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Fear Itself: In Sickness and in Health (2008)

My History with the Show:
I LOVED Masters of Horror when it came out in the early 2000’s, but sadly, I did not have a subscription to Showtime, so I had to wait for the individual episodes to be released on DVD. They were hit and miss at times, but it was an interesting project helmed by Mick Garris. Basically, each hour-long episode of this anthology series was directed by a famous horror director, a sort of all-star list of directors. Being that this was the early 2000’s, and most of these guys hadn’t had a hit in years, and nostalgia for the 80’s wasn’t full-blown yet, this was one of the few ways to see new material for some of the greats, while the mainstream public flocked to movies like Saw and Hostel.

Masters of Horror ran for two seasons, and then it was repackaged and picked up (at a much lower budget) by NBC and titled Fear Itself. The show didn’t complete it’s run and was canceled unceremoniously by NBC.

Until recently, I’d never seen an episode of Fear Itself, but after reading a thread discussing that was available free on YouTube, I saw a comment related to the TV show Psych which piqued my curiosity. I did a little digging and discovered that John Landis directed an episode that starred both Maggie Lawson and James Roday-Rodriguez from Psych! It was filmed during Psych‘s run-on USA and that made it a must-see event for me. So, I lowered my expectations and fired up YouTube.

What the Show is About (Non-Spoiler):
Hours before Samantha (Maggie Lawson) is to marry Carlos (James Roday-Rodriguez) she receives a letter stating, “The person you are marrying is a serial killer.”

What I Liked About It:
-James Roday-Rodriguez killed it. I haven’t seen much of his work outside of Psych, so I had no idea he could be so unsettling. He was mysterious, aggressive, and just creepy. I didn’t think he was going to be able to make me not like him, but he did.

-Maggie Lawson showed less range and less aggression as her character on Psych. She was suitable and did the majority of the acting in this show, but I’m not so sure that was for the best. The script was not well timed, and the forty-five-minute story felt like it ran much longer and not in a good way.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The ending was a twist, and I figured something was coming, and while I think the acting sold the twist, it made you question why the characters acted the way they did for the remainder of the episode. It wasn’t logical at all and the more you think about it, the dumber it becomes.

I wanted to love this. I wanted to think of this as Psych in a different universe, but ultimately it was a script for a twenty-minute Tales from the Crypt that someone extended to forty minutes and without the charming Cryptkeeper. Victor Salva, writer/director of Jeeper Creepers wrote the script, and John Landis directed, and I just expected better with everyone that was involved.

James Roday-Rodriguez’s performance is worth tuning into for Psych fans but keep all expectations super low as far as the story goes.

I rate Fear Itself: In Sickness and in Health a two out of a five and say skip it unless you are a Psych fan.


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