07th Apr2013

Tales from the Crypt 2×04 – “Til Death” Review

by Nathan Smith

Original airdate: April 24th, 1990

Voodoo and zombies. If ever there was a cocktail inherent to fit the mold of a Tales From the Crypt episode, that’d be it. Hell, there was even a film called “Ritual” released a while back that was all about the voodoo they do. It’s the first episode of the season that’s expressly about the supernatural and monsters and works as a cracking, fast paced zombie tale that never bores from the first frame because it actually works to earn the story it tells.

The first scene sets up everything: a voodoo ritual complete with snake handling and bloodletting over a picture of our lead character Logan, played by the smugly un-likeableish D.W. Moffett. It gives just enough over to you to satiate the appetite for what’s to come. And while the majority of the first act sets up just how corrupt our lead is (he was either involved or had a woman killed for land) and the doctor who helped him. But, the land is a bust, all quicksand and so forth. So, he sets about to woo an even more unlikeable millionaire heiress, Margaret (or Maggie) to get the money. Problem is, she’s high-strung, or as Logan mentions off the cuff, she’s a “bitch on wheels” and pretty much ignores his advances outright. So, he seeks the help of the voodoo princess from the opening scene, whom he also had dalliances with to secure her love with that good old-fashioned voodoo. But of course, things don’t go right. Do they ever?

There was no doubt from the moment that Psyche, the voodoo chick mentions that he should only use one drop or otherwise things will go south, and she’ll be his forever. And because she’s still unlikeable even when she is infatuated with him, he gives her all the drops and she conks over dead. And comes back and starts to deteriorate. It’s classic “Tales” and this is where the show starts to get fun. Maggie as zombie is quite hilarious as she still acts like a pearl clutching debutante. And her “daaahling” act is pretty funny too. Not to mention it gets pretty spooky when Maggie, all desiccated and rotting chases Logan through the woods towards the end of the episode. But the ending feels earned, instead of him sinking in the quicksand (which would have been fitting nonetheless) he kills himself only to be resurrected by Psyche, tying back into the opening scene, to be the loving groom to Maggie’s skull faced zombie until death do they so on and so forth.

The plot of the episode would sort of be revisited in early season three in ‘Loved to Death.’ The direction by special effects guru Chris Walas (coming on the heels of his work on the underrated The Fly II) is appropriately comic-book esque, full of blues and blacks and reds, especially noticeable in the chase scene and the scenes of the voodoo rituals. It’s all about the old-fashioned zombies, no flesh eaters to speak of. The effects of Maggie, more noticeably as she deteriorates is a very strong mix of the animatronic and practical. It just looks like a good old zombie in a good old Tales from the Crypt.


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