After the death of his wife, a young man (Steve Bacic) seeks out Miz Carnation (Micki Maunsell), an elderly woman with a reputation as a necromancer. Declaring his love and devotion, the man begs Carnation to bring his lover back, but she refuses, on account of being “all used up.” However, after being further touched by his story, the old woman relents, on condition that she be allowed to tell her own story before he makes up his mind:
Medical student, athiest and skeptic Ernst Haeckel (Derek Cecil), inspired by the rumors of the equally ambitious Victor Frankenstien, decides to prove once and for all the non-existance of the spirit by bringing dead flesh to life. His first attempt to do so results in a charred corpse and scorn from his fellow students. At the suggestion of a grave robber, he seeks out Montesquino (Jon Polito) a self described necromancer who Ernst decides is a fraud.
After recieving word that his ailing father has taken a turn for the worse, Ernst journeys to see him. Stopping by a graveyard to rest, he meets Wolfram (Tom McBeath) who offers him food and a place to stay. There he is introduced to the beautiful Elise (Leela Savasta), Wolfram’s arm candy wife. However, it turns out Elise’s passions lie not with Wolfram but with her late husband, the one whose remains lie in the graveyard, and who Montisquino is paid to revive late at night…
Of the Masters of Horror episodes, this wasn’t my favorite (that would be Cigarette Burns, which I mentioned in a previous article) but I still found it entertaining enough to hold my interest. The plot is a satire on moral outrage and heteronormative crusades. While Ernst takes no issue with ogling the wife of the man who took him in (or, for that matter, desecrating stolen remains to prove a point), when he discovers Elise’s fetish he is disgusted and even attempts to ‘rescue’ her from it (okay, so she fucked zombies, but still). Likewise, Ralston claims his love for his wife is so great that he must have her back immediately, but is forced to eat his words when he realizes what that would entail. It would have been nice to see what George Romero (the original choice for director before John McNaughton was brought on board) would have done with the material, but McNaughton’s direction is adequate, if not actually scary.
What I learned from Haeckel’s Tale:
- Zombie infants drink milk but are not opposed to human flesh
- Gay marriage is the new zombie fucking
- Corpses are highly flammable