Main cast: Bruce Davison (Luden Sandelton), Cristi Conaway (Willa Sandleton), Darin Heames (Tom), Kelly Coffield (Talk Show Host), Ricky Dean Logan (Renaldo Escuarita), Rodman Flender (Brian), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Rodman Flender
Oh god. 99 & 44/100 Pure Horror is director Rodman Flender’s baby, as he wrote the script and gave himself a small role in it as well. But I wonder why no one ever told him that the episode is just rubbish and maybe it’s better to keep the script inside a drawer instead of humiliating himself like this.
This is an evil skank episode. Now, I never have any issue with this trope in a Tales from the Crypt episode, provided that it is done well, and Cristi Conaway is actually brilliant as the amoral cheating slut Willa Sandleton. It’s everything else that is a big problem.
Willa is an artist who specializes in gory art. She is married to Luden Sandelton, who owns a soap business, Derma Smooth, and she stays married to him because he gives her the job of designing the soap boxes and he’s loaded. Plus Lu is a pushover and she’s getting her jollies by cheating on him with the dim-witted Tom. Her bad day begins when she’s invited to a talk show, only to see the host fawning over the rising star in the art business – the graffiti artist Renaldo Escuarita – and discover that the only reason she is invited is so that the host can gloat over the fact that Derma Smooth is declining in popularity. When Willa points out that she’d like to reveal her latest artwork on the show, the host tells her not to be ridiculous – “no one” wants to see her “gory goop”.
And then, she learns from Lu that she is no longer on board to design the new line of soap. The board members will be asking… Renaldo Escuarita to do it instead, oh dear. Furious, she demands a divorce from Lu, saying that she’d take half his possessions if he doesn’t mind. Oh, he minds – he shows her photographs of her and Tom cavorting all over the place, and Lu being Lu, suggests that maybe they can go to marriage counseling together and start all over again. Truly furious now, Willa bashes him in the head repeatedly until he’s dead. Now, what will she do next?
The title of this episode is a play on the old Ivory soap tagline in its advertisement campaign back in the 1800s, which claimed that the soap was “99 and 44/100% pure”, and indeed, Lu’s selling point for Derma Smooth is that his soaps are all natural and free from animal acids. And this acid thing comes into play as part of Willa getting her comeuppance, in a truly ridiculous display of improbable and truly awful bad science even for this episode. I know Lu constantly takes antacids due to his tummy issues, but come on, there is no way the acid in his stomach is concentrated enough that, even when Willa uses his body to make several dozen bars of soap, there is still enough acid in one small bar of soap to completely melt the woman’s flesh off her bones a few minutes of using it. That’s just rubbish and I’d be happier if they had resorted to zombies or flying unicorns to make Willa get hers.
Terrible story, terrible acting… just terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible.