Director: William Malone
Writer: Dick Beebe
Cast: Peter Onorati, Sherrie Rose, Stephen Liska, Dianne DiLascio, and John Kassir
Composer: Nicholas Pike
Air Date: 10/31/1994
While attending a Halloween party, Carl (Peter Onorati)—an abusive, hot-tempered man with a violent history—becomes enamored of a masked, alluring woman by the name of Molly (Sherrie Rose). After enjoying a night of passion, Carl discovers a terrifying secret about Molly and her prior affairs with other men.
The first of two Tales from the Crypt contributions from William Malone (known to horror fans for directing the remake of House on Haunted Hill), “Only Skin Deep” is a spooky, well-made piece of experimental television. Especially worth noting is the twist revelation featured in the climactic scene, the shocking and gruesome nature of which will likely satisfy viewers with a compelling, albeit twisted, desire for justice.
“Only Skin Deep” deserves commendation for its creepy and surreal atmosphere, adding a hint of ominous ambiguity to the intentions of Molly—a character with implicitly malevolent and supernatural origins. Specifically, the bizarre camera angles employed by cinematographer Levie Isaacks accentuate the dim-lit surroundings of Molly’s place of residence, heightening the apprehension felt by Carl following his intimate encounter with the woman of his dreams.
Lacking the narrative substance of a typical Tales from the Crypt offering, “Only Skin Deep” (not to be confused with “Only Sin Deep” from season one) fails to maintain a swift and compelling pace from start to finish.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
In addition to its thinly written script, “Only Skin Deep” contains no explanation for why Molly (possibly a succubus or other demonic entity) goes out of her way to seduce, prey upon, and flay the bodies of insecure men—an aspect that may annoy those who enjoy horror mysteries that, even when leaving certain details to the imagination, provide the audience with an overall sense of closure.
“Only Skin Deep” should be praised for its camp-free tone, disturbing images, and eerie arrangement from composer Nicholas Pike. The lack of insight into the motives and personal history of Molly—a most unusual type of serial killer—may, however, evoke criticism from those who appreciate conflict resolution of a logical variety.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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