Do you feel that in the air? It’s getting close! We’re in the thick of the greatest season, and Halloween is almost upon us. Gravediggers and undertakers, I’m giddy with excitement, and with that we have another Rising from the Crypt. In this episode, we’ve got a mentally unhinged married farmer couple with an unwilling helper who dreams of being free. Her dreams, though, may prove that she was crazier than the crazies she’s forced to live with.
Tales from the Crypt
Season 2 Episode 9 “Four-sided Triangle”
Directed by Tom Holland
Starring Patricia Arquette, Chelcie Ross, and Susan Blommaert
Originally aired: May 29th 1990
Sourced from: Shock SuspenStories #17
Patricia Arquette stars as Mary Jo, an unwitting farmhand for George and Luisa Yates, elderly married farmers played by Chelcie Ross and Susan Blommaert. Arquette is clearly the most famous of the three, but both other actors are well known in their own rights, and it was time for me to finally learn their names.
The episode begins with Mary Jo being admonished by Luisa for not getting her morning eggs early enough. Mary Jo rushes to the chicken coop and begins collecting eggs, bra-less in a white t-shirt. George ogles her through a hole in the wall, until his moaning draws her attention, and she covers up, rushing back out of the coop and past him. George, a witless man scared of his wife, tries to feel better about himself by yelling at Mary Jo to milk the cow.
As she does so, he tries to force himself on her, but when she refuses he begins to beat her until Luisa overhears the commotion. Luisa is a hard woman, disgusting in all ways, she rightly instills the fear George and Mary Jo have for her. Halting his advances in time to avoid any suspicion from his wife, George claims he beat her because she spilled some milk. Luisa buys this, none the wiser of George’s advances. Or so he thinks.
Later that night, Mary Jo claims that she has a date with her man. George and Luisa know there is no one else around for eight miles, and don’t take her seriously. At midnight, George wakes up to see Mary Jo sauntering off in the night, and he follows.
Deep within the corn field, George watches the tryst between Mary Jo and her lover as she pleads for him to make love to her. George watches as she tries all this with her man, the scarecrow in a clown mask in the field.
He returns to bed, telling Luisa that he thought he heard a critter out by the chickens, afraid what she might think if she knew he followed Mary Jo.
The following day, as George watches Mary Jo go about her chores, Luisa reminds him that if she ever caught him cheating on her, she’d kill. Everything we’ve seen so far, suggests she’s being literal. Mary Jo claims she has another date with her man tonight at midnight, and that he’s going to make love with her, finally. George and Luisa laugh at her and her increasing delusions.
At night, George has a fantasy of sleeping with Mary Jo, that turns into a nightmare of sleeping with his wife, Luisa. Waking up at a quarter to midnight, George decides to observe the date again.
Mary Jo arrives to her date, and immediately begins trying to seduce the scarecrow. To her surprise and great pleasure her man responds. They embrace and kiss, and Mary Jo is ready to consummate when Luisa intervenes thinking George is involved. The scarecrow stops moving, refusing to allow Luisa to see him.
Luisa sees the scene and begins laughing at Mary Jo, deriding her for her delusional fantasy. When Mary Jo refuses to back down, Luisa proves her point by stabbing the scarecrow repeatedly in the chest with a pitchfork. To the horror of both women, the scarecrow falls to the ground dead, and the clown mask slips off, revealing George beneath the facade.
As Luisa mourns the accidental murder of her husband, Mary Jo gets her revenge by similarly killing Luisa. Free from her captors, Mary Jo drops the “crazy” charade, taking the keys to the truck and escaping to her freedom.
On to the rating…
This is one of the episodes I remember fairly clearly from when it originally aired, not that it matters or influences my rating. While the story wasn’t the strongest, there was something about the execution and performances by all involved, that elevated what could have been another sub-par episode.
I’ve never been a fan of Patricia Arquette, nor found her particularly attractive, but she was a good fit in the role of Mary Jo. Chelice Ross, didn’t even know that was a name, played the same type of role he’s been seen in dozens of times. Susan Blommaert is a character actor that has been in countless movies/shows, and has earned a highly respectful career. All three came together as a nice cohesive cast.
Blommaert alone built the tension for a nice piece of horror that was a refreshing change from the more comedic episodes of the season lately. The final scene with the scarecrow, and his eventual death, was nicely played to full effect, and although it was mostly predictable, it felt like an earned twist to have Mary Jo play the husband against the wife perfectly to earn her freedom.
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