Main cast: Tim Roth (Jack Craig), Roya Megnot (Sharon), Debra Mooney (Ellen), William Atherton (Malcom Mayflower), Nancy Fish (The Landlady), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: John Harrison
Bummer, the last few episodes in this series had been so enjoyable in their own ways that it is like my heart has turned into lead and fallen down to the ground with disappointment when Easel Kill Ya comes around. Yes, it has Tim Roth in it – back in 1991, he was only playing bit parts here and there, hence this part – and the title is a pretty clever word play. Jack Craig, Mr Roth’s role, is an artist you see, and there are deaths in this episode, hence the title.
Jack Craig, our artist, banks his hopes and financial future on a series of artworks he has done in anticipation of having his own show set up by his patron Ellen. Unfortunately, Ellen doesn’t see any point in Jack’s “ironic” works and suggests that he goes back to drinking in order to get his muse back. He fantasizes about killing her, but then again, he is still struggling with his alcoholism and anger issues, not to mention that Ellen is really annoying. On the bright side, he begins a relationship with the sweet Sharon from his AA sessions.
It begins innocently enough – when he accidentally causes the death of an obnoxious asshole who refuses to turn the music down. He takes some snapshots of the body at the scene of crime, makes a painting out of it, and finds a willing buyer in Malcom Mayflower, who collects artworks of the macabre and gruesome kind. Malcom will pay handsomely for more, and Jack soon finds a new calling in killing people and painting the aftermath.
Of course, Jack will soon be torn between being a good guy like Sharon believes him to be or indulging in his more bestial tendencies. But the choice will be taken away from him soon enough, with tragic consequences.
Well, this is definitely Tales from the Crypt back in the adult groove, as there is a love scene that shows far more than what one would expect in a TV show. The murder scenes can also be pretty graphic, as Jack’s dedicated devotion to his art sees him doing things like approaching his dying victims to capture a shot of the face in death throes and what not. Unfortunately, what could have been a decent crime-oriented episode is absolutely ruined by the stupid “twist”.
So Sharon needs the skills of a talented – and expensive – neurosurgeon to survive an accident, and Jack decides to get the money the way he knows how… by murdering someone in the hospital parking lot. Gee, I wonder whom he must have killed! Could it be… the same neurosurgeon that could have saved Sharon? I AM SHOCKED, snort.
That, and Tim Roth looks stoned the whole time. He was probably thinking that his career was over and he would have to go back to dead end jobs while he was filming the episode.
Still, there is a pretty inventive premise here, and the whole thing isn’t so bad. It just happens to have the misfortune of following some very strong episodes, so Easel Kill Ya comes off even more lacking as a result.