Monday, May 15, 2006

Masters of Horror: Chocolate

“Have you been in love? Really in love?”

Chocolate is directed by Mick Garris, who has made a career out of adapting the works of Stephen King for the big and small screen, including The Stand, The Shining, Sleepwalkers, and the upcoming Desperation mini-series, in which Chocolate star Henry Thomas will also be appearing. Even if Thomas were to win an Oscar next year, I suspect he would be forever known as the kid who helped E.T. Phone home. This is unfortunate, because as Thomas has proved in this latest DVD release of the Showtime Masters of Horror series, he's got talent and he can carry a leading performance just fine, thank you very much.

Chocolate is told from the perspective of a blood spattered man named Jaimie (Thomas) as he explains to the police for the umpteenth time the events that brought him to his current gore soaked state. Jaimie is a recently divorced man who is not adjusting well to living alone. He works in a laboratory where his acute senses make him a natural at developing artificial flavoring for the food industry. He wakes up one night with the distinct taste of a high quality chocolate in his mouth, despite the fact that he's been on an all salad diet for some time. As he puts it, he feels like he is tasting someone else's chocolate.

Odd sensory intrusions continue to occur. While watching his friend Wally's (the always interesting Matt Frewer of Max Headroom fame) band perform, Jaimie's hearing cuts out. Later, while driving home with Wally, Jaimie loses control of his car because he can no longer see the highway in front of him. Instead he is getting flashes of a street he has never seen before. He comes to realize that he is receiving the input of another person's senses. Before long he has his most vivid vision yet, in which he realizes it is a strikingly beautiful woman from whom he is receiving these sensory broadcasts, and that he is more in love with her than he had ever thought possible. When Jaimie witnesses an act of extreme violence through this psychic connection, he becomes determined to find and help this woman.

This episode had me guessing all the way through. Henry Thomas gives a very believable performance as a lonely man who wants desperately to love again. A few more questions might have been answered regarding Jaimie's psychic flashes, but they are not absolutely necessary. This is easily the least horrific episode I've seen so far, making Chocolate seem more like a Twilight Zone episode than a horror film. Overall, though, a solid entertaining episode whose chocolaty goodness is helping to get the bad taste of Incident On and Off a Mountain Road out of my mouth.

Masters of Horror: Chocolate's entry at IMDB
Masters of Horror Official Website

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