Director: Tom Holland
Writer: Michael McDowell
Cast: John Kassir, Amanda Plummer, Stephen Shellen, Lisa Figus, and Richard Eden
Composer: Joe Renzetti
Air Date: 6/21/1989
In this haunting tale, a gold digger named Charles (Stephen Shellen) marries a pure but homely woman known as Peggy (Amanda Plummer) in order to obtain her inheritance money. Unfortunately for Charles, Peggy and her Aunt Edith (Lisa Figus) harbor a dark secret concerning family traditions, one which manifests in a horrifying honeymoon surprise.
“Lover Come Hack to Me” fails to complement its over-the-top subject matter with signature Tales from the Crypt humor, thus resulting in an uneven final product. This episode does, however, offer several genuinely creepy moments that will appeal to fans of traditional horror.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Though lacking in consistency, the otherwise incongruous tone benefits from a chilling atmosphere. Specifically, a haunted house, gory death scenes, and nightmares involving ghostly in-laws set the stage for a classic Tales from the Crypt experience. Also unnerving is Amanda Plummer’s portrayal of Peggy, which transitions from sweetly innocent to cold-blooded in a most convincing fashion.
Additionally, by turning the character of Charles into a sleazy fortune hunter, writer Michael McDowell added a sense of justice to his narrative. Unlike the Haunt of Fear comic issue of the same name, the episode discussed in this review gives Charles a despicable backstory that should make audiences feel as though his gruesome fate is well-deserved (of course, the use of an unsympathetic victim does have its drawbacks, such as the fact that viewers will be unlikely to invest in the plight of said victim and therefore have difficulty appreciating the frightening circumstances that affect him).
The execution (no pun intended) of “Lover Come Hack to Me” is too outrageous to be taken seriously, yet not campy enough for a truly comedic outcome to ensue. The ambiguous and occasionally bizarre tone is most noticeable during a drawn-out sexual encounter between Charles and Peggy, whose exaggerated moaning cannot be definitively described as funny, disturbing, or downright awkward from the viewer’s frame of reference. In fact, with the possible exception of Plummer’s performance, the acting in “Lover Come Hack to Me” is neither objectively amusing nor sufficiently convincing at any given time, which seems to indicate that the director couldn’t decide how he wanted to handle McDowell’s material.
Like the previous episode, “Lover Come Hack to Me” teaches its audience that a lifestyle of mooching can have dire consequences, regardless of the gender dynamics involved. Much in contrast to Lea Thompson’s vile character from “Only Sin Deep,” Charles does, on occasion, allow a modicum of humanity to seep through his manipulative exterior, though never enough to garner sympathy from viewers of a strong moral inclination.
A perfect Tales from the Crypt episode in theory, “Lover Come Hack to Me” never quite manages to overcome the aforementioned problems with tone and pacing. That being said, a harrowing atmosphere coupled with graphic murder sequences will satisfy series enthusiasts who prefer style over substance.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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