Director: Jonas McCord
Writer: Shel Willens
Cast: Anthony Zerbe, Teri Polo, John Savage, Bibi Besch, Isaac Hayes, John Kassir, and Tim Sampson
Composer: Ulrich Sinn
Air Date: 11/16/1994
Upon arriving in a home for the blind, an attractive woman named Shelia (Teri Polo) is subjected to the abuse of Arnie Grunwald (Anthony Zerbe)—a sadistic manager who agrees to feed and warm the facility occupants in exchange for sexual favors. Along with Benny (John Savage)—a timid staff member and former mental patient—and fellow residents Armelia (Bibi Besch), Osgood (Tim Sampson), and Samuel (Isaac Hayes), Shelia decides to turn the tables on her caretaker.
This offering is a lackluster remake of the “Blind Alleys” segment from Amicus Productions’ Tales from the Crypt anthology film. Shelia’s relationship with Benny should, however, be commended for adding a poignant angle to a classic revenge story.
Coerced into complying with the psychotic plans of Arnie Grunwald, Benny—a gentle and unassuming maintenance worker with a heartfelt connection to the blind home residents—may evoke sympathy from the audience. Also worth noting is that the character of Benny has no equivalent in the original film, allowing him to serve as a wild card in Grunwald’s conflict with Shelia, Armelia, Samuel, and Osgood.
Despite showcasing better production values than those of the aforementioned “Blind Alleys” segment, “Revenge Is the Nuts” is hampered by one significant shortcoming: actor John Savage fails to convey the subtle apathy of his counterpart from the 1972 version, instead portraying the head caretaker as a cartoonish and one-dimensional villain. Specifically, rather than merely ignoring the complaints of the blind people and wasting all food, heat, and luxury items on his own comfort, Grunwald goes out of his way to torture and sexually humiliate those under his supervision, even walling off the facility bathroom with a layer of bricks—an over-the-top depiction of sociopathic behavior that, at least in the real world, would likely result in severe legal consequences.
“Revenge Is the Nuts” offers a modern update on an iconic Tales from the Crypt narrative. Nevertheless, horror fans of a serious nature may wish to avoid this campy, unrealistic episode in favor of the version directed by Freddie Francis.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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