Season 1 - Episode 6
from Vault of Horror #25
Aired June 28, 1989
Directed by Mary Lambert
Directed by Mary Lambert
Worst pun: "I want all of you to sit, stay, play dead. Good boy"
Every retiree needs a pet project. So Jonas takes up taxidermy, turning the many pets his wife Anita dotes upon into a stuffed menagerie. Sit still. Don't move. This one will leave you in stitches!
The Crypt Keeper has his pet...Peeves. He also has a terror tail of his own. Kill me.
As the opening credits roll we pan all around a dark house and see pets everywhere. Dogs, cats, birds, fish, porcelain cats; either a pet or something pet related in every inch of the house. Anita (Audra Lindley) is prepping a surprise party for someone, and I swear to God if it’s for a dog’s birthday or some shit I’m gonna scream. As she leaves the kitchen she tells her guests that her husband is about to arrive, and then the party can begin. She hears something at the door and sees a cat sitting alone in the rain. She instantly picks it up, hugs it, gives it a name, and brings it inside. Yes, she's one of those people.
She takes a couple steps inside before there's a loud knock at the door. Her grumpy, miserable husband Jonas (M. Emmet Walsh) is finally home, and she'd shut the door right in his face because she was so preoccupied with the cat. After 47 years of working 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, he's been forced into mandatory retirement and all he has to show for it is a stupid golden hammer. Anita tries to lift his spirits by starting his big retirement party, but Jonas is absolutely not having any of her crazy cat lady bullshit right now. He trips over a cat and sits on a cat toy and starts screaming at the top of his lungs at the poor old lady trying to do something nice for her husband. He storms upstairs under a cloud of Old Man Hate, and Anita goes into the kitchen to tell her guests, her “children,” the party is off. And it’s the cutest fucking collection of animals dressed in party gear you’ve ever seen.
|I swear to God they start whimpering|
They wake up early the next morning. Jonas is being grumpy and old about running late but she reminds him he’s retired now and he can sleep in as late as he wants while she does some chores. Jonas is too set in his ways to sleep in, so he gets out of bed and apparently for the first time in their marriage they’re both in the bathroom doing their morning routines at the same time. And it’s kind of adorable. They’re unbelievably awkward together and as she prepares to take her morning bath he tells her he has to poop and seems so ashamed of himself. It’s the cutest thing watching this 65 year old man be too scared to tell his wife to give him some privacy so he can pop a squat.
Breakfast rolls around and the tension begins to build. He’s already made it clear he hates these animals, and he watches as the money he’s spent his life working for is being used to buy a big ass steak...that is put in the dog’s bowl. She gives him a bowl of generic old man cereal. It’s not a real cereal, but I can guarantee the words “Oat” and “Bran” are somewhere on the box. He screams at more animals and she pets him like a cat to get him to calm down.
Longtime “friend” Roy (Martin Garner) visits Jonas while he’s working in his garage. Roy tells him it’s going to take some time to get used to his new daily routines and advises taking up a hobby. The hobby he decides on is grabbing some shears and pruning the bushes to shit while complaining about the pets. Roy tells him she's been this way as long as anyone in the neighborhood can remember. If those shears gets anywhere near one of those kittens I’m gonna freak out.
That night, as he tries to fall asleep in front of the TV, every single channel has something to do with animals. One of the channels is a news story about cougars who had originally been thought to be scavenging food from homeless drifters have actually been eating the homeless. He’s getting a bad headache so he asks Anita for an aspirin. She brings him a brownie instead, and after he eats is he realizes she hid the aspirin in his food like an animal.
As the days go by he gets more and more furious over Anita treating the pets like her children and him like another pet. Roy tries to calm him down, telling him how lonely she must have been for the last 50 years while he worked long hours six days a week with no children of her own to take care of.
Over the next couple of days he continues pruning/manhandling the garden. On one day in particular she makes him a tuna sandwich for lunch, the tuna of course coming from a cat food can. Another day little Mew Mew has the audacity to knock over his lemonade, which he just will not tolerate. He chases Mew Mew with shears and trips and lands in their coy pond. He heads upstairs to take a shower while Anita is cleaning the fish tank. He starts running the water and for the first time this episode a smile forms on his face. His eyes have been squinted half closed with the expression you get when you're so fucking angry at someone or something it causes you physical pain. Then he looks down to see all the fish swimming in the bathtub. And he fucking loses it.
|It's essentially Arnold right before he fights the Predator|
He comes downstairs the next morning and claims to have found a new hobby. He begins to spend a lot more time in the basement, but he finally seems happy.
One day, Anita can’t find one of her dogs. Then she can’t find one of her cats. She comes into the basement looking for Gordon, a bulldog, and he tells her, after yelling at her for having the nerve to come into the basement without him giving her permission, he saw him in the garden.
BUT THE WACKY TWIST ENDING IS
Anita goes outside and is horrified when Gordon’s eyes light up and begin flashing. It’s not Gordon, but a taxidermied version of Gordon. Anita panics and asks Jonas what in the blue fuck is going on, and he says he’s finally found a new hobby they both can enjoy: taxidermy.
Anita looks for her other children and finds them all in the basement. All of them are dead, except for Mew Mew, the final piece in his collection.
Jonas was saving it for last and is about to get to work. In an act of desperation, she takes his golden hammer and hits Jonas over the head with it.
The next day, Anita and Jonas are watching TV. Lassie is on, because of course it is. Roy comes in and sees the taxidermy remains of Jonas in his recliner.
|Greatest generation my ass|
Crypt Keeper's moral of the story is Jonas learned a hobby can be "very self-fulfilling...as long as you're not too stuffy about it." Get it?
This episode was extremely predictable, so much so that they put the twist on the fucking DVD description, but I don't care. Jonas and Anita are played by two veteran actors who play really well off each other. It's a fun twist on the normal episode formula. Instead of being a dark comedy that's horror first with some sick humor thrown in, it's primarily an over the top All in the Family esque episode with a sinister twist.