In The Hunter’s Anthology, six strangers find themselves trapped in a New York City subway train by a mysterious, anachronistic cowboy who claims to be a demon hunter. He tells them his name is Mac (Taylor August) and that he has the ability to see into a person’s soul through their eyes. He has reason to believe one of the people on the subway is a demon, so he has stopped it to find and dispatch them. Mac’s preternatural senses allow him to tell if someone has been touched by evil, but not whether he/she is an actual demon.
Now, he must gather clues and drive the truth out by learning about his subjects and hoping the demon will reveal itself. Mac conducts interrogations to learn about the people in the subway car. Hopefully, he will glean enough information to conclude which is an agent of evil.
This sets the stage for five nightmarish stories, an episode each, all written and directed by Robert Smithline. All the segments see the demon hunter examine the souls of the people he’s sniffed out for their touch of darkness. A desperate woman goes to a fortune-teller; newlyweds discover a creature lurking outside their apartment; a young man visits an insane asylum; bullied twins discover a wish-granting coin; and a man lusting after a co-worker discovers a magic potion shop. Once he’s seen their darkest secrets, it’s then up to Mac to solve the mystery, and out the demon he believes is amongst them.
“Mac’s preternatural senses allow him to tell if someone has been touched by evil…”
The show’s five episodes are solidly creepy and fun, and Taylor August delivers a fine performance as the anachronistic demon hunter. Infused with a Twilight Zone quality of mystery and the occult, the show leverages the charms of its limited budget, leaning toward minimal special effects and scaled-down sets. This results in a sense of claustrophobia, enhancing the unease the audience will feel as the series progresses.
There are notable parallels in The Hunter’s Anthology to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Notably, for fans of that show (aren’t we all?) Mac’s weapon of choice is a stake that bears more than a little resemblance to Buffy’s “Mr. Pointy.” Cowboy Mac also calls to mind the character called The Saint of Killers from Garth Ennis’ comic book (and Seth Rogen TV series) The Preacher.
As delightful as the thrills and chills of The Hunter’s Anthology are, the most intriguing part is what Smithline doesn’t tell us. Where did Mac come from? How did he get his powers? Is he human? Is he immortal? When is he done? There’s plenty of space for future stories about Mac and his demon-haunted world, which the final episode teases out nicely.
"…solidly creepy and fun..."