Director: Fred Dekker
Writer: Fred Dekker
Cast: Miguel Ferrer, Teri Hatcher, Kyle Secor, John Kassir, Laird Macintosh, and Cindy Riegel
Composer: David Newman
Air Date: 5/8/1990
Photographer Devlin Cates (Kyle Secor) falls in love with model Stacy (Teri Hatcher) and vows to protect her from an abusive, overbearing fiancé named Mitch (Miguel Ferrer). Upon learning of Stacy’s infidelity, Mitch shoots Devlin to death and buries him in the woods; however, even death itself cannot prevent Devlin from keeping his promise to Stacy.
By combining traditional horror elements with realistic gore/make-up effects, “The Thing from the Grave” will appeal to Tales from the Crypt fans. However, the one-dimensional characters in Fred Dekker’s narrative will likely fail to captivate the interest of those who prefer substance over style.
The opening and closing sequences contain the perfect blend of action, horror, and suspense, thus resulting in a highly intense introductory segment later followed by an equally powerful climax. Though viewers may have difficulty rooting for the protagonists given Dekker’s aforementioned lack of character development, an engaging atmosphere nonetheless stems from the manner in which said sequences were executed.
Also noteworthy is the chilling performance of Miguel Ferrer, whose talent for playing “bad guy” roles allowed him to embody all the traits one would expect of a clichéd Tales from the Crypt villain. By complementing Mitch’s abusive side with a manipulative exterior, Ferrer gave audiences a solid reason to relate with Stacy, who decides to stay with Mitch in spite of his vile behavior.
With its heavy emphasis on cardboard characters and hackneyed plot devices, “The Thing from the Grave” fails to rise above its comic book origins. While a gruesome twist ending compensates for a shallow foundation, many viewers may find Dekker’s conclusion to be somewhat confusing without having paid attention to a forgettable reference made in a much earlier scene.
Despite the poignant nature of Stacy and Devlin’s relationship, perhaps the real lesson to be learned from this episode is that men should not involve themselves in the affairs of betrothed women, lest a violent outcome ensue. At the very least, Devlin and Stacy should be held partially accountable for their misfortune due to the foolish manner with which they chose to confront a cold-blooded psychopath.
“The Thing from the Grave” benefits from atmospheric elements, a solid cast, and David Newman’s compelling music score. Unfortunately, none of these factors can fully redeem this episode from a poorly written script.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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