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Tales from the Crypt Recap #11 ”Three’s A Crowd”


Tales from the Crypt: Season 2 – Episode 5
”Three’s A Crowd” (First aired: May 1, 1990)

Plot

A married couple is going on a vacation for their anniversary, and they are bringing along their friend, who is footing the bill, buying the wife gifts, and feeling her up. Needless to say, the husband gets suspicious that she is cheating on him and begins to slowly lose his mind thinking (and drinking) about it.

Thoughts

This was certainly a different kind of Crypt episode. While the series is known for being a horror anthology with a light comedic tone, this episode is by no means funny. Not even in the slightest. This is by far the most serious episode up to this point, and it ranks up there with “Collection Completed” as being difficult to watch. Does that make it a bad episode, though? Absolutely not. This one actually ranks up there as one of my favorites (in my top 10, at least).

I’ll get the negatives out of the way first with this one. That is the acting. While far from awful, none of the actors really seem to give it their all in their performances. They all play their roles very cold and shallow; they only really coming to life in the final act. However, the poor acting actually works in this episode because it gives an unsettling tone to the episode, and when everything starts to break down, you truly get a feel of impending doom.

I also have to mention the score to this episode. Up to this point, the music in most of these episodes has been rather silly (“The Man Who Was Death” immediately springs to mind). This episode completely changes that by playing a very chilling piano score that, from the start, portrays the sense of sadness the main characters feel in their marriage. The same music plays in the final shot, too (I won’t give it away, but it’s a fantastic twist), which really tugs at your strings. Suffice to say, in the end, I felt both sad and depressed along with unsettled and scared. When a score can do that, you know it’s a good one.

The plot also unfolds nicely and never feels rushed. A lot of shows feel they need to hurry up and get to the point, and it doesn’t have the oomph this one has when things finally go pear-shaped. It’s a slow burn with a five-minute final act. So, instead of just having an ordinary couple with marital woes, you have a couple you end up feeling sorry for because the situation is quite relatable. Who hasn’t had their worst fears of their loved ones cheating? Who hasn’t had tough, trying times in their lives where everything just seems to be going wrong?

I would highly recommend this episode to anyone, even non-Crypt fans, due to it being nothing like your normal Crypt episode. However, be forewarned; it is not an easy one to sit through.

10/10

Cryptkeeper Segment

The Cryptkeeper appears to have taken up DJ-ing. Odd, since it has ZERO to do with the episode. He ends it by blowing a party whistle and throwing confetti. And, of course, he is wearing a party hat and has balloons strung up to the wall.

Punny Goodness (This is a long one, so bear with me)

We’ve been invited to an anniversary of holy dead-lock. You know, to love and to perish, for richer for horror, in sickness and in stealth (huh!?), ‘til death do us part.

Blood and Gore

We get an arrow in the chest and a strangulation leading to cuts and scrapes. The blood is minimal, but the violence is very intense.

Obligatory Nudity

Della (Ruth de Sosa) wears a nightie and at one point gets down to her bra early on in the episode, but she keeps it on for the rest of the show. Richard (Gavan O’Herlihy) spends most of the episode shirtless, proving without any doubt that he is the freckliest human being on the planet.

Scare Factor

Oh man, yes. This one is most certainly up there, thanks mostly to the chilling score. Any other song would’ve put this one into the silly category, but thanks to the simplistic piano music, this one sends chills down my spine all the way to the end.

Other Interesting Tidbits

Gavan O’Herlihy is the son of the legendary actor Dan O’Herlihy, who is best known for having one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood and for playing the “Old Man” (Yes, that was seriously what he was billed as) in one of my all-time favorite movies, Robocop. While Gavan didn’t have the career or acting skills of his “Old Man,” he didn’t do too bad for himself. He even helped to coin a new phrase in TV history, “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome,” which is when a character disappears from a show with zero explanation and is never mentioned again. Despite this, he has starred in quite a few big movies in his career, including Death Wish 3, which I know for some people will be quite a career accomplishment.

Ruth de Sosa is yet another Crypt actress who never really went anywhere other than having bit parts in many movies. This, however, was not her first foray into horror anthologies, as she also appeared in Freddy’s Nightmares (episode 2.8, “Bloodlines”) as the mother of an adopted child who they think may be evil. She also happens to be the ex-wife of Larry Drake (1989-1991), the killer Santa from the episode “And All Through The House.”

Paul Lieber never really broke out as a movie actor, but he has had a very successful run on stage playing such roles as Adolf Hitler and Moses. Talk about diversity in characters. He has starred in many TV shows as one-off characters, and he has also appeared in a Freddy’s Nightmares episode (this one being “Saturday Night Special”). On an episode related note, what the hell was up with that fake laugh at the beginning? (AHH HAAA HAA HAAA HAAA!) That’s the sound an old man makes as he breathes down the back on your neck and plots something sinister.

Last Words

“Well, that was unsettling,” was my first thought as the episode ended and I lay there with goosebumps all over and chills up my spine. This is one everyone must watch, provided they can handle it. Even if you don’t think you can handle it, just give it a watch and let it take your emotions for a ride.

Next Writing: “The Thing From the Grave”

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