Main cast: Meat Loaf Aday (Jake Feldman), Ellen Ewusie (Shanna), Link Baker (Lou Chinaski), Emilio Salituro (Sergio), Elise Lew (Sue Chin Yao), John Saxon (Jeb Jameson), Michal Suchanek (Larry Jameson), and Brenda McDonald (Mother Mayter)
Director: Dario Argento
Who supports the demand in the fur industry? Mostly rich people, rather than mere mortals like you and me, and yet, the very same people who can afford fur often believe that they should be lecturing us on the evil of fur trade. What do they want us to do? Burn their LA mansions down in protest? Pelts is another example of myopic virtue-signaling from these out-of-touch people haranguing us for something they are mostly responsible for, and just like previous nagging-the-mensch misfires such as Homecoming and Pro-Life, it doesn’t engage and promote introspection as much as it takes the lazy way out and mock their targets instead.
And, naturally, instead of targeting the people who buy and wear fur – such as themselves, their wives, and their mistresses – they instead demonize the lower and middle-class employees in the fur trade, in this case immigrant workers who are just making a living instead of deliberating flaunting fur coats like they are the new reincarnation of Cruella de Vil. Script writer Matt Venne doesn’t have a robust CV, and I do wonder why, hmm.
Jake Feldman is the amoral, fat, hideous, greedy owner of a fur coat production house, and he employs no doubt underpaid immigrant workers whom he screams and yells at every time he is in a bad mood. And he is often in such a mood, because he wants desperately to boink Shanna, a stripper, but she refuses to put out unless he pays up. Jake doesn’t have the money because his business isn’t doing too well, hence the sour mood.
Then one day, Jeb Jameson and his son sneak into a piece of land and kill some raccoons for their fur, much to the horror of Mother Mayter who considers herself the guardian of these creatures. The two offer the fur to Jake, but before Jake can meet up with them, they both fall victim to what seems like a curse. Yes, those who kill the raccoon and come in contact with the fur will soon be compelled to commit self harm in ways that mirror how animals are killed and their carcasses are processed for their fur. There will be poor sods who will skin themselves, others will stitch their own nostrils, and so forth.
Meat Loaf is really good in his role as the irredeemable slimeball Jake, so he is not at fault here. But his role, like every other character in this episode, is treated as an over the top cartoon caricature. The greatest offender is Mother Mayter, a ridiculous shaman-like “mystic” hag stereotype that babbles like a loon – that is some bottom barrel grade acting from Brenda McDonald. She must really hated working on this episode to be that atrocious. Still, there is ample distraction from the awful characters in the form of gore. Yes, this episode is deliciously gory, and some scenes are very difficult to watch without squirming in discomfort.
In the end, though, this is still an episode that demonizes workers that have no say in what they need to do to make a living. With Mick Garris’s involvement in the script, it just can’t help incorporating the usual “women who want to better themselves are sluts and whores who have to be mercilessly mocked and killed off in the most humiliating manner” elements. In this case, Shanna being dragged into the gory mess is bewildering because this episode allows Jake’s business partner, who is there with Jake every step of the way, to get off without even a scratch. Hence, Shanna is punished for being a stripper who wants to make a lot of money, Jake’s employees are punished for being immigrant workers who have to obey their boss’s orders, and… the VP of the company gets off scot free.
And, of course, in the midst of lecturing us on the evils of having a closet full of fur coats, Dario Argento has to include that compulsory lesbian sex scene that must be present in practically everything he directs. And why not? No matter how high they are on their soapbox, even the staunchest moral guardians need to rub one off to girl-on-girl action.
Pelts, therefore, epitomizes how out of touch and stupid these LA people often are when they attempt to lecture the rest of the world from their all-white gated community enclaves. It’s just a stupid episode about stupid people doing stupid things to drive home a message that is completely irrelevant to the audience they are being stupid to. Don’t be surprised if you feel stupid after watching this one.