Director: Freddie Francis
Writer: Scott Nimerfro
Cast: Emma Samms, Kerry Fox, Julie Cox, Michael Denison, Dulcie Gray, John Kassir, Peter Waddington, Molly Weir, Roger Brierly, and Sarah London
Composer: Frank Becker
Air Date: 4/26/1996
Left in charge of their late father’s curiosity shop, sisters Yvonne (Emma Samms), Dolores (Kerry Fox), and Marlys (Julie Cox) discover a monkey’s paw in a box of items. Allowed three wishes by the paw, the women attempt to use the object for financial gain—with a terrible outcome.
“Last Respects” is an abysmal effort from director Freddie Francis. Specifically, this offering deserves criticism for its campy situations, poorly written characters, and predictable twist in the climactic scene.
This installment should be commended for its opening segment, which, due to its effective use of horror tropes (e.g. killer dogs and tipped-over tombstones), wastes no time in establishing a scary, engaging atmosphere—especially when complemented by the haunting and suspenseful music of composer Frank Becker, known for scoring several Tales from the Crypt episodes.
Employing gross-out humor in lieu of clever, thoughtful comedic devices, “Last Respects” would best be avoided by horror buffs with a sophisticated sense of entertainment. In one scene, for example, an elderly woman repeatedly breaks wind while eating chunks of sloppy, pureed meat at a dinner table—a cringe-worthy gag, even by the occasionally low-brow standards of Tales from the Crypt. Also worth noting is that Yvonne, Marlys, and Dolores put their deceased father on display in a curios shop—yet another distasteful, not to mention extremely unrealistic, addition to this episode.
A loose remake of “Wish You Were Here” from Amicus Productions’ Tales from the Crypt movie (also directed by Francis), “Last Respects” will likely fail to satisfy diehard fans of the source material. The high spook factor of the introductory and closing sequences may, however, appeal to enthusiasts of the horror genre.
Overall Quality: 2/10
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