Director: John Harrison
Writer: Larry Wilson
Cast: Tim Roth, Roya Megnot, Nancy Fish, Debra Mooney, William Atherton, John Kassir, Stuart Mabray, Mary McKuen, Rod Britt, and Kevin Brief
Composer: J. Peter Robinson
Air Date: 7/17/1991
Recovering alcoholic Jack Craig (Tim Roth) paints a haunting picture of death, which captivates the interest of wealthy patron Malcolm Mayflower (Willian Atherton). In order to satisfy his new customer, however, Jack must continuously murder those around him, even when dissuaded by the positive influence of his girlfriend Sharon (Roya Megnot).
Arguably the most disturbing Tales from the Crypt episode ever made, “Easel Kill Ya” will appeal to fans of extreme horror. Especially worth noting is the performance of Tim Roth, whose character benefits from a volatile, if occasionally conflicted, temperament to compensate for his physically unimposing stature.
A squalid, rundown apartment complex serves as an outward manifestation of the ugliness inherent to Jack’s soul, thereby allowing “Easel Kill Ya” to generate and sustain a disquieting atmosphere in spite of the generic premise on which it operates (i.e. a troubled artist committing murder for inspiration). Additionally unsettling is that Jack manages to publically assault, kill, and mutilate the residents of said apartment complex without drawing attention to himself—a subtle but harrowing commentary on society’s neglectful treatment of addicts, outcasts, and undesirables of a lower-class background.
Though initially clever, “Easel Kill Ya” takes a predictable twist in the final act.
Despite containing a groan-worthy pun in its title, “Easel Kill Ya” offers a thought-provoking study on the nature of addiction. Specifically, Jack stumbles upon his first murder almost by accident; yet remains unable to give up killing when prompted by circumstances seemingly beyond his control—a situation of perceived helplessness with which many alcoholics and substance abusers can likely relate.
“Easel Kill Ya” is a cruel, nasty, and at times thoroughly unpleasant episode of Tales from the Crypt. Horror enthusiasts of a serious inclination may therefore wish to view this entry, which forgoes campy humor in favor of a more realistic approach to exploring the macabre.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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