Well this was a let down. After three very good 2nd season episodes, TFTC finally had a bomb. I had my doubts when I didn’t recognize any of the cast. After the first 3 episodes featured the likes of Demi Moore, Kelly Preston and Lance Henricksen, this seemed like the JV team. Although, to be fair, a couple of them have huge resumes — just almost nothing I’ve ever seen.
Behind the scenes, this is Chris Walas’ only TV directing credit. Writer Jeri Barchilon is the veteran with 2 TV credits, the other one being an episode of The Facts of Life. Not even a “very special” episode.
The episode begins with voodoo priestess Psyche placing a blood splattered portrait of Logan Andrews on a fire. The episode is so poorly constructed that it is not clear that this is a flash-forward; not even when the corresponding scene comes around.
Cut to Andrews yukking it up with his doctor pal over an unfortunate “widow Fitzgerald” who dies leaving him some valuable land. Who is Mrs. Fitzgerald? Why did she leave Andrews the valuable land? We will never find out. For that matter, who is Andrews? Playboy? Is he rich? Overextended? Scam artist? All we know for sure is he buys his clothes a size too large.
Andrews sets eyes on the beautiful Margaret Richardson and we suspect the cycle is about to repeat (even though we don’t know what the cycle is). She is supposed to be a very classy snob, rudely criticizing everything and everyone. Why did she come here if she hates it so much? No help on that one from the writer.
Unfortunately this role, like Andrews, was either terribly miscast or terribly directed. Pamela Gein gives it a good try, but just is not able to pull the humor or snideness out of the character. She looks nice and she’s given some good barbs, but it just doesn’t work. And her hair! My God, her hair! That net makes it look like a beaver tail.
The foreman comes to get Andrews to show him that the land he inherited is quicksand, unsuitable for building. And when I say foreman, I mean foreman in the sense that Cleavon Little was a foreman in Blazing Saddles. So Andrews turns his eye to Margaret.
Really, this whole story was written in the title. “Til Death” indicates a marriage or hook-up will occur. Given the genre, you know there will be a literal death involved. And being Tales from the Crypt, you know the living person will be stuck with the dead person for ever after.
But originality is over-rated. Just having a good setting and interesting characters can make an episode. The voodoo setting works, but might be a little too politically incorrect for some squeamish viewers. Sadly, of the 3 leads, only the doctor really makes his character work.
To end on a positive note, the effects of Margaret decomposing are very well done. That might because most of the director’s credits are in make-up and special effects. He is not credited on this episode, but did get a make-up credit in The Switch.
I rate this one “mostly dead”.
- OK, so Andrews is saddled with this decaying zombie forever in order to fulfill some cosmic justice or irony or karma for his sins. But no one in these tales ever thinks about the zombie. She seems pretty OK with it at the moment, but she is facing eternity as a rotting corpse.
- Throughout the entire episode, D.W. Moffett reminded me of Angel or that guy on Warehouse 13. Except like he’s the guy if you can’t afford the other two. Despite having just seen him in an Outer Limits, I had no memory of him at all. He’s very successful, though, so maybe it’s just me.
- In re the doctor’s head: 1) why did Maggie cut it off? 2) why is Psyche carrying it around in a cage? 3) Why is he so chirpy about it?