ScreenAnarchy readers may or may not be aware that Showtime's hit-or-miss (mostly miss) Masters of Horror skein was picked up by, of all networks, NBC late last fall and re-titled Fear Itself. The series never quite clicked in its MoH incarnation, with one or two stand-out episodes from each of the first two seasons fighting for attention among a slew of been-there, done-that excuse for gore and T&A. Will the series' transition to a more heavily-censored primetime slot on network TV (10pm, Thursdays, starting May 29th) result in better returns? Tough to say. The move certainly seems to go against the grain of what now-absent series creator Mick Garris envisioned MoH becoming - a no-holds-barred playground where genre luminaries could unleash pet projects.
All that being said, Fear Itself has managed to line up an impressive spread of directors, most recently tapping personal (and general Twitch) fave Larry Fessenden, late of 2007's superlative The Last Winter, to helm a segment initially intended for John Carpenter. Joining Fessenden will be returning directors John Landis, Stuart Gordon, and Brad Anderson as well as newcomers Ernest Dickerson, Mary Harron, Breck Eisner, Ronny Yu, Darren Bousman, Rob Bowman, and Lem Dobbs. Landis and Gordon were responsible for some of the stronger entries in MoH, and Fessenden and Dobbs (a regular collaborator of Soderbergh) are inspired choices. For the most part, Fear Itself will represent a chance for these filmmakers to push their work to a wider-than-usual audience, which is always a good thing. We'll be keeping an eye on the series as it rolls out.