Director: Kevin Yagher
Writers: Yale Udoff and Kevin Yagher
Cast: Donald O’Connor, Patricia Charbonneau, Zach Galligan, John Kassir, Lisle Wilson, and Tom Dugan
Composer: Jay Ferguson
Air Date: 9/2/1992
To prepare for a tribute show, aging puppeteer Joseph Renfield (Donald O’Connor) enlists the aid of a protégé named David (Zach Galligan). In the meantime, Joseph suspects that his young wife Ellen (Patricia Charbonneau) is having an affair.
“Strung Along” fails to complement its premise with a satisfactory amount of tongue-in-cheek humor. That being said, a gory and disturbing climax will certainly intrigue Tales from the Crypt fans.
Joseph’s dummy Koko exudes a subtly menacing vibe beneath his innocent, childlike appearance, thereby accentuating the impact of Kevin Yagher’s killer clown/puppet concept—an overused trope in horror fiction.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
By behaving in a sweet, unassuming manner toward Joseph, David and Ellen have the unintended effect of eliciting suspicion before revealing their motives in the final scene—a shortcoming that, when coupled with the jealous, elderly husband subplot, contributes to the generic nature of an already predictable story.
Also problematic is the insufferable pace at which “Strung Along” tends to progress, leaving little room for either character development or suspense building prior to the climactic sequence. While Joseph does, at times, evoke sympathy as a result of Donald O’Connor’s acting, neither David nor Ellen are sufficiently layered despite the inordinate amount of screen time dedicated to both individuals.
The second Tales from the Crypt entry to center upon a murderous puppet, “Strung Along” is in many ways inferior to season two’s similarly themed “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy.” Horror buffs may nevertheless enjoy this episode, which benefits from a gruesome twist ending.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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