Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writer: Donald Longtooth
Cast: Mimi Rogers, Jennifer Rubin, Kathy Ireland, Buck Henry, John Kassir, Robert Trebor, Anders Hove, Michael Wiseman, and Maria Pecci
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Air Date: 7/11/1992
Upon losing the opportunity to become a perfume company spokeswoman, aging model Helen (Mimi Rogers) resorts to drastic measures, i.e. murdering her roommate Joyce (Kathy Ireland) and rival Druscilla (Jennifer Rubin), in order to take first place in a beauty pageant. While Helen succeeds in winning the contest, things don’t quite pan out as expected.
Marred by a nonsensical twist ending, “Beauty Rest” employs predictable storytelling devices while sacrificing the atmospheric tension and campy humor for which Tales from the Crypt is known. Mimi Rogers should, however, be commended for portraying Helen as a believably vicious and therefore compelling female antagonist.
By carrying a chip on her shoulder at all times, Helen conveys a contemptible sense of entitlement and will thereby prompt the audience to root for her demise—an intentional result of her hateful characterization and one that becomes additionally effective due to Rogers’ realistic performance.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Though similar in narrative structure to fan favorite “Top Billing” from season three, “Beauty Rest” fails to establish a logical foundation on which to support Helen’s bizarre fate as detailed in the final scene; thus, viewers will be left wondering why Helen is restrained, vivisected, and put on display after securing the title of “Miss Autopsy 1992” (also enigmatic are the dinner guests, who erupt with cheering and applause upon witnessing a meticulously crafted exhibit featuring the remains of Helen). The aforementioned “Top Billing,” in contrast, justifies a similar conclusion by explaining that all participants are actually patients in a facility for the criminally insane.
“Beauty Rest” benefits from a shocking and borderline surreal revelation during Helen’s “award” presentation. That being said, horror fans who prefer suspenseful situations over raw shock value would be wise to avoid this offering.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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