Director: William Friedkin
Writer: Larry Wilson
Cast: Yul Vazquez, Paul Hipp, Tia Carrere, Sherrie Rose, Heavy D, Gregg Allman, John Kassir, Steve Jones, Don Michaelson, Richard Danielson, and Karen Kalensky
Composer: Merl Saunders
Air Date: 6/27/1992
Vocalist Danny Darwin (Yul Vazquez) fears that his rock group, Exorcist, will soon dissolve if the marriage between guitarist Nick Bosch (Paul Hipp) and his wife Scarlett (Tia Carrere) is allowed to continue. Hoping to appease the irate lead singer, groupie Vendetta (Sherrie Rose) suggests that Danny pay a visit to Farouche (Heavy D), whose tattoo artistry tells an ominous story about the life of each patron.
A disappointing effort from the director of The Exorcist, “On a Deadman’s Chest” emphasizes pure shock value over a nuanced approach to building and maintaining suspense. While certain Tales from the Crypt fans may actually applaud William Friedkin for his then controversial depictions of violence, those who feel a compelling distaste for visceral horror are advised to avoid this episode at all costs.
Though effectively deplorable, Danny Darwin lacks a convincing background narrative that would allow viewers to thoroughly understand his intense hatred of Scarlett.
An absence of personality depth likewise hampers the development of all supporting characters—a flaw that becomes especially problematic during Scarlett’s death sequence, the brutality of which may fail to elicit sympathetic reactions given that no attempt is made to expand upon the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of Nick Bosch and his ill-fated wife on a level with which audiences could potentially relate (that being said, fans of a compassionate inclination will no doubt experience anger and disgust upon witnessing a helpless woman die horrifically at the hands of a cruel sociopath).
Think before you ink.
“On a Deadman’s Chest” contains an inordinate amount of gruesome violence in order to compensate, albeit unsuccessfully, for the underwhelming premise upon which it operates. Classic rock enthusiasts may, however, appreciate the many subtle jabs taken at various performers (e.g. Ozzy Osbourne, the Beatles, and the aforementioned Elvis Presley) with whom the music industry is typically associated.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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