Director: Christopher Hart
Writer: Ed Tapia
Cast: Robert Lindsay, Gretchen Palmer, Richard Johnson, Phil Davis, David Gant, and John Kassir
Composer: Jay Ferguson
Air Date: 7/12/1996
Afflicted with hearing loss, safecracker Glynn Fennell (Robert Lindsay) becomes entangled in the cat-and-mouse games of mobster Malcolm Lawson (Richard Johnson) and his wife Kate (Gretchen Palmer). At the expense of Kate, Glynn benefits from an experimental upgrade on his auditory senses—with an unexpected side effect.
Combining mad scientist tropes with a gangster theme, “Ear Today… Gone Tomorrow” operates on an intriguing sci-fi/horror premise. Nevertheless, this episode deserves criticism for its underwhelming crime sequences, one-dimensional characters, and bizarre changes to the original story.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
For its gory and disturbing execution, the final twist—though quite ridiculous—may appeal to fans of Tales from the Crypt. (That being said, the ending of the source comic, “Bats in My Belfry,” offers a more ominous take on the same concept, with the protagonist turning into a vampire after receiving the auditory system of a bat—not a giant owl as in the live-action version.)
Lacking the horror and suspense factor of a typical Tales from the Crypt entry, “Ear Today… Gone Tomorrow” will likely fail to captivate the majority of series enthusiasts. Especially problematic is the hackneyed writing for this episode, removing all ambiguity from the motives of each character.
After being double-crossed and murdered by Glynn, Kate rises from the dead as a side-effect of her surgery (i.e. attaining the nine lives of a cat)—an inferior and predictable twist on the premise for season one’s “Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone.”
“Ear Today… Gone Tomorrow” is an embarrassing, poorly written episode of Tales from the Crypt. Horror buffs may, however, enjoy this entry for its bloody and surreal climax.
Overall Quality: 3/10
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