Tales from the Crypt – Half-Way Horrible (12/01/93)

I only have a vague idea how TV works.  Actually, I have no idea how TV works.  I have a vague idea how TV production works, just based on assumptions and logic.  Surely, in the list of producers there is someone who does more than collect a check, someone who oversees the entire series — which seems critical for an anthology series.  That’s why it baffles me how TFTC can have such wild swings in tone.

The episode (after the odious Cryptkeeper) has a deadly somber opening, fittingly in a morgue.  No score or ambient sounds at all, just footsteps, a drawer being opened and a couple of guys talking.  The detective tells Clancy Brown that Dan King, the founder of his company, took 40 CCs of Exthion-B in the neck.  Exthion-B is a new preservative that big pharma is working on.  The detective says the stiff’s head won’t rot for 100 years.  In his pocket is a note, not in his handwriting, saying “I have not forgotten or forgiven.”

When asked if he has any enemies, Brown flashes back to six years earlier in the Amazon.  Things get a little livelier as we at least get some jungle sounds.  There is also a drum-beat in the background, though sadly not synced with the guys seen playing drums on-screen.  Brown pours their new experimental drug down the gullet of
an old savage man and seals him up in a crate.  He should be grateful, in a few years, people will be paying $tftchalfhorrible3750 a day to get that drug.

Back in the present, Brown arrives home to find the same “I have not forgotten or forgiven” spray-painted on his wall.  There is also a voodoo doll which has a red-devilish left side and a republican right side (well, blue suit and red tie, anyway).  So, really 100% evil in Hollywood terms.

The same detective comes over and again asks Brown if he has any enemies.  More reliable than LSD, this again induces a flashback.  While down in the Amazon, in order to secure the secret Exthion-B herb, he had to offer his employee Alex as a sacrifice to the natives.  Brown pours the drug down Alex’s gullet and buries him in a crate also.

Back in civilization, Clancy is being interviewed by original MTV VJ, the amazingly 80’s-coiffed Mark Goodman.  Clancy shows him some apples that were treated with Exthion-B 2 years ago and are still fresh and crispy.  Wood used in your home will never rot, your clothes will never fade.

tftchalfhorrible5Unfortunately, his assistant Colin tells him the FDA is holding up their approval of Exthion-B.  He also suggests that Brown check on his associate Kevin because if another employee ends up dead, it could hurt the business.  Brown goes to Kevin’s apartment and finds him dead with a syringe of Exthion-B still plunged in his neck.  And the same note pinned to his shirt.

Sadly, not even Exthion-B can preserve the style of the Members Only jacket Brown is wearing in this scene.

Brown goes back to the office and kills Colin.  Alex gives him a slow-clap.  Brown is stunned as Alex has been dead for 6 years.  He shows Brown that the hand-writing on the notes is the same as his own; but Brown doesn’t seem to remember writing the notes.  He decapitates zombie Alex.

So let me get this straight . . . Brown has been killing his co-workers and leaving a note that says “I have not forgotten or forgiven”?  OK, Brown is the one who murdered the old native and Alex, so what does that even mean?  Wait, you say, this is his evil side talking.  No, his evil side would be OK with the murders to make a profitable drug — this would have to be his good half talking.  But why would the good half commit murder?

tftchalfhorrible9The next day, Brown’s doctor recognizes the doll as a voodoo god that maintains the balance between mans good and evil halves. Desperate, Brown offers the doctor the profits from Exthion-B to remove his evil half.

The next day, we see Brown only in profile as he orders a syringe of Exthion-B to be brought to him. When he gets the syringe, he tells his secretary that he has beat the curse that Alex put on him. The doctor destroyed his evil half, the half the curse feeds on, so it became null and void.  His secretary turns on the light revealing Brown to be half-normal and half dead.  Brown lifts the syringe to his neck.

Really, I could not be less interested.  The flatness of the episode is mind-numbing.  No score except some occasional drums, obnoxiously 1980’s “style”, Clancy Brown in a suit, just nothing seems to work.


  • Title Analysis:  Nah, too easy.  At least the “half” makes sense, but they botched the pun as usual.  Maybe something like “Not Half-Horrible” would have worked better as it plays off the established phrase “not half-bad.”  Except that he was half-way horrible.
  • Another first time and only time director.
  • Kudos on the art direction in the episode.  Whether they were authentic or not, the objets d’art were fabulous.  Also the curare d’art

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