Happy New Years to all my little gravediggers and undertakers. The year may be new, but the second season of Rising form the Crypt continues. How fitting is it that in this time of weight loss resolutions that this episode was directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger? Yeah, you read that right.
Tales from the Crypt
Season 2 Episode 2 “The Switch”
Directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Starring William Hickey, Rick Rossovich, Kelly Preston
Originally aired: April 21st 1990
Sourced from: Tales from the Crypt #45
Much like season 1, this season of Tales from the Crypt began with a back-to-back-to-back triple header mini-marathon of new episodes. This was the second of those, and it just may suffer from middle child syndrome.
As seen from the above image of the cold open, the director makes a guest appearance as himself to kick things off. Oddly enough, the episode doesn’t actually have anything to do with the real world horrors of exercising. Instead, the tale follows the elderly, wealthy Carlton Webster, who is madly in love with the much younger Linda, who seems to reciprocate his feelings, but won’t act on them because of the age difference.
Linda, who doesn’t know of his wealth, turns down Carlton’s marriage proposal, breaking his heart. Carlton then decides to dedicate his considerable wealth to making him look younger, so he can have his love’s hand in marriage. Initially, Carlton goes to a plastic surgeon who suggests a face lift, but that isn’t enough. He finds a doctor that claims to have created a new procedure that will make him look younger, by swapping his face with that of a younger ‘handsome’ man, Hans. At the cost of ONE MILLINON DOLLARS (in my best Dr. Evil voice) the surgery is a success, but Linda still turns him down, because Carlton’s body is still “old and decrepit.” Spurred on by his love for Linda, Carlton has a second surgery replacing his torso with that also of Hans, whose face he now wears.
This surgery, now costing two million dollars, is also a success, and after spending most of a day with Linda at the beach, impressing her with his new upper body, all seems to finally be going well for Carlton. Unfortunately, when they decide to go swimming and Linda sees his “old scrawny” legs, she again balks at the idea of marrying him.
With no choice left but to fully commit to his transformation, Carlton goes back to the doctor, to have his legs replaced. At a million dollars a limb, Carlton spends the last three million dollars of his fortune to complete his complete body swap. (million dollars a limb, three million dollars… get it? Yea you do, my adorable perverts)
In spending the last of his fortune on the procedure, Carlton must regrettably let go of his servant and friend (think Alfred to Batman), but even more regrettable, he finds out too late the Linda is actually a gold-digger, and can’t love him in this new body, because he’s poor. Absolutely dejected, Carlton has lost everything, his friend, the woman he loved, and his fortune.
However, don’t cry for Linda, because she’s fallen in “love” with someone who’s recently come into a multi-million dollar fortune, Hans in Carlton’s body, with Fulton the butler at his side (a man’s got to work). I guess Carlton should have been stingy with his money when he had it, and he might still have Linda, Fulton, and his money.
On to the rating…
Honestly, I don’t know why I like this episode so much. The story wasn’t great, there wasn’t really much in the way of horror, and the twist was anticlimactic and obvious from a mile away, but there’s something about it. As odd as it may seem, I think it all boils down to William Hickey’s performance.
You may not know the name (shame on you) but you know the face from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or his voice from Nightmare before Christmas. And that’s where he shines in this episode, his voice. Even though wealthy, and seemingly well off, he sounds so fragile, and it reflects how delicate his relationship with Linda is. He sounds like he can break at any moment, and so goes his courting. Plus hearing his voice coming from Hans’ body was great, the voice work was stellar, and made for a fascinating juxtaposition.
The doctor, who I don’t believe was ever named, was delightfully over the top, in a way only a mad scientist can be. Especially the scene in which he’s talking to Carlton about needing Hans’ third limb. Linda, Hans, Fulton, and anyone else that appeared in the episode were adequate in their roles, but nothing that stands out as exceptional.
This was a fun, more light-hearted episode. Sure, I want my horror anthology series to have more horror in it, but the occasional break in that formula serves it well.
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