Tales from the Crypt - Dig That Cat… He's Real Gone (Season 1, Episode 3)

Dig That Cat...He's Real Gone
Season 1 - Episode 3
from Haunt of Fear #21
Aired June 10, 1989
Directed by Richard Donner
Worst pun: Sit down kids, it's a fucking DOOZY: "Dying for Dollars could have been a popular game show. They could have put it in between Wheel of Misfortune and the Newly Dead game. Unless they buried it in the wrong time slot."

Shoot him, drown him, hang him, zap him with a kajillion volts - hey, it's a living. A man who receives a surgical graft of a cat's nine lives becomes a carnival sensation with his dying act. 

The Crypt Keeper is very excited to speak to us kiddies about one of life's unexpected pleasures - dying - and the lucky man who can experience it more than once.

At some podunk shithole carnival, the miracle of resurrection is about to be performed. Robert Wuhl (fucking Arli$$) is the carnival barker, named Barker. Of course he is. He's doing a Penn Jillette impression because it was still 1989 and HBO couldn't afford Penn or Teller. 

Nothing I could write here is funnier than that mustache-earring combo

Ulric the Undying (Joe Pantoliano) is being buried alive at the stroke of midnight. Once in the coffin, he lights a candle (so we can see his handsome mug, of course) and tells us that when they dig him up, he'll be dead. But he won't stay that way. He recalls how he came across his "ability" and the events that followed it leading up to right now. 

The role of Joey Pants will be played by Vincent Price tonight 

You see, Joey Pants wasn't always a mustachioed man of miracles. He was actually a drunk hobo living in a cardboard box who pulled a knife on a strange foreign man who approached him. Turns out strange foreign man is a mad scientist, because of course he is. Doc offers Ulric his life savings to take part in an experiment. Normally I wouldn't follow a German scientist interested in performing experiments on me, but I don't live in an alley. 

So the creepy foreign doctor brings the homeless man to his lab and shows him a CAT scan of...a cat. The cat he tested died - but didn't stay dead. He came back to life again and again until the ninth time, when he finally stayed dead. So Doc has the wacky idea to remove some unidentified gland from a cat and "surgically" insert it into Joey's brain to give him nine lives. That's the type of plot we're dealing with here, folks. 

Joey wakes up from the surgery hella confused, as you would. The surgery was a success, as shown by the little kitty under a bloody blanket.

I'm sorry Sprinkles, we did all we could
Ulric riddles the doctor this: how is he supposed to know if he actually has 9 lives now? Doc answers by pulling out a pistol and shooting him square in the noggin. Ulric dies, but quickly shouts himself back into this plane of existence. This is exactly how I figure a real Joey Pants resurrection would go.

He asks for his money, but Doc tells him he knows a way to use this new gift to make them millionaires.

And by become millionaires, I mean be a sideshow act at a carnival.

Doc convinces Arli$$ to let them show off their talent in front of a small crowd. Ulric is drowned in a giant clear tube. They leave his corpse submerged for a full hour before declaring him officially dead. They drain the tank and yell "RESURRECTION" and nothing happens. Arli$$ yells it again and he doesn't move. And he keeps not moving. The crowd boos this and slowly files out, completely unfazed by watching a man drown to death and staring at his lifeless corpse for an hour. They stared at a dead man for a Mad Men and a half and grumbled and shuffled out of the tent because he didn't defy God and rise from the dead. 

He finally comes to and the crowd comes running back into the tent, way less amazed at the literal miracle this man has pulled off than you'd think they would be. He gets fellow carny Coralee's phone number and treats her to dinner.

Next he gets lynched in front of a rowdy mob of Southerners. It's important to note that just because he comes back to life doesn't mean the process of dying isn't fucking terrible. He may wake up later with his wounds miraculously healed, but until that happens he's still getting hung. 

Him and Coralee are getting way more...friendly with one another. Life is starting to look good: he's got a girl, easy money, his own shitty run down trailer. But good isn't good enough, and he feels like since he's the one drowning in front of a bunch of fat inbreds, he deserves more than 40%. He offers to drive Doc around and lets him know he's sick of getting such a small cut. He speeds up to about 100 mph and crashes, brutally murdering both of them. 

The next attraction is an electrocution, where a lucky crowd member gets to flip the switch. What's funnier than an old lady murdering someone? An old lady swearing. Huh-larious. He finds out some resurrections take longer than others, because after the electrocution he doesn't wake back up until he's laying on a coroner's table about to get embalmed. 

The next death is another bit of crowd participation: one lucky fan gets to shoot him with a crossbow for the low, low price of a thousand dollars. Two people miss but the third time's the charm and he takes an arrow right in the heart. News of his ability has traveled fast (among the types of people that go to side show acts, anyways) so he gets a very nice payday from this. 

The problem with that payday is Coralee wants it. She (literally) stabs him in the back and runs off with as much money as she can stuff in her purse before he resurrects again. 

He's got one life to spare and he's going to make it count. He's getting 100% of the profits for his eighth death: being buried alive at the stroke of midnight. He recollection of the past has caught up to real time. He's laughing about how he's set for life now. He was a homeless drunk and now he'll never have to work a day in his life again just because of a cat.


A dead cat. The cat died in the operation, something he failed to account for. He realizes he didn't have nine lives after the surgery, just eight. He wasn't just reliving his past, his life was flashing before his eyes moments before death. He bangs on the coffin and screams for help, but the janitors chalk it up to a cat making noise. He suffocates in the coffin deep underground, and the episode ends with a black cat standing on his grave. 

Honestly, you see the twist coming five minutes into the episode. It was still enjoyable, but the plot was very basic and the end couldn't possibly surprise anybody, so I was going to give it an average 3 out of 5. Until the very end. The Crypt Keeper looks down at his little table and picks up a skull

and says"Alas poor Ulric." I swear to God. That alone gives it an extra point, leaving me with

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