The House That Spilled Tears (1998)

Posted on October 26, 2020 in 2 Oogies, Idiot Box Reviews, Series: Ghost Stories

See all articles tagged as .

The House That Spilled Tears (1998)
The House That Spilled Tears (1998)

Main cast: Sally Harrison (Vera Markov), Armand Anthony (Yuri Petrovich), Carl Wallnau, Alex Levitt, and Rip Torn (Narrator)
Director: Stuart Taylor

Oh, Stuart Taylor’s directing again. What, did the other two directors drop out from exhaustion and hunger? Also, The House That Spilled Tears is yet another episode about a haunted residence. How many of this story had there been in the last handful of episodes alone? We’re almost reaching the end of this series, and I guess right about now they are really reaching into the depths of the bargain-priced scripts for sale bin for the remaining episodes in this series.

Russian immigrant Vera Markov arrived in America with only a few rubles and one of the worst attempts at Russian accents I have to endure throughout an episode of this wretched show. She makes libertarians, neocons, and neolibs proud by extorting rent from the poor and the downtrodden that are forced to live in the shocking state of disrepair and disregard in one of her many apartment blocks.

When this episode opens, her most infamous tenement called the Regency Arms had been found in violation of so many regulations that the judge insists that the place is upgraded to meet safety standards. To ensure that Vera complies with this, the judge also has her placed under house arrest at the Regency Arms itself. Oh the shocker.

Actually, the real shocker is how the building they used to film this episode in is actually so obviously in good condition, the best the folks of the show can do without getting sued are to paste some graffiti over the wall and strew some litter over perfectly nice flooring. Oh, don’t look too hard, people, or you may notice how spotlessly clean the walls are, and how the few furniture around the place actually look comfy and functional.

Anyway, I’m supposed to believe that this “slum” is haunted, and soon Vera is visited by Yuri Petrovich, a handsome man with clean-shaven, square jaw that tells her to leave the place quickly… uh, what’s wrong with this place again? Oh right, the hottie is clearly a ghost, because one minute he’s there, and then he’s not. Our plucky lady then decides to wander around the dark, perhaps hoping that none of the tenants here have been told that their landlady is living with them. So, there she goes.

The House That Spilled Tears is a standard haunted place story, with jump scares lurking at every corner as the disgruntled ghosts of this place want to give their landlady the middle finger. Mind you, this “slum” is the most spacious tenement I’ve seen, especially for a site of a supposed great fire, and I personally won’t mind staying there to be honest. Oh yes, the ghosts, Whatever. The ending is predictable, just like the entire episode, and the frankly the scariest thing about is the hilariously off-key accent of the lady playing Vera. A close second is the lifeless, uninspired recording of the “ghosts” groaning, played in a loop, as Vera runs through the building during the denouement.

Is this a bad episode? Not really, and I like how the script tries to give Vera some depths, in the sense that she is not always a one-dimensional evil landlord stereotype. The lady playing her is awful through and through, though, even without the atrocious accent, as she is completely expressionless throughout the whole episode. She can’t even emote fear in a halfway believable manner! The fellow playing Yuri is pretty wooden too, but since he is lucky enough to share his scenes with the terrible actress, he comes off looking like pure gold.

In other words, this is another potentially interesting episode completely ruined by the bargain bin casting choices made by the people behind this show.