#84 -- Masters of Horror: Valerie on the Stairs (2006)

Director: Mick Garris
Rating: 3 / 5

Valerie on the Stairs was written for MoH by none other than Clive Barker (it was not an actual story, but an idea sent over to MoH). I haven't read very much of his work, but Clive Barker has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Now, if Valerie had been a short story or a book, I'm sure it would have been extraordinary. But as an entry into the Masters of Horror series, in my opinion, it's simply good.

The story centers on Rob, a struggling writer with bills to pay and a book to publish. He finds a house that gives free rooms to unpublished writers, and promptly moves in. As soon as he does, though, strange things start to happen.

It starts as a knocking at Rob's door; when he opens it, there's no one there. Then he starts hearing a woman crying, and he finally sees her on the stairs. She cries out for help, but eventually tells Rob to stay away from her because "he" doesn't want her to see him. She is terribly afraid of whoever "he" is, but seems to return to him every time he calls. Rob goes crazy trying to reveal the mysteries surrounding Valerie. He discovers that Valerie is the creation of three of the writers in the house. Their imaginations have come to life, to live inside the walls. One man, Everett (played by Christopher Lloyd), created The Beast (Tony Todd) that keeps Valerie prisoner. Rob and Everett must travel down to the monster's lair in order to destroy it and rescue Valerie.

This one is the only of the Masters of Horror series that I think would have been better as a full length movie. This isn't to say that it isn't good, or doesn't pack an awful lot of story into a short time. But I think it could have used a little bit more explanation, mostly about Valerie and The Beast, and how she came to be imprisoned by him. It has its good moments, and some pretty vicious kill scenes, and is definitely worth the viewing. It is very strange, in a good way, and I think it definitely found its place in MoH.

To read Clive Barker's "treatment," as he calls it, go here.

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