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Tales from the Crypt Recap #20 “Lower Berth”

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Tales from the Crypt: Season 2 – Episode 14
Lower Berth (First aired: July 3, 1990)

Plot

When a sideshow promoter finds out that his main star, Enoch the two-faced man, has fallen ill and will die soon, he finds a new attraction from a shady dealer in the form of a thousand year-old mummy. Things begin to fall apart for the promoter though when he discovers that not only was the mummy stolen, but his star attraction, the two-faced man falls in love with it.

Thoughts

I remember seeing this episode as a teenager and hating it. I don’t know what it was, but I was not entertained as a kid when I seen this episode. Fast forward some ten to twelve years later and the episode is actually not nearly as bad as I remember it. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not a stellar episode by any means, but I was expecting Tom Holland (I’ll never stop hating on this man, I don’t care if he made Child’s Play) bad going into it.

I have to say right off the bat that the effects in this episode are fantastic. From the makeup on the mummy to the second face on Enoch, everything in this episode looks great and realistic. I would’ve liked to have seen more freakish type of attractions (the other attractions are a family of midgets and a fat woman, because apparently fat is considered freaky) and this is certainly a missed opportunity. No worries though as there is another circus episode much later on that takes full advantage of this. So this can be forgiven as it’s the first time out for Crypt when it came to carnival horror. The acting is also good in this episode. I especially liked the chemistry between all the characters but in particular between Mr. Sickles (played by Stefan Gierasch) and Enoch (played by a heavily made up Jeff Yahger). I actually found myself feeling sorry for Enoch, as you know he did nothing to deserve this other than by being a freak.

I would love to say all of that was enough to get a recommendation, but sadly I can’t. For one, the pacing in this episode is all over the place. It doesn’t know whether to take itself seriously or go the comedic route and I’m finding that in a lot of Crypt episodes. I’m not really enjoying this, and it is a major problem. That, coupled with a very slow build-up to a weak conclusion (I know a lot of people that love the end of this, but to me, it’s just not done well at all) makes me not recommend it. The biggest crime this one commits though is just how truly forgettable the whole thing is. Nothing, aside from the special effects (which are later trumped by much better episodes), really makes an impact and makes you say “Man, that was a great episode.” It’s just kind of there.

I did enjoy it more than I did when I was younger, but still, it’s not saying much. You should watch it just for the connection it has with the Keeper (more on that in a bit), but really, it’s merely passable.

5/10

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Cryptkeeper Segment

The Cryptkeeper begins by rocking a cradle with a doll in it before attempting to smash it with a hammer, but he stops when he notices the audience is watching. So instead he just pulls his book out and slams it on the doll in a fairly humorous fashion. He ends the episode unable to hold back his tears as he says the episode has a very close connection to himself. What is the connection you ask? Watch the episode like I did to find out! (Or you could just read any description of the plot you find on-line aside from mine, since they pretty much give away the twist at the end)

Punny Goodness

Yes fear fan, I have a real nursery crime for you this time! (what does that even mean!?)

Blood and Gore

A pair of garden shears into the abdomen (two in fact) and some off screen castrations. The effects of the two faced man are also pretty gruesome at first, but for the most part, this one was tame.

Obligatory Nudity

No real woman in this episode to remove their clothing and thankfully, the men keep theirs on.

Scare Factor

Not really, but the close up of the eyes of the mummy was freaky.

Other interesting tidbits

Lewis Arquette plays Ernest Feely in this episode and is of course the father of the Arquette clan consisting of David, Rosanna, Alexis, Richmond, and of course, Patricia who starred in the episode Four Sided Triangle. He never really had any breakout roles to really propel him into superstardom, but he was always a great actor in just about everything he did. Once his kids became stars (well, David and Patricia anyways), he began to appear alongside them in cameos in their movies. He worked all the way until his death in 2001 from congestive heart failure at the age of 65.

Stefan Gierasch has been acting in television and movies since the early fifties. Much like Arquette, he is always a reliable actor in everything he is in, but never had a true break out role to push him over the top. His biggest claim to fame (at least according to IMDB) is starring as Mr. Morton in the seventies horror classic, Carrie.

Mark Rolston, who plays Dr. Kling, is a very familiar face and has had fairly decent roles in some big movies (most notably in The Shawshank Redemption and the later Saw movies), but with me, it always has to go back to Batman and Superman, and he has starred in both, one as Firefly (a fairly underrated villain) in the Batman cartoon and as Lex Luthor in Young Justice. He has been acting for a while and has many more projects on the table including a character in Halo 4 for all you video game geeks out there (like myself of course).

Jeff Yagher is the man behind the makeup of the two-faced man. He also happens to be the brother of the director of this episode Kevin Yagher. Kevin said that it took five hours every morning to apply the extra face to Jeff, so all the respect in the world to the man, as I would not be able to do that. I can only imagine if this episode came out today, they would probably just CGI an extra face on him.

Speaking of Kevin Yagher, he is also is the guy who can take credit for creating the Cryptkeeper puppet itself. So it only seems natural for him to direct an episode that is “so near and dear to Keepers heart.”

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Last Words

For a story that the Keeper really seems to love, you would think it would be told better. All the makings are there to make it a great episode, but in the end, it is messed up by a shoddy pace and a weak narrative. It’s not entirely terrible, but there are just so many better episodes out there. Watch it for the importance of the episode itself, then forget it ever existed, I know I will.

Next Writing: Mute Witness To A Murder

4 Responses to “Tales from the Crypt Recap #20 “Lower Berth””

  • Quippy:

    Punny Goodness
    Yes fear fan, I have a real nursery crime for you this time! (what does that even mean!?)

    “Nursery crime” instead of “nursery rhyme” would be my guess.

    • Keith:

      I got that much. So is the story a crime? What’s so illegal about telling a story? I this this was yet another one of those times that he was just finding words that sounded similar and through them in there, like when he was saying “in sickness and in stealth”, I’m still scratching my head on that one lol

  • Jimaur:

    Don’t sass me, Crypt Keeper! After all, you appeared on an episode of “Brotherly Love” and you had that kids game show to explain about

Leave a Reply for Jimaur