Main cast: Teri Garr (Irene Paloma), Bruno Kirby (Billy Paloma), Bruce McGill (Lou Paloma), Carroll Baker (Mother Paloma), James Tolkan (Sgt McClaine), Carlos Lacamara (Paolo), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Michael J Fox
The Trap is the third episode of the third season of Tales from the Crypt, and it is also the third episode to feature monsters that are of the very human kind. This one, in fact, goes all out for full shlock comedy. Nothing scary here, just haw-haw-haw as we see see a jerk gets his just desserts. Unfortunately, there is nothing really noteworthy about this episode other than it is directed by Michael J Fox in his first outing over the other side of the camera. He also has a cameo role here, because why not, eh?
Lou Paloma is an unpleasant asshole who beats his long suffering wife Irene around and cheats on her, and he as well as his mother also boss around Billy, the responsible younger brother of his that is, for some reason, treated as the unwanted son by their mother. Irene and Billy regularly exchange longing looks at one another, but neither does anything… until Lou, after losing his latest job and having no other sources to borrow money from, decides that he would fake his own death (Billy, a coroner, can help with making him look like a corpse and handle the cops) and claim his $500,000 insurance money. Then he and Irene would buy new passports, get plastic surgery, and flee to Rio de Janeiro to start anew.
Too bad no one tells Lou that it may not be a good idea to rope in two people who have good reasons to see him dead, in a plan where he’s supposed to be “dead”…
Now, my synopsis may give people reading this the impression that it is something that has found its way here from Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but it’s actually an outright camp fest without any genuine suspense. Much of the episode is comedic filler material, and Lou is too much of a Scooby-Doo character to be taken seriously, much less be seen as a loathsome creature. Bruce McGill gives his all, though, and I must admit that it is fun watching him, even if he makes Lou seem more like a blustering idiot of a gormball than an actual sleazebag asshole.
The twist can be seen coming way early, but the scenes in the last quarter or so of the episode would still be fun if they had spared a few more dollars to actually make Lou look less like his old self and more like someone who’s had his face changed considerably after plastic surgery. As it is, it’s hard to believe that nobody will recognize Lou Paloma as he looks exactly like when he “died”!
So yes, Michael J Fox directs this episode, Bruce McGill chews scenery like a pro… and that’s about it.