Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Fred Dekker
Cast: John Kassir, Mary Ellen Trainor, Larry Drake, Marshall Bell, and Lindsey Whitney Barry
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Air Date: 6/10/1989
After a wife (Mary Ellen Trainor) murders her husband (Marshall Bell) on Christmas Eve in order to collect his insurance money, an axe-wielding psychopath escapes from a local mental hospital, dons a Santa suit, and shows up at the protagonist’s house. Hoping to pin her husband’s death on “Santa” (Larry Drake), the wife copies the killer’s modus operandi, with disastrous results.
A remake of the 1972 Tales from the Crypt segment starring Joan Collins, “And All Through the House” contains many humorous elements. That being said, horror fans of a serious inclination would be wise to pass on this offering because of its comical approach to the subject matter.
By capturing a picturesque display of a holiday-decorated home with cheery Christmas music playing in the background, the opening credits sequence gives the audience a false sense of security. This technique makes the murder scene that occurs moments later somewhat shocking by contrast; however, it’s worth noting that the director of the 1972 version did a superior job of creating a warm, family-oriented atmosphere before killing off the husband in a brutal fashion.
Larry Drake should also be commended for providing a chilling performance as the homicidal antagonist. Over-the-top though his presence may be, Drake accentuated the show’s campy tone with his exaggerated style of acting, especially during several key moments.
As a standalone effort, “And All Through the House” may appeal to viewers who are unfamiliar with the Tales from the Crypt film released by Amicus Productions. Unfortunately, by failing to surpass the quality of the aforementioned theatrical presentation, this episode offers no improvement over the original clip, save for a more gruesomely amusing execution.
If you’re planning to kill your husband, at least be intelligent about it.
“And All Through the House” is a dark but goofy holiday tale that builds on the clichéd premise of a serial killer dressed as Santa Claus. Whereas Tales from the Crypt fans are likely to appreciate the high camp factor, casual viewers may wish to skip this entry in favor of the more nuanced rendition mentioned earlier.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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