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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Something happened to John Landis (SCHLOCK!, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, Michael Jackson's THRILLER, INNOCENT BLOOD) after he directed an episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Three of his actors died on the set in what became the worst tragedy to ever occur in American cinema. John saw his actors killed right before his rolling cameras and his eyes. After that, he couldn't make another Horror Thriller movie.
Not that he didn't try. But whether it was movies like INNOCENT BLOOD or various comedies, John's name became synonymous with failure. At the 2005 Fangoria Convention in Burbank, devoted fans with their own projects flocked around him and asked him to pose holding their various works.
"Why not?" he said with grim humor, "My career is dead."
But as every Horror fan knows, nothing stays dead forever.
Bring into the picture one Mick Garris. A director with mediocre movie credentials but lots of good will because he's such a hell of a nice guy. Garris has this certain charm, y'see, that makes everyone want to see him succeed, and even help make it happen. Mick wanted John to succeed and even called him a "Master of Horror", although truthfully, John has made far more comedies than Horror.
Garris must have felt that what John needed to get back to his Horror roots was a changeling story. Changeling tales worked well for John in the past with both AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and Michael Jackson's THRILLER. John's own son, Max Landis, provided the story, and John told the tale. The outcome? A pretty damn good tale.
A trucker (Michael P. Northey: DEEP EVIL, ALONE IN THE DARK , DEVOUR, FIDO) leaves his local watering hole with a young but silent honey (Cinthia Moura), gets into his truck, and merry mishaps occur.
The local beat police can't figure the crime scene out and so lackluster loser, detective Dwight Farraday (Brian Benben: MORTAL SINS, I COME IN PEACE) is called in. He's there for no other reason but that he handles human deaths that involve animals, like maulings. But Farraday can't figure it out and doesn't want to bother, leaving it up to forensics to figure out what happened.
Yet the crime is just so unusual that he goes into the forensics lab to check up on the body, only to find that the woman running the lab, Dana (Sonja Bennet) is as confused as he is.
Farraday isn't the best detective on the force, but he knows more about animal attacks than any other cop on the force. The crime with the trucker has all the earmarks of an animal attack: Deer DNA traces, hoof prints, everything to point to a deer attack except the most obvious - Deer don't get into semi-trucks and stomp people into mush.
Dwight goes home to figure things out, trying to play through all of the possible scenarios in humorous detail - a Landis specialty. Each scenario that Farraday can possibly imagine is more ridiculous than the one before. Meanwhile, another attack has occurred. Whatever is doing this has entered the city.
Obviously, judging by both the title and the cover art, this is a tale about a WereDeer!
The creature in question is an Indian woman, possibly a spirit, or maybe just a really unfortunate freak of nature. Whatever she is physically, she's a homicidal maniac mentally, and Farraday has an impossible task in convincing his superiors in the reality of absurdity.
Farraday is helped by Officer Jacob Reed (Anthony Griffith: TALES FROM THE HOOD, DEAD MAN'S CURVE), who finds himself becoming a believer.
Despite the struggles of Farraday and Reed to be believed and solve the case, DEER WOMAN never struggles, presenting one of the more entertaining tales of the series.
And the DVD extras? As always in this series, they are pure gold!
Three Shriek Girls.
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