Tales from the Crypt – Creep Course (10/11/93)

tftccreepcourse02Jeffrey Jones is teaching an Egyptology class in which Anthony Michael Hall is enrolled; sadly for Jones, this is several years after Hall’s John Hughes phase.

Today, Jones is discussing Pharaoh Ramseth aka “the mummy who wouldn’t die.”  Seems he was obsessed with a maiden named Nefra.  Sadly, he croaked before he could act on his desires so the moniker is not technically accurate.  And, being Pharaoh, what was holding him up? Couldn’t he have any maiden he wanted?  Or goat?  What happened to jus primae noctis?  He emerges from his tomb on each anniversary of this death to search for Nefra.  Rigor mortis is nature’s Viagra.

tftccreepcourse04To protect themselves, each year the locals delivered to Ramseth’s tomb a human sacrifice.  When Ramseth was disappointed that each year’s offering was not Nefra, he would go berserk and kill each girl. Ya know, Nefra really could have taken one for the team and volunteered.  Bitch.

Fascinating as this story is, student Anthony Michael Hall is more interested in his football playbook.  Nerdy-girl Casey Siemaszko is also distracted — by Hall.  As Hall has been sentenced to a purgatory, doomed to play each role in The Breakfast Club forever [1], he is now “the jock.”  As such, he is a bonehead and seeks out Nina to tutor him.

She is thrilled at the attention and meets him in the library.  Perhaps inspired by being in a building he had never visited before, Hall comes up with an alternative to studying.  He tells Nina to ask Jones if she can visit his collection of Egyptian artifacts.  While she is distracting Jones, Hall will make a copy of the mid-term exam.  He backs her up against the card catalog and gets her decimal system all dewy, removes her glasses and asks her to go to a party.  So she is putty in his hands — silly, silly putty.

tftccreepcourse08She arrives at Jones’ homes and he leads her down to the basement, which might have actually been scary if she were a young boy.  He shows off a full burial tomb.  By shows off, I mean tosses her inside and closes the door.  Turns out Hall and Jones are in cahoots. When the door is shut, Jones blows the shofar when he could have gotten away with just tipping him $5.00 for the ride. This awakens a mummy inside.

Jones didn’t mention he had ol’ Ramseth stored in his basement.  Suspiciously, he didn’t mention if there was anyone in his crawlspace either.  Nina is a smarty, though, as evidenced by her glasses.  When Ramseth tries to strangle her, she grabs a head-dress and pretends to be Nefra, his blonde, spectacled, pasty white, English-speaking Egyptian crush.

Jones pours Hall a snifter of brandy having no more regard for 21 year old age limits than for 18 year old age limits.  Hall decides to change the terms of their deal, but wisely, Jones had drugged his snifter.  In the basement, he stuffs Hall into a sarcophagus.  As he mops his brow, he hears the tomb’s door open, and we get the classic Jeffrey Jones / Ed Rooney “oh shit” stare which is always hilarious, unless it is through a camera viewfinder.

He enters the tomb and sees Ramseth standing erect, heh heh. Possibly because Nina has donned a suit similar to Princess Leia’s golden slave bikini.  Ramseth gets jealous of Jones and begins choking him, then pulls his brains out through his nose.

The ending is a complete botch. Nina is arrested for her class project which involves the mummified Jones and Hall.  First, this is a smart chick, why would she implicate herself in the murders?  Second, the two stiffs are unrecognizable despite being unwrapped, due to their contorted faces, but who else would they be?  Neither one appears to have a mustache as Jones had.

And a little sign says that Stella got an A+.  Well, she was the nerdy-girl, an A+ is probably routine for her.  But since Jones is dead, who assigned the grade?

Jones is always a hoot, and I’m a sucker for a good mummy story (which, ironically, the original The Mummy was not).  I was also entranced by Nina Siemaszko.  She played a great nerdy girl and consistently lit up the screen.  I’m not usually a fan of the cleft chin, and have really learned to hate them after watching Henry Rollins.  But she made it work.

tftccreepcourse15Post-Post:

  • [1] Tragically, I am not familiar enough with Mr. Hall’s oeuvre to know if this is true, but I liked the idea.
  • Title Analysis:  Junk.  OK, there is a college course involved, but what the hell is “creep course”?  That is not a common phrase or even close to any I can think of.
  • Jeffrey Jones and Anthony Michael Hall were both in Edward Scissorhands.  If Winona Ryder were here, they would have a hat-trick.  But I’d keep an eye on the hat.
  • The only directing credit by Jeffrey Boam.  Sadly, he only lived to be 53 but in a five year span, he managed to write 2 Lethal Weapons, an Indiana Jones, the Witches of Eastwick, The Lost Boys, Funny Farm, and Innerspace.
  • A few years earlier, he wrote the screenplay for The Dead Zone.  Hall would later star in a series based on the same book.

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