Director: Peter Medak
Writer: Ron Finley
Cast: David Warner, Joan Severance, Zelda Rubinstein, Twiggy Lawson, Robert Patrick, and John Kassir
Composer: Michael Kamen
Air Date: 7/25/1992
In a last-ditch effort to avoid cancellation, radio psychologist Alan Goetz (David Warner) pays a visit to Nora (Zelda Rubinstein)—a frequent caller—and her disobedient daughter Felicity. With producer Bonnie (Twiggy Lawson) and boss Rona (Joan Severance) at his side, Alan confronts Nora on her disciplinary shortcomings; but ultimately falls prey to the veneer of a quirky, unassuming old woman.
“The New Arrival” puts a unique spin on the concept first explored by Robert Bloch in the novel Psycho. Horror fans will thus enjoy this episode, which combines the narrative undertones of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film with the delightful camp for which Tales from the Crypt is known.
While Alan, Rona, and Bonnie venture through the enigmatic corridors of Nora’s home, many unnerving devices (e.g. animalistic cries of a demented child, hallways caked in bubble gum, and old-fashioned toys reminiscent of nightmare fuel) are employed in order elicit the suggestion of being slowly drawn into an abyss of horrors. Additionally disturbing is the performance of Zelda Rubinstein, whose character exemplifies a sweet, innocent manner to contrast with her psychotic behavior.
Effectively creepy though it may be, the twist ending is never explained from a logical perspective.
The Alan Goetz character serves to satirize any so-called experts in the field of child psychology who, despite being perceived with an air of authority, offer parenting advice that translates poorly to real-world scenarios. Note that for all his initial self-assurance, Alan gradually loses control of his situation before eventually finding himself at the mercy of his own patient—an ironically poignant commentary on the fact that armchair analysis, along with any solutions derived therefrom, can often prove a poor substitute for the firsthand experience that, in this case, only the direct raising of a child can provide.
Tales from the Crypt enthusiasts will appreciate “The New Arrival” for its chilling use of atmosphere. Though a tad nonsensical, the climactic scene in particular should be commended given the suspenseful circumstances whereby Felicity’s true identity is revealed.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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