Lower Berth (1990)

Posted by Mrs Giggles on August 31, 2017 in 2 Oogies, Idiot Box Reviews, Series: Tales from the Crypt

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Lower Berth (1990)
Lower Berth (1990)

Main cast: Jeff Yagher (Enoch), Lewis Arquette (Ernest Feeley), Stefan Gierasch (Mr Sickles), Mark Rolston (Dr Zachary Cling) and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Kevin Yagher

Spoilers are present in this review. There’s no point using spoiler bars here, as it’d just mean a big portion of the review would be hidden and the rest of it becomes incomprehensible. So, please stop reading if you wish to remain unspoiled!

The Crypt Keeper’s opening montage makes it clear that Lower Berth is the story of the conception of a “special person”, so the reveal at the end is not exactly something that will take people by surprise. Indeed, the title of the episode is a play on the phrase “lower birth” – there is no ship or train in this episode, in case you are wondering.

Enoch is a young lad who has a malformed second face growing from the right side of his head. Called the Two-Faced Man, he is a sideshow attraction belonging to the vicious, abusive Mr Sickles. That man loves to simply take the whip to Enoch whenever the mood hits him, and his mood is worsened by the knowledge that Enoch’s genetic deformities are catching up with that poor sod – Enoch is dying. Not that Mr Sickles has any paternal feelings for Enoch: he’s furious because he’d be without a source of income. Fortunately, the gambler Dr Zachary Cling offers Mr Sickles a mummy, which becomes a hot circus attraction alongside Enoch.

Poor Enoch soon falls in love with the mummy, but even if we overlook the fact that she’s technically dead, he’s dying and he spends most of the time locked up in his cage. What kind of happy ending can there be?

I’d expect an episode dedicated to showing people how The Crypt Keeper came to be would be a little more… bigger, for the want of a better word. Instead, this is a low-key, even forgettable entry into the series. It is as if the folks realized that they still had the props left over from Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone and realized that they needed to use it a few more times to get their investment back, hence this episode being cobbled together at the very last minute.

Enoch isn’t the main character here – the entire episode happens mostly because of Mr Sickles’s actions. To be fair, Enoch is in a cage most of the time, so he’s in no position to be a proactive character, but his role is incidental here. Mr Sickles’s greed and cruelty catalyze the entire chain of events leading to the denouement. Even then, the whole thing is all over the place. It’s not quite horror, not quite comedy; just bits and pieces of vaguely forgettable plot threads tossed randomly into a pot, so to speak. At the end of the day, we finally realize that the Crypt Keeper’s parents are Enoch and a mummy (let’s not even wonder how a mummy still has her childbearing bits intact and working). How nice, but it isn’t that interesting a story.

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