The episode opens at the Tiffany Studio of Creative Taxidermy. Early that-guy Henry Jones hands over a giant ram’s head that he has stuffed and the customer tells him to put it on his bill. If you have a tab running at a taxidermy shop, you’re already a suspect.
But this is Jones’ story, not that of the evil customer who then returns home where he has a young woman captive in a stony oubliette (just speculating here). Jones goes back into his workshop where is he is working on stuffing an enormous horse. Tiffany is donating the horse, Napoleon, to the city at a celebration to be hosted by the mayor. Napoleon had given kids rides at the city park, but now — and this is great! — the hollowed-out horse is to be used as a time capsule. Current day items will be placed inside the horse, to be opened in one hundred years. I like to think it will be opened like a piñata with kids literally beating a dead horse.
At lunch, he goes to his home above the shop. His wife gives him the bad news that her brother Waldren is coming to visit. When Waldren arrives, his sister does not recognize him. OK, it’s been 25 years, but she was expecting him, so this is strange.
When Jones comes back upstairs, he is baffled by this strange man in his home with his wife. He is positively stumped by the presence of this stranger . . . who had told them he was coming.
Waldren is a lazy ungrateful slob, plopping down in Jones’ favorite chair. He hangs out for a week, complains about drafts, eats their food. When Jones’ wife collapses in the kitchen from exhaustion, Waldren can’t be troubled to go see what the racket was.
Jones reaches his breaking point and types a going-way note from Waldren. When Waldren comes downstairs to nag Jones to cook dinner, he hands Waldren a large syringe and a large glass bottle of formaldehyde. Then he does a new stuffing job — stuffing a hammer into Waldren’s skull.
I assume he handed those things to Waldren to occupy his hands during the attack. But why did he hand him the glass bottle of formaldehyde? Upon attack, the bottle will surely break. An alternative Hitchcockian ending could have had Jones passing out from inhaling the fumes, and being busted for the murder. But I wouldn’t trade that for the ending used.
As the horse is being loaded onto a truck, one of the men comments that it is a lot heavier than he expected. Hey, you don’t suppose . . .
At the commencement ceremony, the mayor tells Jones that he expects when this time capsule is opened in a hundred years, it will put the town in the national limelight. Jones agrees.
Another great episode, from performances to story.
- AHP Deathwatch: No survivors.
- The actor playing Waldren had almost as short a lifespan as his character, dying at 28.
- I appreciate this creative use of taxidermy much more than in the tedious Tales from the Crypt episode.