Main cast: Andrew McCarthy (Edward Foster), Mariel Hemingway (Miranda Singer), David Hemmings (Mr Stronham), Kathleen Freeman (Mrs Parker), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Tom Mankiewicz
Tom Mankiewicz is more known for his writing credits in films that can be on the campy side, so perhaps he is the right person to direct Loved to Death, the third season opener of Tales from the Crypt that is as campy as can be. It stars Andrew McCarthy, making the most out of his fifteen seconds of fame after Pretty in Pink and Mannequin, and Mariel Hemingway, who never fails to turn any role she has to play into a screechy, shrill OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE wretch.
In this one, Edward Foster is a aspiring scriptwriter trying to break into show business. His muse is Miranda Singer, the actress who lives in the apartment across from his. His current script, in fact, is basically a fantasy in which he and Miranda are happily married, a charming tableau in which she is always praising him for being awesome followed by a bout of hot sex. As you can guess, the script blows and his “love” for Miranda is more like the sexual fantasies of a frustrated dork.
He soon has the opportunity to talk to Miranda, only to, err, be overcome by passion and molest the poor dear until she nearly rips his head off. Furthermore, it’s soon apparent that she cares nothing for him, as he’s not someone who can advance her career or give her lots of money.
The frustrated Edward is an easy mark for his mysterious landlord, Mr Stronham, who offers him a love potion that will make Miranda become devoted to him for the rest of her life. He naturally accepts the “gift”, and she is soon passionately in love with him. Things quickly become awkward when he realizes that they have nothing in common. Worse, she refuses to leave him alone, following him everywhere and shrieking his name until he can’t stand it anymore. She also needs to be continuously sexually serviced by him, until the poor dear is cowering for terror. There is one way to break the love spell, if Edward dares to make the move…
Edward may seem like a hapless romantic at first, but it is soon apparent that he is no hero or underdog – he has no qualms using underhanded means to have Miranda, with or without her consent. As for the poor woman, just like it was in ‘Til Death, here we have a woman who is basically mind-raped and later disposed of, and we are supposed to accept that this is somewhat okay because she is an insensitive, rude, avaricious opportunist. Despite the dodgy premise, Mariel Hemingway is actually quite tolerable and even amusing here because her character is meant to be shrill and rude, and I actually laugh at how her character practically gives poor Edward (snort) a nervous breakdown by insisting on non-stop sex and even rewriting his script behind his back. Andrew McCarthy plays the complete opposite of his more famous roles: his character may seem like those roles, only to eventually show his true colors.
Loved to Death is nowhere close to being a good episode, and in many ways it’s an awful episode to kick start a season. But what the heck, it can be really hilarious at times, and I still don’t know whether to laugh or cringe each time Ms Hemingway shrieks, “Edw-aaa-aaa-rd!” while Mr McCarthy trembles in panicked haplessness. I have to hand it to the folks in this episode: when Miranda rips off her maid outfit and tells the terrified Edward throatily, “I am going to drain you dry!”, that truly is a terrifying scene worthy of any Tales from the Crypt episode.