Anthology series have perhaps fallen by the wayside over the years, with the glory days of Tales from the Crypt, the many Twilight Zone reboots, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? well beyond the current media appetite.
During the mid 2000s, an anthology series was pitched with someone of horror’s greatest visionaries including Tobe Hooper, Joe Dante, John Landis, Guillermo del Toro, and John Carpenter to direct a single episode. Suitably named Masters of Horror, it lasted just two years despite nominations for Emmys.
These episodes didn’t just boast terrific talent behind the camera, but also some excellent up-and-coming stars including Norman Reedus, Julia Benson, and established actors like Jeffery Combs.
It’s been mostly forgotten by mainstream audiences, but hardcore fans are ready to put up a fight in its name to remain in the public consciousness.
Shocking absolutely no one who enjoys horror, Carpenter’s episode “Cigarette Burns” remains one of the fondest in the memory. Starring Reedus in his pre-Walking Dead days, he’s hired to find a missing film which is believed to have caused a homicidal riot within cinemas when it premiered. Slap onto it some astonishing Carpenter music and you’ve got a hit.
The series lives long in the memory for horror fans of a certain age, with these promoted so heavily from 2005 to 2007 and using some truly stellar and spooky promotional material to get audiences in.
A third season of sorts was produced in the end of Masters of Horror, but under a different title and a different network. Fear Itself came about after Showtime axed the anthology series, but went on to cement itself as one of the best horror anthologies of the century so far.
Every episode of Masters of Horror is available to stream on Tubi.