Masters of Horror: “Pick Me Up” – 8

In Masters of Horror: "Pick Me Up" - 8 by johnLeave a Comment

Director – Larry Cohen

Cast – Fairuza Balk, Warren Kole, Michael Moriarty, Laurene Landon, Malcolm Kennard, Tom Pickett, Peter Benson, Kristie Marsden

Release Year – 2006

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Larry Cohen, the master behind renowned 70s flicks It’s Alive and God Told Me To as well as the 80s classic The Stuff,has been more of a writer this last decade, but his status as a horror director has never relinquished.  His most recent directing gig since 1996 is his 2006 entry into the “Masters of Horror” series titled Pick Me Up.  It took me a while to get to this one, but after giving it a watch I can say this is definitely one of the cooler installments of the series.

Pick Me Up follows a group of travelers who become stranded on the side of the road when their bus breaks down.  A young and recently divorced hardass named Stacia(the hideous Fairuza Balk) strays off on her own instead of waiting for help, and this proves to be a good decision.  The remaining travelers fall victim to two serial killers that just happen to come to the same area.  When Stacia and the two serial killers each check in for the night at a local hotel, she becomes entrapped in a deadly battle with the warring serial killers who each plan to claim her as his own.

This one surprised me.  After reading it’s plot I thought, “OK, this seems pretty cool”, and well…this was much better than “pretty cool”.  I really liked how by the plot-line it seems this film is about Stacia when in fact it is absolutely about the two serial killers.  Great performances by Michael Moriarty as Jim Wheeler and Warren Kole as Walker stole my attention and kept me engaged throughout the film.  Each of them had their own way of killing their prey, and both were unique.  Wheeler aimed more at messing with his victim’s psychologically, and finishing them off in simple fashion.  Walker however, was the brute who was never satisfied not hacking up some cute young girl.  Both worked great, the choice is your as to who you will root for.  If you root for Stacia, please leave this page immediately.  Hah!

Larry Cohen’s direction is great, and as you can tell he got the best performances out of his two lead actors(IMO), the serial killers.  The gore is laid on pretty heavy during the kill scenes, with most of it at the hands of Walker, naturally.  His camerawork was great, and the film paced wonderfully thanks to that and this film’s awesome storyline.  I really wish we could get for films like this where the protagonist is forced to endure a battle between two antagonists, much like Freddy vs. Jason.  The idea is just great, and I would love to see it again in a full length film with original characters, preferably slashers.  Heh.

Overall, this is a great entry into the “Masters of Horror” series from a director that has seemingly disappeared from the directing scene for a long while.  With its awesome storyline and great direction this one is a must see that is sure to please all horror fans, especially those seeking a killer vs. killer scenario as I was and still am.

Rating: 8/10

– I ranked this film #7 out of the 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.

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