Horror. Comics. Off-beat.

‘Tales from the Crypt’ nostalgia recap: “The Sacrifice”

Season 2 | Episode 7 | Originally Aired May 15, 1990
Directed by Richard Greenberg; written by Ross Thomas

The seal is broken—my Tales from the Crypt write-ups are officially back! We’re off to a good start, so let’s keep at it…

The Recap

As we open on this week’s tale, our dear host, the Crypt Keeper, is cooking up something with vile ingredients. A live goat almost makes the list, but sadly (thankfully) this goat is not a virgin which thus voids his inclusion.

And with that, our Keeper transitions into tonight’s story. One with a “different kind of sacrifice.” One made for love. So, you know it’s going to end well.

As the opening credits roll, we immediately know we’re in Los Angeles. It’s all busy streets, beaches, and a hazy cityscape.

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Our assumed protagonist, James (Kevin Kilner of Home Alone 3 fame) rolls up to a hi-rise apartment building. He joins a lovely young lady (Kim Delaney, NYPD Blue) in the elevator and they share some brief flirtations.

The two part ways and James meets with his new client, Sebastian Fielding (Don Hood), in his swanky apartment. Sebastian is extremely relaxed, worth a fortune, and swears like a sailor. You know, he seems alright, if not a little misplaced in his super-fancy digs.

James is Sebastian’s new insurance guy and the two start negotiating a new plan for a life policy. After some back and forth business talk, they settle on terms.

All is good and Sebastian’s life appears perfect. He’s got talking parrots, a killer balcony with a view, and a lovely wife, Gloria – aka the flirty girl in the elevator.

When Gloria arrives, more chitchat ensues—including such topics as James’ residential whereabouts. He lives in L.A. on a boat called The Why Not.

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As expected, a few days later, Mrs. Fielding heads out to the marina to find James and his houseboat. In what feels like a skinematic moment, James lets Gloria into his place and the two, well… you know where this is going.

Sex. They have sex.

In post-coital planning, James and Gloria have the talk. You know, the one where he says her husband is going to live to be 100 unless there is an accident. It’s quick and to the point, but in the end, everyone seems on board with the murder-for-money proposal.

After finalizing Sebastian’s new insurance plans, James visits his client for a little celebration party. Gloria watches from the sidelines as the men toast champagne before enjoying the city view out on the foreboding hi-rise terrace.

The big bad plot comes to a climax when James hoists Sebastian over the balcony, dropping him to his death. Gloria joins her (new) man and says “Now, I call the cops and try to sound just a little hysterical.”

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After the cops show up and question Mrs. Fielding, we learn that Sebastian never officially signed the paperwork for his brand spanking new insurance policy, but … that was actually the plan!

See, that policy would have given James and Gloria motive, so they worked around it. Now they simply wait and play it cool before diving into their own relationship arena.

But just as their celebration sex commences, the doorbell rings. It’s Jasper (Michael Ironside, prolific movie bad guy), James’ co-worker and the dude that recommended him to Sebastian in the first place.

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There’s a bit of murky confusion as to how/why Jasper knows about Sebastian’s super-fresh death. And when Gloria enters the room, all hell breaks loose.

It seems Jasper and our newfound widow used to be buds—he’s even the one who introduced her to Sebastian. But shit happens and Jasper also became super-stalkery with Gloria. So, now they’re ex-buds.

As discussed, Jasper’s unanswered obsession grew to where he even bought a place across the street from the Fieldings. Did you get that? Oh, and he purchased a long-lens camera. Know where this is going? He even used that camera on this very night and got a couple important shots of one adulterous-turned-murderous couple. There it is.

All is fair in love and extortion—amirite? Well, at least that’s what cynical TV has taught me.

So, what’s the price, Jasper? Oh, this isn’t about money. It’s about Gloria—and Jasper wants to share her. (Gross beyond gross.)

You see, Jasper wants “Gloria time” from dusk ‘til dawn—and, no, they’re not vampires. After moments of disgust, hesitation, and threats, an agreement is made and Gloria is the reluctant bargaining chip.  And the deal begins tonight.

So, time passes and “things” are underway. James becomes a heavy drinker, spending his empty nights inside his head thinking about what Gloria and Jasper might be doing.

One night, after months of emotional stress—and physical abuse for Gloria—it all reaches its breaking point when Jasper forces Gloria to hire people to watch them (have sex). That’s it for James. Something must be done about this arrangement.

Later, after another night of presumed torture, Gloria returns to an empty penthouse apartment. Looking for James, she heads over to his former place, the houseboat.

Inside, she finds James—overdosing on 48 pills. Before he’s gone, James selflessly passes her a super-important letter. It’s his “confession” for killing Sebastian. And with this, he releases Gloria from her debt to Jasper. See folks, chivalry isn’t dead … well, yeah it is.

But the tidy little tale isn’t quite over. Gloria proceeds to burn James’ confession while muttering, “Thank you, my poor dumb darling.”

Twist!

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Gloria leaves and joins Jasper, who’s patiently—and happily—waiting outside in his car. Their plan came to fruition and now no one will ever know Sebastian was murdered.

Well, except for Sebastian’s parrots. They still know.

Crypt Keeper Sign-off

“So, remember, if your lady’s evenings are all booked up, do what I do. Drop her!” (cuts the rope from which he hangs himself)

Final Thoughts

A totally passable episode that borders on cliché and super-gross (the “sharing”), and is finally saved by the double-twist ending. James killing himself is one thing, but having that be a part of the overall plan brings it to another, more sinister level. It’s like a condensed version of Wild Things where there’s plotting upon plotting upon plotting.

Also, it just solidifies the Tales from the Crypt way of thinking in that everyone is kind of shitty.

Fun fact: “The Sacrifice” was directed by Richard Greenberg, a title producer (Xanadu, Flash Gordon, Death Becomes Her), visual effects designer (Predator, Goodfellas, Last Action Hero) and director of … Little Monsters! The latter is my favorite tidbit.

Memorable Quotes

“What you’re looking at is the money, pussy, and bullshit capital of the western world.” – Sebastian

“Help me, Gloria!” – Parrot


To check out all of my Tales from the Crypt recaps, go here!

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Categorised in: Reviews, Tales from the Crypt, Television, Uncategorized

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