The Ark - Season 1Eps1
- After this, the third episode of Season 2's April 21st debut, the directorial prestige for the rest of the season kind of dries up. It improves in the third season but for now, gear up for entries from the co-writer of Doc Hollywood, the director of Wrestling Ernest Hemingway and Sigourney Weaver's husband.
The Ark - Season 1Eps1
When you think about it, this is the first episode of Crypt to delve into flat-out supernatural horror. Even Joey Pants' immortality in "Dig That Cat" is achieved via surgical procedure, as is William Hickey's transformation into a young man in "The Switch." You could argue that "Lover Come Hack to Me" is a ghost story, but its ax murder is perpetuated by a living human being. Sure, "Only Sin Deep" had some lifeforce-draining black magic hoo-joo and "Dead Right" featured an eerily spot-on psychic, but "'Til Death" is definitely the first time on the show an unearthly entity is called forth to wreak havoc on unscrupulous individuals. Since my first exposure to the E.C. horror comics pastiche was Creepshow, all five of its stories supernatural-based, I guess I'm just surprised this element didn't pop up on Crypt until halfway into its second season.
The effects are so good they basically save the episode, the first half is "Only Sin Deep"-level dullsville which the poor cast is forced to slog through until they can start reacting to dismemberments. It's a notably starless episode - I mean, I recognized D.W. Moffett as the Bateman-esque serial killer from Gary Sherman's Lisa and Aubrey Morris as the crotch-karate chopping corrections officer from A Clockwork Orange and from Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce, but I certainly couldn't name either without the help of IMDb. After opening the season with appearances by Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger you can't help wonder what happened to the high profile casting (I admit it's generous to consider Lance Henriksen a star). While the cast of "'Til Death" are uniformly fine - Moffett gives an incredible "Jee-zus Chriiiist!" when his wife crawls out of her grave - they are plagued by some truly awful one-linesr: "So much for burning desire!" (delivered to an immolated corpse), "Someone is dying to meet you!" (it's a zombie who's dying to meet him), "I always said you'd get ahead!" (spoken by a detached head). Leave the puns to the Cryptkeeper, guys.
Part of me wants to give D.B.M. props for going off-model and making a more grounded installment with an upsetting ending, but then I remember O'Herlihy's nutty performance. While very enjoyable, it belongs in an episode about a gypsy curse or a haunted lawnmower. Not in one that ends with the unpleasant death of an innocent woman by strangulation, capped off by Crypt Keeper joking about dragging your wife around. I suspect I might have been easier on it had it turned up in the middle of the fourth or fifth season, when the Crypt formula was well and truly established. I like that the friend O'Herlihy thinks is making the moves on his lady isn't some young bohunk, he's just some guy, but in the Crypt world it should be a young early-90's pin-up. It should have been Billy Warlock. And the final twist is too Shakespearean for Crypt. Which is to say, it's just too fucking mean. Maybe it would fly as a Tales from the Darkside, but not a Crypt. Not to mention that it's so grounded, I actually found myself developing qualms with the plot: when confronted with a crazed O'Herlihy with a loaded crossbow, why would the wife's friend not immediately tell him, "There's no conspiracy, your wife is pregnant and I came here to bring you to a special surprise party to let you know!" But I guess that's besides the POINT. (Cross-bow, right? I dunno.) D+. 041b061a72