Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tales from the Crypt – Cold War – season 7 – review (TV episode)

Directors: Robin Bextor & Andrew Morahan

First aired: 1996

Contains spoilers

I don’t know if it was because it was set in London, but this episode of Tales from the Crypt, which aired on Zone Horror, reminded me somewhat of Urban Gothic. This was, however, much more darkly humorous in its quirkiness and that quirkiness introduced us to a couple of the most inept criminals the world has ever seen – or perhaps they were not inept, perhaps they just didn’t really care any more. I really am going to have to spoil all of this one.

A car travels the streets. Driving is Cutter (John Salthouse), in the passenger seat is Ford (Ewan McGregor) and in the back is Cammy (Jane Horrocks). They are looking for a bank, which Ford knows is in the Borough somewhere. Cammy has a shotgun. Cutter states that there is no bank. Ford tells Cutter to keep driving, the bank must be close but Cutter slams on the brakes and pulls a knife, holding it to Ford’s face. Ford is disturbed by the location of the knife, he doesn’t want it in his face but Cutter points out that the bank is now a launderette. Inept, or had it just been a while…

Ford wants to rob something and leaves Cutter in the car as he heads to a convenience store. Cammy tries to stop him entering but he is adamant. A man has to do, what a man has to do and for Ford that is rob somewhere. He points out that only the bad guys have guns and walks brazenly into the store. Bad guys do have guns and this store is already being held up by another set of bad guys. There are two behind the counter and one comes up behind Ford, his gun against his face. Again Ford seems concerned about his face but not his life.

Cammy has a shotgun and won’t put it down but Ford tells her that it has quite a wide spread and perhaps she would be better putting it down and using what is between her legs. In a mirror she notices Cutter coming into the store (his lighter has run out of gas). She hands over the shotgun, Cutter enters and is shot, Ford struggles with the robber as Cammy pulls a pistol from a thigh holster and starts firing. Ford is shot in the leg but he and Cammy get away.

At their flat Cammy is digging the bullet out and Ford is screeching and complaining. She’s digging into the wrong leg. Being shot hurts and, to prove his point, he shoots her, grazing her arm. She says she’s leaving but he says she’ll be back. Elsewhere, in a bar, Jimmy Picket (Colin Salmon) is wondering where all the good looking women are. Cammy approaches him, they kiss and she puts a song on the jukebox. They dance…

Ford can hear someone in the flat. Cammy leaves the bathroom followed by Jimmy, wearing Ford’s bathrobe. You can’t partner one of them, says Ford and Jimmy is offended by the racist comment. Ford isn’t being racist, however, as he is not referring to skin colour as Jimmy believes. He shoots Jimmy and reminds Cammy that they had agreed no more humans. After all they are zombies. Suddenly Jimmy is on them, he’s no human, he’s a vampire. They are blasphemers, eaters of that which vampires discard. He sees himself as their master. Cammy stabs him - at this point Ford is racist when he calls Jimmy Count Chocula - and Jimmy pulls the three of them through a window.

Ford and Cammy are in the bar. They didn’t know that vampires could turn into bats and fly away before hitting the floor. They weren’t so lucky. Cammy has bones stuck through her chest but Ford landed on his face and his face is a mess. Of course, being a zombie it won’t heal but Cammy is there to look after him.

This was quirky fun. All three principles are great actors – though I wasn’t too sure as to what was going on with McGregor’s accent which seemed to fluctuate between Scottish and American. The idea of a zombified Bonnie and Clyde was great and I enjoyed the way Ford was always concerned about the face – as he knew it wouldn’t heal. Obviously these were not your Romero zombies. They were flesh eaters – it is suggested dead flesh – but they were also sentient. The big difference between them and the blood drinking vampires was the power of transformation. Horrocks quirky style actually led to her portraying one of the sexiest zombies ever to grace the screen.

Regular readers will know that I want to see a well produced vampire vs zombie feature. This wasn’t it, more in terms that they weren’t the Romero style zombies than for any other reason. However it was better than some of the prime examples of films that have featured the two creatures so far. I enjoyed this little episode 6 out of 10. The imdb page is here.

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