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Masters of Horror: Season 1 Episode 11

Directed by Larry Cohen  Teleplay and Short Story by David J. Schow

  After watching Cigarette Burns, how could I not venture towards another Masters of Horror episode? I went ahead and found Cohen’s episode of Pick Me Up. Telling a story of 2 serial killers crossing paths as they each target the same victim in a fight of which psychopath would prevail. Before I start, I wanted to add that the Masters of Horror editions have collectible director cards with bio’s on the back in both editions I found. So now I’ve made it my mission to make sure every one I purchase is adorned with such. Not so much worth stating but for any other Horror fans, I’m sure it’s something you would like to, at least, look out for.

  I have not had the pleasure of watching as many of Cohen’s films as would like, however the special features for this film, more than explained and showed his background. Making one thing certainly clear; he is a great story-teller and never uses more than needed for a scene or movie in it’s entirety. Yet another example that you don’t have to pay a ridicules amount of money in order to entertain your audiences. One such example being that he tends to shoot a lot of scenes (when able to) in his home, or getting his money’s worth when working with special effects folk such as Rick Baker. He started writing his own comics at the age of 7 and consistently presented script after another, having about 80 in all to his name.

  The picture opens up with walker (Warren Kole) picking up a rattlesnake that had been run over and whispers “you’re not done yet,” carrying it down the road. The bus that ran over the snake stops a few miles ahead as it seems to have broken down momentarily. Stacia, (Fairuza Balk) begins walking down the road when stopped by a fellow passenger asking if she would like him to ride shotgun with her. Explaining how her knife was the only friend needed, she continues on stating that no matter what, she always seemed to turn out okay. The people stuck at the bus are greeted by fellow trucker Jim, (Michael Moriarty) who stops to suggest being able to take a few people up the road. Two people take the offer as a couple stays behind with the girlfriend’s explanation of him probably being some psycho killer waiting to chop them up and make them cat food. Who woulda thought right? 

  Walker approaches the broken down bus as he makes light conversation with the driver, (Tom Pickett) using his charm to take advantage of the situation and choking him with the rattlesnake picked up. The couple in the bus witnesses the action as Walker shoots the husband and the wife jumps out of the back window in order to escape. Meanwhile back at the rest stop, the cashier speaks cheekily to Jim who decides to teach him a lesson by taking out his gun and explaining the power behind such a weapon. Offering to give it to him the cashier almost accepts letting the intimidating trucker overwhelm him and giving back the gun. Outside, Jim gets a bit fresh with one the passengers having picked up; Birdie (Laurene Landon) as he offers to show her the back of his rig and ends up locking her inside.

  It seemed Walker had taken the wallet of the woman who jumped and aimlessly follows her into the forest. All the while speaking to her about knowing the deal, having seen what happened in Texas Chainsaw; BOTH VERSIONS. Which he says a bit louder and with some emphasis, taking out his aggression on the scenery. The trucker gets back to the bus site with only one of the two people having left with. After investigating the site they check the luggage compartments to find the bus driver and one other passenger having been murdered and thrown in with the rest of the bags. The passenger immediately panics as Jim adds one more body to the bunch and he takes notice of Marie’s screams and begins calling out for her. He finds her tied up to a tree and wrapped in barbed wire tightly around her. Pleading to be helped, the trucker remembers her certain opinions on how he wasn’t good enough for her back then. A mere tease as he walks away stating he was a trucker, not a doctor but receiving a bit of insight on how this other killer seemed to be operating.

  A group of “rockers” (hard to say what “style” they were going for) picks up the Walker as the girl (Crystal Lowe) makes it painfully obvious of her attraction and willingness towards the stranger. They all check into the same hotel as a victim has been tied to the bed bare and we find the Walker cutting slivers of skin throughout the girls body. In the room next door Stacia cannot take the supposed sounds and shouts through the wall to shut up followed by silence. Feeling triumphant and saying out loud that they should be sorry. Going out to retrieve a soda and getting some help from a stranger as we see the Walker set eyes on a new target. What happens next is best described as a love triangle between the three as it becomes a fight to see who can get the girl first. The two killers display great interplay with one another, making it a bit of fun for the audience to watch. The walker is a bit more cutthroat and showy, flaunting his “work” for those around whereas Jim is the more calculated and veteran of the two. Both having a charm that is able to reel in their victims.

  Both leading men gave greatly different performance, each eerie in their own way. Moriarty had a great voice/accent/manner about his performance and went about it effortlessly. Yet Kole gave a great counter performance as well. The only other thing I have seen him in was Mother’s Day (which he was great in as well) but I do sincerely hope to see him in further projects, specifically for Horror. Gathered from the special features in the interview, you can tell from his way of speaking and knowledge on the genre that it’s something he generally enjoys. He’s attractive, smart and sadistically appealing; I think I may be in love. The story mainly follows the two male leads so we don’t really get to see too much of Balk though I did like her in the film. It ends rather abruptly and completely left open for endless possibilities which was a bit unsatisfying but hey, that’s how they typically end. I would really like to see this maybe done a bit longer or in some type of different manner; it left me wanting more though.