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Tales from the Crypt Recap #8 ”The Switch”

Tales from the Crypt: Season 2 – Episode 2
”The Switch” (First aired: April 21, 1990)


A rich, old man is in love with a young, poor woman. When she rejects him after he confesses his love to her, he vows that he will do anything to win her love. Anything. Oh, and this episode is directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger…Yes, that Arnold.


This is one of those episodes that shows that an episode doesn’t need to have a lot a scares or blood to be a great episode. The concept is about as basic as it gets with a guy (Carlton Webster, played by William Hickey) trying to win over a girl (Linda, played by Kelly Preston) by basically pretending to be what he is not. When she rejects him, he tries his hardest to please her and win her love instead of being honest with her or moving on. It’s a very relatable concept, but, of course this being Crypt, it can’t be that simple. Carlton, in order to win her love, switches his face (and skull) with a younger, more handsome gentleman (Hans, played by Rick Rossovich). This was years before Face-Off. Now we know where John Woo got the idea.

I have to get this out of the way now. I don’t know if he had help, but Arnold is stellar at directing. This episode moves at a very nice pace without ever feeling rushed, and many of the quick cuts and camera shots are very nicely done. I wonder why he never really got into directing. Possibly it’s because his only other directing feature was the made-for-TV movie of the remake Christmas in Connecticut, which I’m guessing solely by the name is a hunk of shit. That aside, he seemed to know what he was doing here.

It also helps that he had a great cast to help him along. Everyone plays their parts perfectly (even if Preston is a bit boring, but that’s nothing new), with the real stand-outs being the mad scientist (Roy Brocksmith) and the butler (Ian Abercrombie), but for completely different reasons. First, the Scientist is played so over-the-top that you can’t help but laugh at just about every line he spews out (when he describes “the third limb” to Carlton I lose it every time; yes, I’m very immature). Also, I’ve got to ask: his experiment clearly works, and Carlton is proof, so why don’t people believe him? Just show them the results; it shouldn’t be that difficult. Second, Butler Fulton is great because out of all the psychos in the episode, he is the only one who seems to have any sense of sanity. He has a great scene where he questions Carlton’s motives, and after hearing him, anyone else would listen and say, “You know what? You’re right. There are plenty of fish in the sea. I like the way I look, and I’m going to find someone who will love me for me.” But, as we have learned thus far with Crypt, logic rarely plays a role in our protagonists’ lives.

If I had to nitpick, though, there was one thing that bothered me. We are never told how, exactly, an old man like Carlton was able to meet a young woman like Linda. They live in to completely different worlds; in reality, the two of them likely never would have met. Another gripe is that Carlton is being driven around by a chauffer, riding around in an expensive car, and wearing suits everywhere he goes. How does she not know he’s rich!? Still, it’s very minor gripes on an otherwise solid episode. Definitely give this one a watch.


Cryptkeeper Segment

The Cryptkeeper is busy trying to pump up his boney arms when…holy shit! It’s Arnold!!! Arnold and the Cryptkeeper! This is even more awesome than when Hulk Hogan and The Rock stood in the same ring…Then again, if you’re not a wrestling fan, that likely sucked.

Punny Goodness

You want to keep that 90 pound corpse for the rest of your DEATH!? (Delivered by Arnold this time)

Blood and Gore

We get a few severed heads in jars and some medical use for blood. Nothing major; this is tame.

Obligatory Nudity

Kelly Preston is kind enough to get into a Baywatch bikini for us. Unfortunately, that’s all us guys get. Ladies get lots of shirtless men and a clear shot of Hans’s ass.

Scare Factor

Nope. There are no scares here; this one is more about psychological twists and telling a story about hopeless love. Though, the close up of the severed head might get a few people.

Other interesting tidbits

This episode marks the first of many episodes where they get a major name in the industry to come in and direct. Suffice to say, Arnold certainly wasn’t needed to come in and direct this, and his career wasn’t helped nor hurt by it. However, the coolness factor of celebrities directing these shows was certainly top notch, and it was fun seeing just who would come next.

William Hickey is a face you have seen everywhere, but he never had any real stand-out roles. He was more known for basically being that old looking guy you could always go to for solid performances. And yes, he has always looked like death. Sadly, he passed away in 1997.

Rick Rossovich is described by many as one of the nicest guys to work with in Hollywood, and this also isn’t his first time working with Arnold. He played Matt in the first Terminator movie; he even had a “fight” scene with the big guy (which involved him basically being thrown around all over the place). Before his breakout hit, though, he started in a few soft-core porn movies (in case any ladies or gay men are looking for more of his booty).

Kelly Preston has had a lustrous career but will likely always be remembered as John Travolta’s ex-wife (CHECK THIS. I THINK THEY’RE STILL MARRIED). I’m personally not a fan of hers (I always felt her acting was bland and boring, and her looks were no different), so I don’t have much to put in this segment.

This isn’t Roy Brocksmith’s first go in the Tales from the Crypt series, as he also played Vic the Bartender in the very first episode (“The Man Who Was Death”). This also won’t be the last time we see him, either…Sadly, he passed away in 2001.

Ian Abercrombie made an entire career playing, well, a British guy…but, man, was he good at doing so. He is probably best remembered as Mr. Pitt in the television series Seinfeld. Not at all surprising giving his appearance, but he has also played Alfred Pennyworth (Bruce Wayne’s Butler) in the short lived series Birds of Prey. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year (The amount of dead people in this episode is quite tragic).

Last Words

This is a very different episode from all the others we have seen thus far. It doesn’t try to entertain by scaring you, it doesn’t try to gross you out, and it doesn’t throw senseless nudity at you (Although the workout scene seems a bit forced). It’s just a tragic love tale with a twist and, as shocking as it is, a life lesson: always be yourself and be honest, and you will get what you want.

Next Writing: Cutting Cards

4 Responses to “Tales from the Crypt Recap #8 ”The Switch””

  • Keith:

    And here is this weeks episode…highly recommended 🙂

  • Keith:

    Oh and Kelly Preston did forgive Travolta and didn’t divorce him after all, I factor that to when I wrote this it wasn’t announced yet that she called off the divorce…that or I’m just a boob and didn’t do my fact checking properly, I think it might be the latter lol.

  • Cristiona:

    This is pretty nice. I like that they were willing to just go psychological on the audience from time to time. And sometimes, those can be the most horrific episodes. It’s almost like they cut their teeth on Collection Completed, and then decided to go full mind-fuck when that one worked.

    • Keith:

      As awesome as the episodes are when they go psychological like this one, when they go wrong, they go so very wrong as Lover Come Hack To Me and the later episodes The Sacrifice and Four Sided Triangle will prove. But this one is definitely a trip to say the least…if not just for seeing Arnold standing next to Keeper lol

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