Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pro-Life (2007)

I felt compelled to make up for yesterday's dross by picking another one from Masters of Horror. Of the selection Netflix has available to view instantly until April 1st, John Carpenter's Pro-Life was chosen. I almost picked between Pelts and Deer Woman, but decided to save them based on recommendations I've received from readers. Having already seen Carpenter's Cigarette Burns, I felt moderately certain Pro-Life would deliver what I want in a horror movie.

In a young girl's attempt to have an abortion behind her overpowering father's back, she conveniently runs into two doctors who work at the local abortion clinic. They take her in and then ward off the father when he shows up and demands his daughter be sent back out.

Not everyone in the movie delivers a solid performance, but the main characters certainly do and that's what matters. The father is played by Ron Perlman who easily invokes fear whether acting in a horror movie or not. He pulls off the role of an über-religious nutcase with finesse.

Once we're past the first ten minutes, which quickly lay out the conflict, the movie begins building the tension between Perlman's character and the entire abortion clinic, mainly by bringing up a lot of arguments in the ongoing ethical issue of abortion. Eventually, the father forces his way into the clinic, taking some casualties along the way, all in the name of God.

Pregnancy oddities are used to build suspense and horror as well. The daughter is disbelieved when she claims to have been impregnated only a week prior as her stomach is already showing; an ultrasound is performed and the child inside of her begins punching and kicking visibly through her abdominal wall; crablike legs emerge from between her legs.

The most notable scene in the movie involves the father overthrowing the head of the clinic and performing an abortion on him (that's right: him). While not terribly graphic--the way Takashi Miike might have done it--it was still quite insane and uncomfortable. What really makes the scene disturbing is Perlman's calm dialogue throughout the process of making a hole and then using the actual clinical abortion equipment to perform the makeshift surgery.

The movie ends with the daughter killing the evil child, and just before the credits roll she says, "God's will is done." So, it seems the moral of the movie, amid all of the ethical arguments, is that abortion is justified if you are aborting a demon seed.

Très bien Carpenter. I maintain that this MoH series has been a profitable investment for you. Now, go forth and make a full-length movie for us!

Review Soundtrack:
Deftones - "Digital Bath"
Parkway Drive - "The Siren's Song"
Becoming The Archetype - "Elegy"
[ About Horror Dose ]
[ FAQ ]


  1. Another good MoH entry, particularly the Thing-like effects used for the crab baby! I also loved the costume for the demon, very Doom. Even though season 2 was weaker by comparison, Im still bummed MoH got sold off to the networks as Fear Itself, since being on network tv immediately destroys the whole point of the series allowing the directors to be free to do anything they pleased without fear of censorship. Carpenter definitely put in two strong entries though!

  2. dragonmanes - I agree about the demon's costume. Usually, I laugh when the creature is revealed, but Pro-Life's creatures were top-notch! Also, I agree about censorship. This is why I double-check my Netflix movies to make sure I'm getting the UR version.

  3. I remember watching this and thinking it was ok - thing is, I feel so sad about John Carpenter's career that I think I give him a bit more slack when I probably shouldn't...

    Nevertheless, this wasn't the worst one in the series by a long way...

  4. Gore-Gore Girl - I felt the same way about his career, which I suppose is why I felt that Cigarette Burns and Pro-Life were strong films, giving promise to a possible come back. Which MoH movies did you enjoy most?

    BTW - Congratulations on getting published!

  5. Hey, thanks!

    My favourites by a pretty long way were Pelts and Haeckel's Tale. None of the others really struck me as great, but Jenifer was ok-ish. I have Sounds Like, but haven't watched it yet. Which other ones have you seen/enjoyed?

  6. Gore-Gore Girl - I'm pretty late in the game on the MoH series, but I've watched 6 of them; all of them are reviewed and labelled under MoH. So far, I've enjoyed Jenifer and Cigarette Burns the most. I posted my Right to Die review today, and I'm taking a break from the series for a while to cover the Demons movies ;-)