Father’s Day is upon us once again where we celebrate the initial life-sparker of our little existences. And throughout the genre when it comes to horror films, evil paternal units are an abundant source for the center of storytelling. From Jack Torrance to Jerry Blake, the visual of a father gone insane is something we’ve seen time and again in the past few decades of the horror movie. And somehow, it just never gets old.
We all remember films like The Stepfather and Creepshow honoring thy father in the most twisted ways imaginable. However, as cringing as the psychological terror that fuels such movies, HBO’s Tales From the Crypt gave us the most fucked up primetime spectacle touching on the subject of fatherhood I had ever seen on the small screen. Albeit the whole father bit was the surprise twist, in the end, that’s what makes it SOO messed up.
The second season of the largely popular late-night program hosted by the faithfully ghoulish Crypt Keeper gave us consistently amazing episodes one after another, and the tale of terror in question here “Three’s A Crowd”, was no exception to both awesomeness and cringe-worthy midnight viewings.
“Three’s a Crowd” revolves around husband and wife Richard and Della’s strained marriage and an effort to repair what was once a fairy tale romance. Richard is slowly spiraling into a life of alcoholism and depression due to money issues and the couple’s ongoing troubles with conceiving a child. In his convoluted mind, Richard has the nagging thought that his loving wife will leave him due to his low sperm count. So he pours the booze as a band-aid to his troubles and gives him an even shittier attitude on top of it. Richard’s negative outlook on life is beyond soul-sucking and quite frankly, it frustrates the hell out of me how Della didn’t just cave and tell her of her plans from the beginning. But of course, where’s the fun in that right?
Moving on, Richard and Della’s old successful friend Alan treats the pair to a lovely getaway to celebrate the pair’s anniversary. While Della is trying to make the most of it, Richard is flinging accusations that his old, and now rich friend Alan and his wife are having an affair. The suspicion is only ignited even further when Alan and Della sneak off together multiple times… alone. On top of a few lavish gifts from Alan to his wife, Richard’s jealousy goes from annoyed to enraged. And that’s when it starts to get ugly.
Richard corners Alan and ultimately kills in a drunken jealous fit and then sets his sight on his wife. Della discovers Alan’s body and attempts to flee in sheer terror. But Richard wants to play cat and mouse with his presumably unfaithful wife. He traps her in a room and strangles her with a piece of lingerie Richard assumes was bought for Alan. As a parting shot to his recently deceased beloved, he drags her over to the departed Alan’s cabin next door to “work on that baby again”.
And there it is. He opens the door to the supposed empty cabin with a dead wife in tow to a goddamn surprise party in his honor announcing that Richard was going to be a father. The whole trip was designed by Della and Alan to put a smile on the face of a man who was living life day to day slowly sinking further into a deep depression regarding his troubles and inability to care for his lady the way he thinks should be. I guess now that way is dead, however.
Seriously, that twist ending revealing that this already broken man who wanted nothing more than to have a happy family with this woman, actually killed his wife who was in fact with child, is fucking gut-wrenching. And teaches an obvious moral lesson of that age-old saying, think before you act. Or in much more modern terms, don’t be a dick. Be a dude.
And on that note, I want to wish every hard-working dad out there a very Happy Father’s Day. And a special shout out to my own Hub-beast for putting up with me and our monster children on a daily. Thanks for not ever pulling a Richard on me!