If you have been reading my columns on The Witching Hour for a while you may have picked up on my love for b-movie horror. I just love the scrappy spirit of getting a movie produced and distributed – budget be damned! While I fully admit that some of these productions are terrible, in many cases I find that the flaws can be quite endearing. It should come as no surprise then that I adore the old Tales From the Crypt series and that is why we are going to look at one of the show’s earlier episodes tonight – Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone.
One of the more fascinating aspects about this series is the sheer number of big names that have worked on episodes – both in front of an behind the camera. For example, Dig This Cat… He’s Real Gone was directed by Richard Donner. Yes, THAT Richard Donner who is behind notable films such as Superman and Richard Donner. It doesn’t end there. Joe Pantoliano (Bad Boys, The Sopranos) stars in this episode as Ulric – a performer with an unusual talent for rising from the dead.
We first meet Ulric as he is being buried alive for 24 hours. He lights a candle and breaks the fourth wall as he shares the tale of how he – a derelict living on the streets – was approached by a doctor who claimed to have found the secret of immortality. This doctor has found the gland in a feline’s body that grants a cat its 9 lives. The doctor proposes transplanting the gland into a human and this person will theoretically have those 9 lives that all cats are said to enjoy.
The operation is a success and what would a man who is capable of cheating death do with his new power? Make money, of course! Ulrich joins a carnival and puts on a show where he is killed by various means and is later resurrected. However, he may not have thought this daring enterprise through…
These episodes are short so I do not want to get into a detailed analysis of the plot here. If you enjoy campy horror then you owe it to yourself to check out Tales From the Crypt and Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone is as good a starting point as any.