Director: Bob Hoskins
Writers: Colman deKay, A L Katz, and Gilbert Adler
Cast: Natasha Richardson, Bob Hoskins, Greg Wise, Leslie Phillips, James Saxon, John Kassir, and Kimberly Cowell
Composer: Jay Ferguson
Air Date: 4/19/1996
Before dying of a heart condition, Mycroft Amberson (Leslie Phillips) adds the following stipulation to his will: in order to receive an inheritance, Justin and Evelyn Amberson (Greg Wise and James Saxon) must locate their long-lost brother within six months of Mycroft’s demise. Complications arise when attorney Fiona Havisham (Natasha Richardson), aware of a codicil in Mycroft’s will, conspires to murder Justin and share the money with Evelyn.
The first Tales from the Crypt episode to feature a London setting, “Fatal Caper” is marred by campy humor, unlikable protagonists, and a string of implausible events in the climactic scene. Horror fans may nevertheless wish to view this offering, which includes a spooky—albeit tongue-in-cheek—séance conducted by the main characters.
This inaugural season-seven entry benefits from the performance of Natasha Richardson (late wife of Liam Neeson)—the classy, elegant manner of whom provides a fitting contrast to the crude, uncultured personalities of brothers Justin and Evelyn Amberson.
“Fatal Caper” should be criticized for the antics of Justin and Evelyn, the crass, idiotic behavior of whom hardly results in a humorous outcome as intended—especially during the funeral sequence, wherein Justin, now hiding in his room instead of paying respects to his father, engages in a tasteless, cringe-worthy sex act with a French maid, going over-the-top even by Tales from the Crypt standards. (Justin does, however, make an amusing reference to The Day the Earth Stood Still during the aforementioned séance, reciting the words “Klaatu barada nikto” while attempting to summon his father.)
Similar to “The Assassin” from season six, “Fatal Caper” employs the Magic Plastic Surgery trope in conjunction with a gender-themed twist—an aspect that strengthens the unpredictability of an otherwise formulaic horror narrative.
“Fatal Caper” offers a mediocre introduction to the seventh and final season of this series. That being said, certain viewers may appreciate the surprise revelation near the end of this episode, lack of realism notwithstanding.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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