Main cast: Steven Weber (Frank Spivey), Carrie Anne Fleming (Jenifer), Brenda James (Ruby), and Harris Allan (Pete)
Director: Dario Argento
Dario Argento certainly deserves a turn in the director’s seat for Masters of Horror, as he’s cemented a reputation for himself in the giallo genre. True, his greatest hits such as Suspiria, Zombi, and Dèmoni would seem painfully outdated today – even at his greatest, his movies are more well known for certain memorable scenes and atmosphere rather than the whole shebang; coherent storytelling is never his priority, the female characters are always inevitably too stupid and helpless for words, and anyone who watches the English dubbed versions of his movies would cringe at the wooden line deliveries. But when he was on a roll back in those days, he could combine eroticism and gore into one simultaneously repulsive-fascinating mix like a total boss.
In a way, the titular character in this episode, Jenifer, could very well be a reference to a good Dario Argento flick, and the protagonist Frank Spivey could be the audience’s stand-in: try as he may, Frank could not resist the seductive allures of the repulsive-looking (at least from the neck up) woman. Unfortunately, Jenifer also demonstrates that perhaps Mr Argento’s best days are long gone.
Anyway, the story. It is just another day for the cop Frank and his partner when he stumbles upon a man about to deliver a killing blow on the neck of a woman with a knife. The man babbles about how Frank doesn’t understand and that woman needs to die, but you know how it is – he raises his knife and Frank shoots him dead. It turns out that the woman is an inhuman-looking young lady from neck up, but Frank finds her and her affectionate behavior towards him unexpectedly arousing enough – so much so that his intimate moment with his wife turns into a violent forced rear-end entry, if you know what I mean, as he imagines himself shagging that disfigured woman instead.
Eventually the cops deduce that the woman’s name is perhaps Jenifer, as that’s the name on a note found on the man Frank shot, but there is nothing else learned about her and Jenifer seems incapable of speech. Despite the fact that Jenifer creeps the hell out Frank’s wife and son, Frank takes her in and is soon shagging her for real. Well, that’s nice of him, but his new girlfriend on the side also turns out to be an insane, violent cannibal that chows down the pets as well as the neighbours. Looks like Frank is in for the ride of his life!
This is certainly the most explicit episode to date when it comes to sex and gore, although as usual expect to see the leading lady in all her glory while Steven Weber keeps everything clothed. Then again, given how the man always appear like he’s never showered in a while, that is probably for the best. However, the whole story is rather pointless, really, as it’s a long plodding cautionary tale to men about never sticking it to crazy no matter how sexy it may be, especially when this crazy comes with a huge maw full of fangs. Jenifer’s origin is never revealed, most likely by design, and I’m fine with that, but the rest of the episode is actually pretty dull if one takes away the sex and the gore. The “twist” at the end can be seen coming from a mile away, and frankly, Frank gets what is coming to him for being such a dumbass.
So yes, Frank and all those men may find Jenifer’s Mileena-like maw sexy, but the episode relies too much on sex and gore to not-so-successfully mask the fact that it is both predictable and dull.