Mute Witness to Murder (1990)

Posted by Mrs Giggles on September 1, 2017 in 4 Oogies, Idiot Box Reviews, Series: Tales from the Crypt

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Mute Witness to Murder (1990)
Mute Witness to Murder (1990)

Main cast: Richard Thomas (Dr Trask), Patricia Clarkson (Suzy), Reed Birney (Paul), Rose Weaver (Desk), Kristine Nielsen (Dolores), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Jim Simpson

We are back in more suspense-y territory with Mute Witness to Murder, which doesn’t have monsters or spooks – the monster here is a killer of the human variety.

On her wedding anniversary, Suzy happens to look out the window one evening and sees a couple at the opposite block arguing. And then, ouch, the man bludgeons and later strangles the woman to death. Traumatized, Suzy finds herself unable to speak and, hence, unable to share what she has seen with her husband Paul or anyone else. Concerned, Paul brings her to a shrink, Dr Trask… who happens to be the man she saw murdering that woman. Dr Trask also quickly deduces, from what Paul tells him, that she must have seen him murdering a woman – he quickly gets Paul to place her under his care in the sanitorium. Clearly he is up to no good – is poor Suzy going to meet a painful death without being able to even say, “Eeek!”?

This is another episode that is carried by the superb performance of the principal cast members, Richard Thomas and Patricia Clarkson. Ms Clarkson is excellent as the terrified yet determined woman trapped in a killer’s personal domain, and Mr Thomas is absolutely fascinating to watch as this psychopath shrink who is driven to murder because he just can’t stand the noise that comes with his marriage. Dr Trask speaks in a quaintly archaic way – he tells Suzy that he will not “defile” her, for example – which only adds to the whole otherworldly terror of his calm and sanguine homicidal impulses.

The ending feels a little anticlimactic, or perhaps it’s just that I am feeling sorry that someone as evil and entertaining as Dr Trask needs to get his comeuppance, heh. At any rate, this is easily one of the strongest episodes of the show to date.

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