People Who Live in Brass Hearses (1993)

Posted by Mrs Giggles on January 25, 2018 in 3 Oogies, Idiot Box Reviews, Series: Tales from the Crypt

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People Who Live in Brass Hearses (1993)
People Who Live in Brass Hearses (1993)

Main cast: Bill Paxton (Billy DeLuca), Lainie Kazan (Mrs Grafungar), Brad Dourif (Virgil), Michael Lerner (Mr Byrd), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Russell Mulcahy

Oh, Bill Paxton now shows up in a Tales from the Crypt episode too, alongside Brad Dourif and Lainie Kazan. It’s a shame that these who’s-who sorts show up only now, when the quality of the third season is so much better what the current season is shaping up to be. Still, we are only the fifth episode into the season, and who knows, maybe it will be winner after winner from hereon. Yeah, and maybe I will win the lottery too. Let’s just keep hoping, but let’s not hold our breath in the process.

People Who Live in Brass Hearses may be a lovely play of words, but its theme has nothing to do with throwing stones while living in glass houses. Then again, maybe “brass hearse” is a reference to Mr Byrd’s ice cream van? Anyway, let’s not think too much – remember what series this show belongs to, shut off the brain, and try to have fun.

Ex-con Billy DeLuca has a grudge against the neighborhood ice cream man Mr Byrd, because that other man snitched and caused him to be sent to prison over stealing from Billy’s employer and selling inventory on the side. Now that he is out, he plots to rob that man, roping his dim-witted brother Virgil in to help. The problem here is that Virgil is most dangerous kid of idiot: he may be an imbecile, but he has a sadistic, murderous streak that causes him to completely loses track of the plan once his bloodlust takes over. Predictably enough, poor Billy finds his brother completely screwing up one step of his plot after another, causing him to improvise and scramble until they both run out of options.

I have to give Billy some credit: he may be an amoral scumbag, but he remains loyal to Virgil to the end even as that psychopath imbecile drags the man down with him. Nonetheless, this is one episode with all kinds of anguish that could have been avoided if he’d kept Virgil at home. I mean, sure, that imbecile may burn down the house or skin a few neighbors in Billy’s absence, but at least the plan may work and they’d end up with plenty of cash at the end of the day. Instead… yikes.

Still, the cast looks like they have fun chewing scenery and acting as over the top as possible. I have to admit: there is a charming, campy kind of manic madcap vibe to the whole episode, and the kills are cheerfully gruesome and disgusting. Most memorable is Lainie Kazan’s Mrs Grafungar, who is in the episode solely to get murdered the hell out of every inch of her body by the dumb but dangerous Virgil. This episode is democratic is screwing the crap out of everyone: even the victim, Mr Byrd is not going to ride off into the sunset. Everyone is just fucked by the end of this episode, and it’s just so peachy like that.

All things considered, I’m tempted to give this episode a higher score. But still, there’s no denying that this is an episode that is fuelled completely by stupidity, and I just have to deduct one oogie as a result.

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