Welcome back to another day in our 31 Days of Tales From the Crypt, I’m your host Cryptkeeper Bubbawheat and on day 19 of our little trip through the back episodes it’s time to introduce yet another blogger to come in and tackle an episode. Today’s guest is Nick Spacek who heads up his own Rock Star Journalist where he tackles a lot of music and is currently in the middle of a horror movie marathon like most movie bloggers this month. The episode that he picked out is one of the more comedic episodes. Personally, I usually enjoyed the comedy in Tales From the Crypt, but was never too fond of the completely comedic episodes including this one, but the performances are still a highlight for My Brother’s Keeper.
There are, essentially, two kinds of Tales from the Crypt stories most common to the television show. First, there are the twisted revenge stories, heavy on the atmosphere and creep factor – think The Ventriloquist’s Dummy, Dead Right, Television Terror, etc. Then there are the ones that are actually pretty funny, such as The Reluctant Vampire or, especially, My Brother’s Keeper. As a kid, I was attracted to the creepy, disturbing episodes – the sheer gory depravity of Television Terror was one that really looped me in – but the ones I enjoyed most were the episodes that really leaned heavily into the humor.
My Brother’s Keeper isn’t really overly scary. There are some moments of tension in this episode, but for the most part, the interplay between the conjoined twins is what’s up for entertainment. One almost expects every case where the twins have someone bump into the part where they joined accompanied by a “sproing!” sound effect, but even given his rather goofy pedigree of cartoonish films, director Peter S. Seaman avoids going that far.
Appreciably, Timothy Stack plays the straight man in this episode, which is a nice change of pace from a guy best known for being a salacious goof in syndicated programming like Son of the Beach and Night Stand. Jonathan Stark getting the chance to really get loose and nasty plays nicely off his usually creepy roles in the likes of Fright Night.
And, really, Stark as Eddie just oozes sleaze. The oft-repeated line, “there’s a studded leather corset just itching to get out” is one of those things that just sticks with you, and that’s not even the nastiest thing he says or does. Stack as Frank is almost absurdly boring – it’s like The Patty Duke Show taken to extremes. The comedy between the straight-laced Frank and wild-man Eddie is pretty much played for laughs throughout the entirety of the episode, and it’s not really until about the last five minutes that things really go awry, and even the precursor to thank it a hilarious conjoined twin fight.
Those last five minutes, though – they get dark. Really dark. Eddie turns from sleazebag to murderer, and the casual way in which he admits to the murder of Frank’s girlfriend really shows him to be even more self-involved than one would’ve thought possible. However, it’s that depth to which he sinks that makes the predictable ending so satisfying. The fact that the twins would end up separated is pretty much telegraphed from the moment Frank signs his name to the papers granting the surgery that unjoins him from Eddie.
However, the absolute terror in Eddie’s voice as he screams “They’re gonna send me to the gas chamber!” is chilling. For all the giggles at the troubles between the twins, for all the jokes about drinking and dominatrices – this is still Tales from the Crypt, and these stories are meant to give you a fright at some point. It’s a long time coming in this particular episode, but given the wait – it’s that much more effective. For being an episode that’s so humor-based as to be verging on sitcom territory, it’s a nicely done finale.
My Rating: 4/5