Director: Kyle MacLachlan
Writer: Ron Finley
Cast: Roger Daltrey, Steve Buscemi, Paul Dooley, Marshall Bell, Lysette Anthony, John Kassir, Tim Ahern, Titus Welliver, Luis Ramos, and Kevin Benton
Composer: Jay Ferguson
Air Date: 10/2/1993
Motivated by jealously, past-his-prime war photographer Dalton (Roger Daltrey) deceives Isaac “Ike” Forte (Steve Buscemi)—a talented protégé married to a beautiful woman named Bobbi (Lysette Anthony)—into visiting a contaminated village in South America, thereby exposing him to a necrotizing pathogen. Upon returning to the United States, Dalton discovers that Ike had sent a final “present” to Bobbi before expiring.
Notorious for its vile imagery, “Forever Ambergris” will undoubtedly perturb those of a sensitive disposition. Also worth noting are the performances of Roger Daltrey (lead singer of The Who) and character actor Steve Buscemi, the shared chemistry of whom serves to reinforce the central conflict of this episode.
Arguably the most gruesome entry of Tales from the Crypt, “Forever Ambergris” should be requisite viewing for gore hounds, horror enthusiasts, and fans of elaborate (albeit nauseating) make-up effects. In one scene, for example, a man’s flesh begins to rot, ooze, and peel apart while still attached to a living body—a disturbing, if highly unrealistic, depiction of germ warfare that parallels the predicament of Steve West (main character of The Incredible Melting Man, a Z-grade science fiction film about an astronaut who turns into a slimy, liquefied creature after observing the Sun through the rings of Saturn).
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Despite sharing a tent with Ike in his infected state, Dalton fails to exhibit symptoms of illness before copulating with Bobbi, who, according to a last-minute monologue, had inadvertently contracted the disease from a foreign package.
Though primarily a vehicle for stomach-churning violence and gore, “Forever Ambergris” contains a laudable message on how jealous behavior can ruin long-time friendships and romantic bonds.
By combining grisly death sequences with a satisfying plot twist, “Forever Ambergris” will surely appeal to the target audience of Tales from the Crypt. Certain logical inconsistencies (e.g. Dalton’s ability to murder a man in cold blood without facing legal consequences) may, however, evoke criticism from viewers of an astute nature.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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