Tales from the Crypt – Judy, You’re Not Yourself Today (S2E11)

This is a great example of how you can take a so-so story and use great performances, score and directing to make it fun.  Well, until the ending, at least.

The opening credits really set a tone even though they really have nothing to do with the story.  Bouncy tango music plays while the camera pans across small dolls, statues, tchotchkes, both bric and a-brac.  Hypnotic, yes.  Relevant, not sure.

Donald is a gun enthusiast who seems to also be something as an anglophile as he and his wife speak with English, or at least, patrician accents.  They have prints of fox hunts on the wall and Donald is even is wearing an ascot for God’s sake.

tftcjudy03He heads out to the gun club leaving wife Judy (Carol Kane) at home.  An elderly  solicitor — OK, a witch — knocks at the door and Judy invites her in.  After Judy admires a hideous necklace she is wearing, the old lady gives it to her.  This enables her to switch bodies with Judy just like in Freaky Friday, and the remake of Freaky Friday, and the other remake of Freaky Friday, and all those other movies that ripped off Freaky Friday.

When Donald returns home, Judy in the old woman’s body jumps him.  She convinces Donald that it really is her and he goes looking for the witch in Judy’s body.  Before he leaves, he locks Judy in the old woman’s body in the closet.  It is not clear why he does this.  It turns out to be a good idea, but I really don’t credit his character with being that smart — even with the English accent.  It must be said that Frances Bay as the old woman is GREAT portraying Carol Kane in the much-older body.

tftcjudy04Donald finds the witch in Judy’s body at the train station.  He tricks her into switching the bodies back.  Donald and Judy go back to their house and let the witch out of the closet.  But not before Donald kills her while firing wildly with his pistol.  He buries her in the basement.

Three months later, the decayed corpse arises and repossesses Judy.  Donald accidentally shoots the young Judy as they switch identities for the last time.  Young Judy dies in his arms.  Well, that’s a pisser.

There was a lot of scatter-shot greatness here until it fell apart at the end.  Judy didn’t deserve to die, and Donald didn’t deserve to lose his wife.  It is strange that the writer and director seemed to understand the show so well until this point.  They had a great score, over the top characters, interesting lighting palate, but then that ending — no irony, no comeuppance, just a a downer.


  • Scott Nimerfro is tied for most TFTC scripts at 11.
  • Strange career for director Randa Haines.  She goes years between projects, but she has directed some big movies — at least big enough that I remember the titles 30 years later — and a very highly regarded TV movie.  Michael Convertino who scored this episode also scored all four of her movies.
  • I always liked that one of Carol Kane’s first credits was in The Last Detail as Young Whore.
  • Frances Bay was the old bag Jerry Seinfeld stole the marble rye from.

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