31 Days of Tales From the Crypt S:05 E:05

Hello again kiddos, Cryptkeeper Bubbawheat with another episode from myself as I continue on through my own slow, mini-journey through the fifth season of the show. This was another episode that I had never seen, yet it includes the likes of Bill Paxton and voice of Chucky Brad Dourif. Nothing like a little doll to bring out the Halloween spirit, or maybe some iScream to jam to. Butter this is more like Of Mice and Men and Murder. But then again, you know what they say about throwing glass if you’re People Who Live in Brass Hearses.

Episode Title: People Who Live in Brass Hearses
Original Airdate: 10-13-93


People Who Live in Brass Hearses

There are two things that seem to show up an unusual percentage of the time over the course of seven seasons and over 100 episodes. It may not seem like a large percentage, but I’ve noticed that Tales From the Crypt seems to have an unusual fascination with both puppets and conjoined twins, especially conjoined twins attached at the butt. My Brother’s Keeper, Lower Berth, Food for Thought, the Ventriloquist’s Dummy, and this episode all happen to have some sort of conjoined twin in it, and two of them have them attached at the waist. On top of that, two of those episodes have both a puppet and a conjoined twin in the same episode.

Anyway, this was actually my first experience watching this episode as far as I can remember and it does have a very Of Mice and Men vibe to it with Brad Dourif playing the Lenny role although he’s not a brutish gentle giant, but a much more diminutive simple minded man who is frequently beaten down by his prone-to-violence brother played by Bill Paxton. For some reason there’s also this odd penchant for Paxton to only eat butter and butter-named products. The episode revolves around his plan to get revenge on an ice cream truck driver who got him sent to prison for embezzling from his own ice cream truck business, or something like that. He’s also intending to steal from the ice cream distribution center as well for a big payday but things go south when his simpler brother ends up violently attacking the manager, but only after she was able to close the safe. And when they try to go after the driver’s stash, he again goes off the script and shoots the driver in the head with a shotgun.

Hearses 2

The twist as I’ve already alluded to is that the driver is actually a set of conjoined twins who are attached back to back at the waist, so when he would drive around in his ice cream truck, one half would be driving the truck and when they stop to sell the ice cream, they would pull down all the shades in the driver’s section and the brother would open the window of the selling window. He would also use a puppet voiced by the driver as a little show for the kids, even though I believe kids nowadays would just shout at him to stop goofing around and sell them some damn ice cream already. There’s also this weird subtext where Bill Paxton bullies the large, overweight, Black kid and tosses him a stick of butter, and at the end of the episode when the driver is still putting around in his truck with his brother still attached, dead and rotting in the back half, the fat kid shows up again just to make fun of the ice cream truck and pulls out his own stick of butter. Really an odd thing for the episode to focus on that I don’t quite understand.

What does work in this episode are the performances of Paxton and Dourif, they play off of each other very well that never feels like they’re playing off of Lenny and George. Paxton has a slight southern twang to his voice and has the right amount of setup to his fits of anger so that it feels disturbingly natural rather than being forced. Michael Lerner as the ice cream truck driver also plays the dual role rather well as he has a bit of a Wayne Knight vibe to him, but once you realize that he is playing two different roles, you are able to distinguish them much better.

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