Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: Colman deKay and Teller
Cast: D.B. Sweeney, Rachel Ticotin, R. Lee Ermey, and John Kassir
Composer: Jay Ferguson
Air Date: 12/14/1994
Hunted by an angry sheriff (R. Lee Ermey) and his posse, fugitive Clyde (D.B. Sweeney) seeks refuge in the mansion of Lilian Charbonnet (Rachel Ticotin)—an ostensibly old and senile woman. Unbeknownst to Clyde, however, Lilian’s home has a terrible curse attached to it.
For its haunting atmosphere and first-rate make-up effects, “Staired in Horror” deserves commendation from Tales from the Crypt enthusiasts. Also worth praising is the performance of R. Lee Ermey (known for Full Metal Jacket and the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), whose over-the-top shouting and aggressive manner accentuate the comedic undertones of this episode.
Despite her Puerto Rican ethnicity, actress Rachel Ticotin offers a convincing portrayal of a Southern belle/Confederate widow. While relaying her tales of hardship and adultery, for example, Ticotin’s character succeeds in conveying the pathos of a woman whose husband (described as a cruel, unforgiving man) had left home for many years to fight in the Civil War, leaving her no choice but to seek comfort in the arms of another—an aspect that adds credibility to the predicament of Lilian Charbonnet, who comes across as a sympathetic individual in spite of her disloyal behavior.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Searching for Clyde in the final scene, Lillian reverts to an infantile state after climbing the stairs of her cursed home—a twist ending that, though slightly unpredictable, is marred by a cringe-worthy execution.
Combining subtle humor with a dark supernatural theme, “Staired in Horror” may appeal to fans of the black comedy genre. Especially remarkable are the decrepit appearances of Clyde and Lillian, reinforcing the concept of a curse being placed upon them.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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