Main cast: James Remar (Red Buckley), John Rhys-Davies (Duval), Vanity (Kathrine), Whoopi Goldberg (Peligre), Paul Anthony Weber (Charlie), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Somewhere in an island – probably in the West Indies, since this episode has witch doctors and what not – there is a priceless black pearl owned by the plantation owner Duval. This pearl is the objective of two thieves, Red and Charlie, in coming to this place. Red wants to be seen as smart, but he isn’t, as Charlie always reminds him in the most scornful manner possible every time. Enraged, he kills Charlie and decides to do it on his own. He has ideas too, after all!
Unfortunately, poor Red is as dumb as Charlie says. He approaches Duval, asking to be considered for the vacant position of groundskeeper of the man’s plantation, while claiming that he wants the job because he’s sick of the ocean. “We’re in the middle of the island,” Duval remarks in amusement. A lot of Red’s story doesn’t add up, but Duval and his mistress Kathrine seem to find him amusing enough to employ him. As Duval says, “What the heck!”
Kathrine and Duval, among others, both point out that Red’s red hair is considered a very rare sign of good luck, and indeed, our idiot’s luck may just hold this time around. He quickly falls into an affair with Kathrine, who agrees to help him steal the diamond for 50-50 split. Duval’s personal witch doctor, Peligre, seems to have taken a liking to him and is protecting him, although her way of doing so (leaving headless chicken in his bed and what not) is not to his liking. Despite the island being torn apart by a civil war, he may just get that pearl after all…
Some what you want about Tobe Hooper’s wildly inconsistent output, but the camp of Tales from the Crypt fits his style perfectly. Dead Wait is actually a pretty bad episode in many ways, but these faults actually end up improving on the episode even if by accident. For example, Whoopi Goldberg’s portrayal of Peligre is a bit too American for such a character (right down to the accent that doesn’t jive with the rest of the cast at all), but the character ends up being a refreshing kind of non-stereotypical witch doctor that is actually quite fun to watch. James Remar is never a good actor, but his clumsy portrayal of Red only ends up making Red seem more believable as a cocky but dim thug.
Interestingly, this episode doesn’t shy away from some brief nudity, thanks to Vanity, as well as some charming obscured nudity by James Remar (sexiest fupa ever?), and John Rhys-Davies manages to chew scenery and steal his scenes from James Remar. Then again, it’s quite easy to do this when one is acting alongside Mr Remar, heh. And there is a lovely, charming scene of gore that is just the right mix of implausible biology and over the top squick at the denouement too. And the more down-to-earth twist at the end is the perfect way to end the episode after that over the top grotesque denouement.
Dead Wait perfectly encapsulates the charms and awfulness of a B-grade horror schlockfest, and that for that, this one is just fabulous.