Two Fisted Tales – tape 1647

Sometimes I have tapes in my collection which I have almost no idea what the contents are. This is one of them. Two Fisted Tales could be almost anything. Without googling, and before watching, I’m thinking maybe it’s a portmanteau western with some involvement from Robert Zemeckis. Or is that something else?

Well, it’s definitely a “trio of action stories”.

It’s a Carolco production. That could mean anything, frankly, they had a wildy variable output.

Carolco

The titles are a nice montage of frames from the original EC comics on which the movie is based (this is why I think it has a Zemeckis connection, as I think he was involved in Tales from the Crypt).

Two Fisted Tales

William Sadler introduces the first segment. Looks like the Western guess was right as well.

William Sadler

The first segment is called Showdown. And Bingo for the Zemeckis connection.

Executive Producers

This segment was written by Frank Darabont and directed by Richard Donner. A gunslinger is being pursued by a posse, led by David Morse.

He comes to a small town, and Morse is there waiting for him. But the gunslinger, Billy Quintaine (Neil Giuntoli) is quicker on the draw, and shoots him dead. Then, having a drink in a bar, he meets a man peddling a wonder tonic that’s guaranteed to quicken the reflexes and sharpen the eye. He tries it, and starts seeing men he’s killed in the bar. They tell him they’re there to take him with them, into the brotherhood of the gun, all people who died at the gun. But he doesn’t want to go with them, so they vanish, and he finds the bar full of a modern day tour party, with a tour guide giving his history, and saying that he’s reputed to be a ghost, wandering the town.

So he leaves the saloon, faces up again to Morse, and when he kills him again, Morse’s posse guns him down, and he’s welcomed into the brotherhood. How nice to have a happy ending for such a deserving character.

It’s not all cowboys, though, as the next segment is called King of the Road, and stars Brad Pitt as a hot rod driver, doing illegal racing. It’s directed by Fright Night’s Tom Holland.

Brad Pitt

Pitt comes to a town looking for a racer called Iceman. He thinks the local sheriff is Iceman, but he denies it. So Pitt picks up the Sheriff’s daughter at the fast food stand where she works. He puts an envelope of press clippings in his postbox, along with a large spider. One of the featured headlines is rather ungrammatical.

Iceman eludes police manslaughter charged

I guess there’s some kind of revenge motive going on here.

The sheriff pursues Pitt when he’s speeding through the town, but loses him, so he’s horrified when he returns home to find Pitt’s car in his driveway.

Naturally, his daughter doesn’t understand why he’s angry, and Pitt threatens to spill the beans about his racing past, and his pending maslaughter charge.

Pitt asks for a race, holding his daughter as hostage. If the Sheriff wins, he gets his daughter back, if he loses Pitt kills her.

It’s all a bit ho hum. Fast cars have never been my thing, so I’m a bit bored by the mythology around street racing.

The final segment is Yellow and stars Kirk Douglas. He was in the news just yesterday (as I write this) writing about the presidential race. I hope that’s enough of a coincidence to offset any possible ill effects there might be of appearing in this blog. It’s too late for Brad Pitt, whose marriage I have clearly retroactively wrecked.

Also appearing are Lance Henrikson and Dan Aykroyd.

Lance Henrikson Dan Aykroyd Kirk Douglas

Now, there’s something interesting in the music that opens this segment. It’s by Alan Silvestri, and it sounds remarkably like a particular cue from James Horner’s later score for Titanic. The uncharitable part of me wonders if this cue was used by Cameron as temp music, and Horner aped the orchestration, even if the tune is different.

This segment is written by Predator’s Jim and John Thomas, and directed by, you guessed it, Robert Zemeckis.

It’s a war story, set somewhere in France in 1918. It opens with a dry run for Saving Private Ryan, with a large battle full of guns, explosions and stuntmen being catapulted very high into the air. Weirdly, it seems to be being played for laughs. Henrikson is looking for his lieutenant, and keeps asking soldiers who turn out to be dead. The first one he finds who isn’t dead yet lifts his arm to point where the lieutenant is, and his hand is shot off.

Trench warfare

The lieutenant orders a retreat, much to Henrikson’s disgust. He’s played by Eric Douglas, Kirk Douglas’ youngest son, and he’s playing Douglas’ son in this segment.

Everyone thinks the lieutenant is ‘yellow’ so General Douglas assigns him to take a patrol to repair a field telephone line out in no man’s land. He fails to warn his men about a German patrol, so they’re ambushed, and he lies about it to his father when he returns, so General  Douglas court martials him.

The two have a heart to heart the night before the execution. Young Douglas tells him he never wanted to join the army, and never had a choice. Father Douglas tells his son not to worry, that he will ensure all the firing squad are firing blanks, so all he has to do is face the squad with bravery, and fall back into the pit when they fire.

Kirk Douglas and Eric Douglas

Of course, he’s done no such thing, and the squad fire live rounds. There’s a final shot of young Douglas’ hip flask with an inscription on it I can’t quite read. I can make out “To Martin… Courage… Love Dad.” It could be “Take Courage From Your Name” but it’s not a clear picture from this recording.

hip flask

Dour, depressing stories, then.

This was a TV Movie, actually made up of segments from the Tales from the Crypt TV series. Strangely, none of them came from any Two Fisted Tales comics. But at least my initial vague recollections about the movie turned out to be spot on. I don’t think I’ve watched it before, either.

After the movie there’s a trailer for movies in April, but apart from that, there’s nothing else on this tape. A short one today.

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