Director: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Writers: Richard Tuggle and Michael Taav
Cast: William Hickey, Rick Rossovich, Kelly Preston, Roy Brocksmith, Ian Ambercrombie, J. Patrick McNamara, John Kassir, Renata Scott, Tish Smiley, Christopher Lawford, Mark Pellegrino, Kendall McCarthy, Spiro Razatos, Bill Lucas, and Ted Barba
Composer: Jay Ferguson
Air Date: 4/21/1990
A wealthy but elderly man named Carlton Webster (William Hickey) develops a fondness for the beautiful Linda (Kelly Preston), but gets rejected as a result of his old age. Refusing to accept Linda’s decision, Carlton trades his fortune for the face, torso, and legs of an athletic young man known simply as Hans (Rick Rossovich). Carlton discovers only too late, however, that Linda’s attraction comes at a higher price than he can afford.
Though based upon a ludicrous concept, “The Switch” benefits from many amusing performances. While certain viewers may find Carlton’s foolish behavior to be frustrating at times, a good morality lesson compensates for any obvious shortcomings.
“The Switch” fails to couple over-the-top gore with atmospheric situations, which may disappoint those who enjoy Tales from the Crypt for its macabre elements. That being said, writers Richard Tuggle and Michael Taav succeeded in crafting a narrative so ridiculous that even the most serious of horror fans should have no difficultly deriving humor from the absurdity of its execution. Also worth mentioning is the outrageously campy but now iconic introductory segment, in which guest director Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a series of cringe-inducing puns related to horror themes, all while imitating the Crypt Keeper’s signature style of delivery.
Despite the hilarious premise on which it operates, “The Switch” contains one major flaw. Initially, Carlton claims that he wanted Linda to love him for who he really was, which is why he kept his enormous wealth hidden from her. In spite of this, Carlton proceeds to spend millions of dollars on plastic surgeries in order to attract Linda through superficial means.
For all its goofy aspects, “The Switch” teaches us that if one is unwilling to accept another person for his or her true self, then going through extraordinary lengths to please such an individual would no doubt prove to be a pointless endeavor.
Far-fetched even by Tales from the Crypt standards, “The Switch” retains a high entertainment value nonetheless. If nothing else, the cameo featured in the opening sequence makes this episode worth a watch for those who enjoy Schwarzenegger’s tongue-in-cheek manner of delivery.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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