Main cast: Adam Storke (Ray Wells), Clare Hoak (Josie), Jake Busey (Frank), Rance Howard (Des), Bette Ford (Mrs Peterson), Michele Landry (Emma), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Ray Wells believes that the best thing his hated father Des could have done is to die. Well, even that is being denied to him when Des summons him to his side only for the dying man to tell Ray that the property Ray stands to inherit is being willed off to charity instead. The property is a piece of land, upon which was once a house that was burned down due to some tragic accident ages ago. No matter, Ray wants that land, and given that the will is not officially made up yet, it’s a simple matter of cutting off the dying man’s oxygen supply. Daddy dead, land his… profit!
Well, except that when he goes off to look at his new property, he is told that mysterious lights can be seen every night at the supposedly abandoned property. Enraged, he storms that place, despite warning from the local crazy lady to stay away, only to find some teenagers throwing a party there. Okay, we are talking about some of the oldest-looking teenagers in town, maybe because the people behind Surprise Party must have just gone to the local watering hole and poached some locals to be the extras in this episode. Of course, nothing is what it seems, and poor Ray will soon find that this is a party to die for.
This is a terrible episode, make no mistake. Usually, even the worst episode in this series tends to have great set and cinematography, but this one looks as awful as it is. From the “teenagers” that look like in their late twenties to thirties to some of the most atrocious attempts at “hip teenager speak” ever, this one delivers more cringe than thrills. Furthermore, there is plenty of bad acting to go around, from Clare Hoak’s and Jake Busey’s bizarre overacting to Adam Storke’s “Get me out of here!” deer-facing-headlights expression. And let’s not even start with the “twist” – there is no reason that Ray can’t escape these bozos, because they are so slow that Ray could very well write up his own will while waiting for them to catch up with him. The fact that he ends up where he is is due to bad script writing and nothing else.
Still, this one isn’t a total loss because all the cringe combined eventually turns into some kind of campy comedy. I crack up when they show me this can with a huge “KEROSENE” on it just in case I can’t figure out what kind of flammable liquid it contains. Given that Tales from the Crypt specializes in campy humor, I end up being confused. Am I enjoying all the atrocities in this episode because the show has intended all along for me to do so, or is this some kind of happy accident? Still, this episode isn’t good enough to spend much time figuring this out. It’s just another below average episode in a below average season.