Main cast: Mimi Rogers (Helen), Jennifer Rubin (Druscilla), Kathy Ireland (Joyce), Buck Henry (George), Robert Trebor (Archie), Anders Hove (Emilio), Michael Wiseman (Rudy), Maria Pecci (Sheila), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Beauty Rest has the misfortune of coming after the brilliant Top Billing of the previous season. While they aren’t exactly carbon copy of one another, there are enough similarities to warrant some perhaps unfair comparisons that make this episode come off as lacking. Both episodes have similar themes and structures – they are about an actor who believes that he or she is unfairly slighted from that one big break that will bring in success and fame, to the point this person will do anything to make sure that the next break will be his or hers. Helen here even kills her beauty pageant rival in the same way that Barry killed his, and both would have avoided their grisly fates in the end if they hadn’t committed homicide and instead let the dead sod win. Of course, given that this is Tales from the Crypt we are talking about, the break will do just that to the character – literally.
Helen is an aging actress who can no longer even land advertising gigs anymore. Despite being praised by casting people, she keeps losing out to younger actresses, so much so that she is convinced that these younger actresses must have slept their way into those roles that should have gone to her. Losing what should have been a done deal to her younger roommate Joyce is the latest straw that finally breaks her back. She completely loses it when she realizes that Joyce doesn’t even realize or care that she had that role – Joyce is more excited by the idea of being part of a rigged beauty pageant in which she would be the winner. The prize is being a spokesperson for some kind of company – Joyce neglected to ask.
Helen ends up accidentally killing Joyce. Okay, she just wants to slip some sleeping pills into Joyce’s tea to steal that woman’s invitation, but Joyce dies anyway. Oh well, it’s that tramp’s fault, for stealing her gigs away from her, so Helen decides that it’s only fair that she fakes a suicide note for Joyce, making sure that the dead girl comes off like a complete whore. Oh, and she’ll now take Joyce’s place in the beauty pageant. Winning will help boost her profile and hence her career, no? Well, imagine our poor dear’s dismay when the organizer George seems to favor another younger woman over her…
On its own, this episode is alright. Helen is completely despicable, and it’s pretty obvious that her attitude and insecurities are the things holding her back, rather than her age or appearance, therefore she gets her just desserts by the end of this episode. The twist is absurd, but entertaining in a macabre way. But with Top Billing still fresh in my mind, this episode comes off as lacking in terms of humor, camp, and fun factor. The whole episode just feels bitchy and less inventive compared to that other episode. Beauty Rest feels just like another episode where a bad person gets what is coming to her, but in a way that is far less interesting. The show people should have spaced these two episodes further apart, I tell you.