watch the darn film, and have some Gravol next to you just in case. You have been warned.
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