Main cast: Emma Samms (Yvonne), Kerry Fox (Dolores), Julie Cox (Marlys), Michael Denison (Richard Wilder), Dulcie Gray (Mrs Wilder), Peter Waddington (Basil), Molly Weir (Grandma Oakfist), Roger Brierley (William Curd), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Freddie Francis
Last Respects doesn’t even bother to hide its homage to WW Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw. In fact, the opening side is a modification of the final scene of that story: the couple, Richard and Mrs Wilder, used the second wish of the monkey’s paw to summon back their dead son, but instead of Richard using the last wish to wish the rotting corpse of the boy away, somehow the couple managed to dispose of the body instead with the help of their dogs. Richard now wants to get rid of the paw, but his wife insists on using the last wish – they always do. She wishes that the paw will go to someone who deserves the paw… thus freeing them of the paw’s curse. Richard points out that, for the paw to belong to someone else, they will have to… oops, there go their dogs, jumping on them for the grand finale.
Now, we go to the real meat of the story: we have three sisters. Marlys, the youngest sister, is technically the owner of their father’s magic oddity shop The House of Curios, but it is co-run by her and the two older sisters Dolores and Yvonne. The shop isn’t doing well, and Yvonne wants to “diversify” by selling things that will appeal to the new age/Goth crowd. Dolores balks at this, however, as their father was an authentic purveyor of the dark arts and she refuses to soil that man’s name by doing such things. The two sisters may be at one another’s throat, but they are united in their mutual resentment at how Marlys is the one who owns everything left behind by their father.
The three sisters have a brief truce when they stumble upon the monkey’s paw. They all recognize it, but while Yvonne is hesitant, Dolores eagerly wishes for a million pounds. The phone soon rings, and oh boy, things soon spiral out of control for the three ladies.
Like Fatal Caper, this one isn’t a horror story as much as a macabre comedy, only this one involves some annoying, screechy women instead of amoral, despicable men. But I am entertained, thanks to Emma Samm’s adorably bitchy portrayal of a fed-up eldest sister who’s had it with caring for a intellectually deficient husband and his senile mother. Lines like “You are as boring as Buckingham Palace!” and more roll off her tongue in an oh-so-adorable way. She’s right in many ways, though – her sisters’ determination to sink money into the white elephant that is their father’s store is the only thing that is keeping them in the red.
My only objection to this episode is how, in the end, the hypocritical, air-headed twat that started the whole nonsense also ends up getting away unscathed, when she’s the one I’d most want to smother to death with a pillow.
At any rate, this is probably a dull Tales from the Crypt episode, but given that I am entertained, it is good enough especially when the whiff of the wretched sixth season is still in my nostrils.