02nd Mar2013

‘Tales From the Crypt 2×01: Dead Right’ Review

by Nathan Smith

Two things stick out very vividly in memory from watching ‘Dead Right’ early on in my youthful days late, late Saturday nights (right after my local news). One, Demi Moore was a foxy chick. She was a two-sided coin, gorgeous and tough edged. A totally memorable girl. And two, Jeffery Tambor, long before he became known to me before another cult show (you know the one), was totally and straight up believable as a greasy, grimy overweight slob — even as I see now that it’s really funky make-up and a lumpy fatsuit.

It’s a simple tale. Gold digging girl meets boy with the promises that said boy will inherit money and die a violent death. So, she pushes him away because he’s a digusting lout (and baby, I can attest to that) but gives in because money’s money and to Ms. Cathy Fince nee Marno, it makes the world go ’round. But here’s the great snake lying in the grass. SHE’S the one who wins the money, a million dollars, and she leaves him because he is a disgusting creep, and he kills her screaming that big fat old adage, “If I can’t have you, no one can.” I’m certain that most crimes of passion, whether criminal or victim has had that screamed at them just before the axe (or knife in this case) falls. And he does inherit money, hers and dies in the electric chair (the first of many this season, actually) as promised by Madame Vorna. It’s just so crackerjack, it’s crazy.

The thing of it is, most episodes don’t telegraph the twists so much as you know that it functions very much like the olden movies of the Hollywood heyday. Bad guys get got even if the good guys function as the collateral in the same function. But, in ‘Dead Right,’ the smartest thing that’s done, is they tell you straight up; this is how it’ll end. But in that same token, they don’t tell you the road that leads there. You know in a sense, it’s not going to end groovy for both of them, otherwise you just don’t know the show you’re watching. But the ending functions as a smart gutpunch nonetheless. The element of selfishness that Cathy essays comes back and bites her in the ass when Charlie essaying HIS brand of selfishness, kills her. It’s also a trip seeing Demi Moore with blood spraying out everywhere. It’s quite the vibrant and violent death. The montage after the wedding is actually quite the nice flourish, set to a smooth satiny song and punctuated by scenes of Cathy and Charlie dancing away. It’s a nice touch by returning director Howard Deutch, fairing better than his season one attempt, ‘Only Sin Deep.’

Both Tambor and Moore sell the characters as apt as they can be, one a gold digger and the other a gross slob. It’s interesting to see Moore as a rough around the edges type, especially seeing that she played the flip side of the coin, a sensitive soul in “Ghost.” It just shows that before getting bogged down with a tabloid life, she was talented as hell and could play both sides. She doesn’t really do anything villainous in this episode because that’s not the character, she doesn’t even attempt to kill Charlie, she just hopes for his inheritance, puts up with the appalling behavior of her hubby and finally strays after hitting the jackpot. It’s actually the anti-thesis of your average Tales From the Crypt character. Tambor’s really the one who gets the “just desserts” ending and he sells the slobbish oaf role well, despite being slathered in a wonky looking fatsuit and slapdash make-up. There are shades of menace in the final scene where he kills Cathy, he looks cuddly and so very sinister. He brought that aspect to his role as George Senior a little on down the road.

It’s a damn great starter to a fantastic season of Tales From the Crypt, one that improves on its truncated inaugural season in so very many ways.

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