Tonight we have #3 in the countdown of my top 5 favorite episodes, as always, here are your links:
Yet again, we’re back to season 1. This is one of the more unique starts to an episode, as it begins with one story being told by Eric, but ends abruptly as he hasn’t finished writing it yet. You tease! The Society goes back and forth trying to figure out who can tell a story tonight, and finally it’s our old pal emo David who has one. He tosses some confectioner’s sugar on the fire and begins. Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, he calls this story…
We begin on the night before Halloween, Mischief Night. The neighborhood kids are playing pranks, a little ding dong ditch, covering cars in shaving cream, TPing trees, the usual stuff.
We meet Kevin and Dougie (awful name) who are best friends. Kevin is more adventurous, which means Dougie has to tag along to all his zany schemes. Tonight’s plan is to spray shaving cream on the door of a supposed witch’s house. Things go slightly awry however, as the woman answers the door right as Kevin begins spraying.
The woman knocks over a vase as Kevin and Dougie run off. She heads outside to her porch and laughs a surprisingly creepy laugh. The whole thing would be slightly more intimidating if she wasn’t covered in shaving cream.
The next night is Halloween, and of course Kevin and Dougie are ready to go trick or treating. Kevin is a bum, and Dougie is wearing some kind of mask that looks kind of like Abe Vigoda. Kevin has the bright idea to go visit the witch from last night, Mrs. Clove. Kevin is convinced that his elaborate bum costume will totally disguise his identity. With that, we learn that Dougie is most likely the brains of this operation.
Mrs. Clove is very excited that they boys came to visit, because no children ever come on Halloween. Listen lady, its not because they think you’re a witch, it’s because you’ve got an iron gate that you keep shut and no decorations. It’s not exactly inviting, perhaps you should work on that. Plus you look like the kind of lady that would give out that horrible no name candy that’s wrapped in either black or orange paper. Anyways, Mrs. Clove decides to give them something very special, because they were her only visitors.
It’s the claw of a vulture. The claw of a vulture made from wood. Apparently whoever has it gets 3 wishes. Sanity was clearly not one of Mrs. Clove’s. The boys are reluctantly to take it, but Mrs. Clove is very insistent. After they leave and discuss how stupid the claw is, Dougie mentions that he wishes they could just go home and be done with all this stupid trick or treating. Coincidentally, they round a corner and run into a gang of punks, who attempt to steal all their candy. This sequence scared the shit out of me when I was a kid, and in case you’re wondering why, here’s what the punks look like:
They’ve also got modified voices, the whole thing was a little overwhelming for a six year old. The punks give chase, but Dougie and Kevin hide in trash cans and manage to escape. Kevin decides to head home for the night, commenting that Dougie got his wish.
The next day at school, we meet Kevin’s nemesis, a guy known only as Bostick, who’s apparently a really great runner.
He’s so great that kids walk around with sandwich boards with his name on it.
Kevin wants to beat him in his best event, the 600. Being that this was made in Canada, that’s probably 600 meters eh? So of course Kevin makes his wish, and the claw lights up like a glow stick, causing Kevin to drop it in shock.
And now it’s time to race, but first I’d like to pause to bring in a special consultant. My friend Scout coaches cross country, so I figured I’d get her expert opinion on the race:
So even before the start of the race, I have serious doubts about the coaching abilities of this “coach.” He looks like he’s a “do as I say not as i do” kinda guy. This guy has no idea how to line kids up for a race, it’s not staggered or even a “waterfall” start, they are all just kind of piled in there. Once the race is actually started there is a display of unusually good form from the actors, minus the girl, however. They seem to be doing a nice pace, for a 3,200m race, but they are not going anywhere near fast enought for a 600m as proven by the lack of exaustion shown by the winner. Now the dog. firstly it didn’t come anywhere near the lead runner, he totally dove (soccer term). Also, even in the highly unlikely event that he really did trip, he wasn’t even going fast enought to skin his knee never mind break his leg. The winner did show decent hurdling form when he jumped over the fallen boy, though.
I agree, the whole thing ends under suspicious circumstances, as a dog crosses the runner’s path and Bostick goes down with an apparently leg injury.
Kevin gleefully hops over him and wins the race, then looks like a fool when celebrating.
Really, if you watch that, it sure looks like Bostick took a dive. That dog didn’t come within five feet of him and he went down like he got shot. I commend this episode for exposing the corruption in high school track events. Apparently Bostick broke his leg, but I have a hard time believing a small fall like that could result in such damage. How far up does this corruption go? The coach is definitely in on it. He’s also fat.
We get a cut back to the Midnight Society summarizing what happened so far, then our story continues. Dougie’s parent’s have gone out for the evening and Kevin has come over, carrying with him the gold medal he won in the 600. I mean, the tainted gold medal he won in the 600.
Dougie and Kevin get in a heated exchange about what to do with the claw, and when Dougie keeps mentioning his parents, Kevin says he wishes he’d just lose them. I bet this turns out well. The phone rings and it’s the police informing Dougie that his parents have been in an accident and are on their way to the hospital. He doesn’t take this well and hangs up on the officer, and breaks his phone.
A frenzied Dougie wishes for his grandfather to be there, cause he’d know what to do. Problem being, his grandfather is dead. Hey Dougie, who just pulled up outside your house?
Kevin starts freaking out because he doesn’t want to meet a ghost, and he and Dougie begin struggling for control of the claw. Their epic wrestling match is intercut with scenes of whoever is in the car approaching the house. Of course just as that person gets to the front door, Dougie grabs the claw, apologizes for breaking Mrs. Cloves vase and wishes it never happened. This causes the claw to dissolve in his hands.
The doorbell rings again, but it’s only Dougie’s parents, alive and well. They also find that the car out front is gone, the phone is fixed and most importantly, Kevin’s tainted gold medal is gone. History has rewritten itself the way it was meant to be thanks to Dougie’s wish. All hail Bostick. The door bell rings again, but this time it’s just Mrs. Clove’s vase sitting there with a note. Apparently it’s become sentient.
But more importantly, All hail Bostick.
You know what I really like about this episode, aside from the wonderfully bad 90’s fashion? The soundtrack. It’s got hilarious synth riffs throughout, with evil laughter spliced in at all the appropriate moments. The Tale of the Twisted Claw is the better of the two AYAOTD episodes set on Halloween, the other being the previously reviewed Tale of the Midnight Ride. Sure it’s just a twist on the story The Monkey’s Paw, but it’s still a great episode. For the best take on The Monkey’s Paw, refer to The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror 2. I’ll admit, it’s high on my list because of those punks. Before I bought the DVDs, I couldn’t recall what story they were in, but I could sure picture their horrible emotionless faces. Terrifying me as a child is a sure way to get praise from me as an adult, I’m very strange. This is just a really well rounded episode, a good story, some scary moments, a good soundtrack and it does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of Halloween. Being this close to Halloween, isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for?