Forever Ambergris (1993)

Posted by Mrs Giggles on January 21, 2018 in 4 Oogies, Idiot Box Reviews, Series: Tales from the Crypt

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Forever Ambergris (1993)
Forever Ambergris (1993)

Main cast: Roger Daltrey (Dalton), Steve Buscemi (Isaac Forte), Paul Dooley (Randolph), Marshall Bell (Rock), Tim Ahern (Uncle Salty), Titus Welliver (Salucci), Luis Ramos (Pirate), Kevin Benton (Little Wing), Lysette Anthony (Bobbi), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Gary Fleder

Yes, that’s Steve Buscemi in a Tales from the Crypt episode. Mind you, if you follow his activities, you will realize that Mr Buscemi really does have a thing for vampires and spooks despite his mostly stellar and critically acclaimed acting CV. This episode also finally brings onboard the always gorgeous horror genre staple Lysette Anthony to add a touch of British class to the gratuitous nudity in this episode.

Forever Ambergris doesn’t have any ambergris, but it has 45-year old combat photographer Dalton, whose photographs no longer have that edge that made him so in demand ages ago. In fact, his boss Randolph compares his latest submissions to the works of Randolph’s nephew – an amateur. Meanwhile, Dalton has befriended Isaac Forte, a younger photographer who idolizes him. The thing is, Ike’s very good at what he does, and he does it so well that he begins to eclipse Dalton. Rubbing salt on the wounds on Dalton’s ego is the fact that Ike’s girlfriend Bobbi is gorgeous, seductive, and way above Ike’s grade. Worse, she’s also devotedly loyal to Ike, turning down Dalton’s advances. To be fair, though, the script lumbers poor Dalton with some of the worst come-on lines ever, so he’s never going to score with Bobbi or any sober woman.

Ike is no saint, though – he doesn’t hesitate to try to pinch plum assignments from Dalton, so when both men go down to South America to photograph scenes of devastation caused by biological weapons and Ike tries to upstage Dalton, our fading superstar sees a plum opportunity to be rid of a rival and get a hot girl all at once. But will he get away with his plot? Stay tuned!

Let’s get this out of the way first: bad science is everywhere in this episode, and if you try to make sense of the nature of the deadly infection caused by this biological weapon, it will be like forcing a square peg into a triangular hole. The nature of transmission changes all the time – one person catches it by touch or proximity, but others that come in contact with him physically as well as with his blood don’t catch it. It’s not that these people are immune – one of them later catches it by ingested contaminated intoxicants. Also, it takes awhile for the effects to take place in one person, while in another person, the effects come up right away. The biology is ridiculous here, but to be fair, Tales from the Crypt has a history of sacrificing logic and science for entertainment value.

And my god, this one entertains. The infection causes a flesh-wasting effect that gruesomely causes the skin to melt and body parts to fall off, and given the budget of each episode, the end result is an impressive show of ghoulish gore and carnage. I love every second of this.

The cast camps it up without being too cartoony in the process, and Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, is so much fun to watch as a sleazy bastard with no scruples. Add in plenty of sex appeal courtesy of Ms Anthony and Forever Ambergris is a fabulously low-brow, trashy, and delightful roller coaster ride from start to finish.

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