Well Cooked Hams (1993)

Posted by Mrs Giggles on February 4, 2018 in 2 Oogies, Idiot Box Reviews, Series: Tales from the Crypt

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Well Cooked Hams (1993)
Well Cooked Hams (1993)

Main cast: Martin Sheen (Kraygen), Billy Zane (Miles Federman), Maryam d’Abo (Greta Kreutzel), Candi Brough (Cassandra), Randi Brough (Rachel), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Elliot Silverstein

Well Cooked Hams is not an episode as much as it is a competition between Martin Sheen and Billy Zane to see whom the bigger ham is. One can argue that “ham” is the perfect summation of Mr Zane’s entire career, while Mr Sheen has a more respectable CV, so it is actually impressive that Mr Sheen holds his own very well here. It is only him playing his multiple roles here with the exact same mannerism that severely weaken this episode and make this a bigger joke than it is.

Miles Federman is a terrible magician. We are talking about a guy who constantly fumbles, trips, and causes all kinds of mishaps on stage before a stunned, silent audience. In Miles’s eyes, though, every failure is due to other people. When the episode opens, he fires his assistant Greta (she walked off after he accidentally set her hair on fire – how unprofessional!), and she spots him wearing a medallion that belongs to his mentor, Zorbin the Magnificent who has gone MIA. She refuses to buy that Zorbin gave the medallion to Miles, and he practically dares her to prove it when she accuses him of murdering the missing magician. After she leaves Miles, she is approached by a mysterious person who speaks in the same bad German accent that belongs to…

… Kraygen, a magician from abroad who, after witnessing Miles’s disastrous show, invites that bumbling idiot to watch his own show. Miles can only watch as that magician wows the crowd with his scene-stealing trick, the Box of Death, which has Kraygen being put into a box, all chained up, only to defy death when knives are released to pierce the box. Naturally, Miles kills Kraygen for the secrets of the Box of Death and then adapts it as his own climactic performance.

So Miles has finally found success. Ah, but Kraygen – who is obviously Zorbin the Magnificent to all but the most oblivious of viewers – has planned Miles’s success as just the first step in his quest for vengeance. What will happen next?

Well, it’s pretty obvious what will happen to Miles eventually. As I’ve mentioned, this episode doesn’t even bother to hide its twists. Martin Sheen plays his multiple roles by speaking in the same exaggerated manner, and the make-up people don’t even try to make sure that his various characters look even a little less Martin Sheen-y. The rest of the cast is inconsequential, except for Maryam d’Abo putting on one of the most weirdly exaggerated accent that comes and goes without rhyme and reason.

So yes, this is actually a pretty forgettable episode, but it is still an enjoyable kind of ham thanks to the the lead actors. The people behind this episode certainly know whom to cast to make up for its shortcomings!

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