For the second season of the show, John Carpenter reunited with the writers of his season one "Masters of Horror" episode. Angelique is a young teen found stumbling along the side of the road by two doctors on their way to work at an abortion clinic. Wanting an abortion, they take her with them. Once at the clinic, it isn't long before her deeply religious father, Dwayne Burcell (Ron Perlman), shows up with his three sons to get her out of there and save the baby by any means necessary. Having had run-ins with him in the past, the head doctor of the clinic even went as far as to have a restraining order taken against Burcell. Meanwhile, Angelique claims that she wants to abort the baby because it's the hell-spawn of a demon that raped her. They don't believe her, but the pregnancy is clearly abnormal.
Having not done a film since 2001's "Ghosts of Mars", Carpenter returned with a vengeance with "Cigarette Burns", one of the best episodes of this show's initial season. As such, his season two contribution was one of my most anticipated. Unfortunately, "Pro-Life" was a crushing disappointment. The story had potential, but didn't live up to any of it due in large part to horrible writing. Perlman is in a big hurry to find his daughter before something happens to the baby. So, why doesn't he just shoot through the clinic doors right off the bat? He's killed a guard, yet he's worried about ruining the clinic's doors? Why waste time looking for another entrance? Oh, that's right, so the girl can tell her rape story. Later, he further wastes time by giving the head doctor a taste of his own medicine. As for anyone looking for thoughtful commentary on the abortion debate, look elsewhere. You'll get none of that here.
Aside from Perlman, nobody in this episode can act worth a damn. The characters aren't at all likable either. For example, look at the main doctor character and his girlfriend. When demon baby shows up, they save their own asses by locking themselves in the next room while leaving a drugged and defenseless Angelique to fend for herself. How noble! Speaking of the demon baby, it looks more like one of the mutilated toys from the first "Toy Story".
We get some horrid CGI head-shots too, which lead to continuity problems. Watch how the side of the guard's head is blown off when he's shot. Well, later, when the nervous kid looks at his body, he only has a hole in the middle of his head.
What I liked about the episode - Perlman's performance, the music during the birthing scene and Perlman's reaction to the demon's revelation. Other than that, there's nothing here. The episode hints at better ideas, but ends up delivering only the most ridiculous and unsatisfying. Carpenter is one of my three favorite filmmakers, and this is the first thing he's done that I've flat-out hated.
Determined to "rescue" his pregnant daughter from an abortion clinic, a religious fanatic and his sons plan a violent firearm assault just as the doctors suspect her pregnancy might not be of this world.
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August 2, 2016 at 12:42 PM