Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I like John Carpenter, even though I think he's only made one truly excellent film--The Thing. He's clever enough to make lame, weird, or loosely conceptualized material interesting, and I can re-watch stuff like The Fog, They Live, Prince of Darkness, Starman, and Big Trouble in Little China every few years. Halloween? Not so much.
And speaking of lame, weird, and loosely conceptualized--Carpenter's second entry into the SciFi Channel's Masters of Horror series fits the bill. Pro Life tackles the most divisive issue in the culture wars--abortion--in a hilariously stupid but effective manner. Ron Perlman, who always rules, plays a devout pro-lifer whose daughter gets knocked up and ends up in an abortion clinic. Perlman threatens the doctors that if they don't release her they'll be sorry. The staff know his reputation for violence in the name of God, however, and fear the consequences for the girl if they release her to his custody.
After praying for guidance and hearing a voice growl "Protect the child," Perlman's character delusionally believes his daughter is carrying a baby precious to God. He is willing to go to extremes to ensure the baby's safety. Said extremes are quite uncomfortable to watch, but Carpenter balances an epic torture sequence with goofy chuckles. When Perlman finds out his daughter's true baby daddy, things get ridiculous, but no more ridiculous than the culture wars themselves. I enjoyed Pro Life for what it is, and would recommend it only for those who enjoy horror of the B variety, or for Carpenter fans, or for those sophisticated enough to 'get' satire.