Tales from the Crypt Episode 52: Curiosity Killed

General Information

Director: Elliot Silverstein

Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross

Cast: Margot Kidder, Kevin McCarthy, J.A. Preston, Madge Sinclair, John Kassir, Marshall Teague, and Constance Wiggins

Composer: Walter Werzowa

Air Date: 9/16/1992

 

Overview

Jack (Kevin McCarthy) and Cynthia (Margot Kidder)—a spiteful, elderly couple—spend the weekend camping with Harry (J.A. Preston) and Lucille (Madgetales-from-the-crypt-curiosity-killed Sinclair), a more easygoing husband and wife. When Harry and Lucille share a revitalizing voodoo potion with Jack alone, Cynthia retaliates by pouring a deadly ingredient into the mixture.

A “campy” episode, “Curiosity Killed” operates on a hackneyed premise. Casual Tales from the Crypt enthusiasts may therefore wish to avoid this entry, the black humor of which is conveyed poorly through Elliot Silverstein’s incongruous direction.

 

Pros

tales-from-the-crypt-curiosity-killedThough quite dated by today’s standards, the gore effects (i.e. aging/rotting at an accelerated pace) featured in this episode will appeal to horror buffs of a macabre inclination.

 

Cons

“Curiosity Killed” fails to maintain a consistent tone, often transitioning from dark comedy to serious drama at the most inappropriate of times—a flaw that prevents Jack and Cynthia from evoking either sympathy or laughter when intended. For example, Cynthia’s reaction to an ostensible murder plot could, given Margot Kidder’s hyperbolic performance, be considered amusingtales-from-the-crypt-curiosity-killed in a slightly twisted way; however, a compelling musical arrangement by Walter Werzowa works to elicit fear, not satisfaction, while Cynthia’s life appears to be in danger.

Despite resulting in punishment for those who deserve it, the twist ending relies upon an unbelievable, if not thoroughly absurd, contrivance that serves only to insult viewer intelligence. Observant audiences will likewise note the intrusive nature of Werzowa’s composition, which, as in prior sequences, embodies an almost operatic intensity not befitting Cynthia’s well-earned comeuppance; nor the levity for which Tales from the Crypt is known.

 

Analysis

tales-from-the-crypt-curiosity-killedBy emphasizing characters of a hateful, malicious temperament, “Curiosity Killed” provides no reason to invest in the outcome of Stanley Ralph Ross’ narrative.

 

Concluding Comments

As opposed to “Collection Completed” from season one, “Curiosity Killed” makes poor use of the bickering old couple trope. For this reason, fans of quirky humor would be wise to search elsewhere for a worthwhile horror/comedy offering.

 

Overall Quality: 2/10

 

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