(VOD) THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION — an episode of the SHOWTIME TV horror anthology MASTERS OF HORROR — is an oddity for director Joe Dante. Most of his works play with elements of horror, satire, and slapstick, however there are no laughs to be found here.

Dante’s THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION is an adaptation of James Tiptree Jr.’s short story of the same name. (If you aren’t familiar with James Tiptree Jr./Raccoona Sheldon/Alice Hastings Bradley, she was a brilliant-but-troubled sci-fi writer.) It’s a slightly modernized take on the original short, but essentially the same: scientists try to wipe out a parasitic insect, but the end result causes the insects to infect men and cause them to turn their sexual impulses to violent, murderous ones.

It’s not a subtle piece — and Dante’s adaptation is hampered by some overly clunky Spielberg-ish TV cinematography (too many canted angles, too many tight shots) — but it is extremely effective in showcasing how women rightfully are consistently fearful of of men. I also find it a remarkable piece because it’s also about men being afraid of themselves. This is horror at its exploratory best.