By Cory Robinson
In this episode of Amazing Stories directed by one of the great horror directors Joe Dante, centers around old married couple Nelson and Evelyn Chumsky (played by veteran actors Eddie Bracken and Evelyn Keyes) who are faced with a major problem. It seems that the tenants in their house, Richard and Barbara Tucker, are getting ready to move out with their family due to Richard (played by Bruce Davison who played Senator Kelly in the first X-men movie and played the title character in the movie Willard) finding a house closer to his work. What makes things worse are that the Chomskys aren’t fans of the new tenants, Sheena (played by Wendy Schaal who voices Francine Smith on American Dad) who is a porn star and her manager Tony (played by Robert Picardo best known for playing The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager) who is sleazy as sleazy can get.
Now normally since the Chumskys owned the house, it wouldn’t be a problem to not let Sheena and Tony live in their house but the main problem is that the Chumskys are dead and have been for a long time. After being married and living in the house for 30 years, Nelson Chumsky broke his neck on a bicycle dying instantly with Evelyn passing shortly due to a broken heart. Since then, Nelson and Evelyn Chumsky have been ghosts living the attic of their house while being acting somewhat as guardians to the Tuckers whenever things go wrong such as waking them from a fire or saving them from a nasty fall. Even though the Chumskys are ghosts, they are thought of as friendly ones but that all changes when Sheena and Tony buy the house and start desecrating it to look like one of Sheena’s low budget porno movies.
The Chumskys are patient at first but after listening to Sheena’s terrible singing (because Steven Spielberg believes that porn star’s sing in their movies for some reason) and having Tony try to sell all of Nelson and Evelyn’s belongings in the attic breaks the last straw for the undead couple as they have to resort to scaring them off the premises. The only problem is that the Chumskys have no idea how to scare people and to make matters worse, Tony bought a dog that ends up scaring the Chumskys more than they can scare Tony and Sheena. Will they have a chance to win their house back or will their house be turned into a sex dungeon as only Steven Spielberg can imagine it? You’ll have to watch the episode to find out!
Even though the cast and crew has a lot of star power behind this episode with an idea by Steven Spielberg and a script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (best known for writing: Parenthood, Night Shift, Spies Like Us, Gung Ho, A league of Their Own, and many others) this episode feels very flat given the names attached to it. The acting is okay at best as well as the dialogue along with the jokes but the problem falls to Joe Dante who makes it feel that his passion isn’t with this project as it just feels that he is trudging along to get this episode done instead of using his flair for horror-comedies. Instead of making this a batshit scare/laughfest, we are left with something that could have been something great but instead we are given something that is mediocre. It’s a shame really but most of the episodes that have star power in Amazing Stories tend to be the most disappointing and I believe that this one is the most disappointing out of all of them. Sure the plot isn’t the most original but I believe they had enough talented people to make something unique but instead it comes across as something that a lot of people didn’t want to work on.
X-Aminer rating 5/10
Come back soon as I take a look at another episode directed by Thomas Carter entitled Dorothy and Ben.
You can watch the episode on the NBC site here.