The other 21 episodes of Showtime’s “The Hunger” anthology series adapt short stories written by celebrated authors in the dark-fantasy genre, including Gemma Files, Christa Faust, David J. Schow, Charles De Lint, Ramsey Campbell, Karl Edward Wagner, Kim Newman, Tanith Lee and Poppy Z. Brite. Even Cornell Woolrich, he of “Rear Window” fame, is mined for material.
Among the many highlights:
• Jennifer Beals is terrorized by a neighbor in “And She Laughed,” which gets much mileage out of shots of an eager eye through a keyhole.
• In “Week Woman,” a woman lets her boyfriend marry a lesbian in need of a visa, only to find the newlywed has the ability to shape-shift into entirely different women, some of whom don’t want the strictly-biz arrangement to remain platonic.
• The great Brad Dourif can’t help but see what evil lurks in the heart of man — and woman — in “Sin Seer,” which plays like a cross between “The Dead Zone” and “X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes.”
• Mutant babies even more ill-formed than those in “It’s Alive” scare — and suckle — their way through “Replacements.”
• “I’m Very Dangerous Tonight” is a direct sequel to a first-season episode about a cursed red dress, but this time with even saucier results.
• Anthony Michael Hall plays a sexually ambiguous serial killer in a high-rise apartment building, in “Wrath of God,” spouting one weirdo ending that literally takes flight.
• The world’s sexiest carpet cleaner comes a-calling to tempt one horny suburban husband in “The Suction Method.”
Other notable episodes involve a golem, an Internet hussy, a genie, a witch, an Indian curse, a homeless demon and, in the case of “The Perfect Couple,” the downright creepiest man in glasses I’ve ever seen.
Since season one’s release already used season two’s documentary as an extra, what to do? E1 Entertainment strikes with a genius solution: Get celebrity nudity expert Mr. Skin to countdown his 10 favorite sex scenes in the series. Even if I don’t agree with all his picks, which unfold over the course of a half-hour, it may be the best special feature ever burned to disc. For that and all before it, “The Hunger” comes highly recommended. —Rod Lott