Musings in the Dark: My Twilight Zone Tribute: S4E13


My Twilight Zone Tribute: S4E13

 "The New Exhibit"

Martin Lombard Senescu is the loving curator of Murder’s Row at a wax museum.  He has spent the bulk of his working life caring for five serial killers: Jack the Ripper, Henri Landru, William Burke and William Hare, and Albert Hicks.  Martin’s (I’m not calling him Senescu; I just can’t) boss, Mr. Ferguson, tells him that he’s selling the museum so he can retire.  Martin can’t handle the loss of Murderer’s Row and offers to keep the figures in his basement until someone can purchase them.

Martin’s wife Emma is stressed at having five enormous wax figures filling up her basement and keeping her from being able to do laundry.  She’s even more pressed to learn that Martin has purchased an air conditioning unit for the window to keep the figures from melting.  She’s even even more pressed that there’s no money coming in and Martin, despite his claims to the contrary, isn’t in a hurry to get rid of the figures.  He spends every waking hour in the basement, maintaining the figures and talking to them.  She goes to get money from her brother Dave, who suggests that she sabotage the air conditioner.  Emma sneaks down to the basement to do just that and is attacked by Jack the Ripper.  

The next morning, Martin finds Emma’s dead body and Jack’s bloody knife.  He buries her in the basement because no one will believe him if he said Jack the Ripper killed his wife.  Shortly after, Dave pays Martin a visit, curious about the outcome of his suggestion.  He hears the AC running and asks about Emma’s location.  Martin lies and says she’s visiting his sister and rushes Dave out of the house.  Dave, suspicious, sneaks into Martin’s basement and is quickly dispatched by Albert Hicks.

Some time later, Martin receives a visit from Mr. Ferguson.  He announces that he found a buyer for the Murderer’s Row exhibit and came to take measurements.  Martin makes tea for Ferguson and while he is busy taking measurements, Ferguson gets got by Henri Landru.  Martin comes downstairs with the tea and is outraged at what he sees.  He finally gets angry and starts screaming at the wax figures while brandishing a crowbar, threatening to smash them.  The figures step off their pedestals and converge on Martin, informing him that it was he himself who killed Emma, Dave and Mr. Ferguson.  Martin denies this as they descend upon him.

Years later, the Murderer’s Row exhibition is now on display at Marchand’s, and it has a new member of the exhibit: that of Martin Lombard Senescu, who brutally murdered his wife, her brother, and his boss.  

I LOVE this episode so much, even though it frustrates me.  I know this was back in the early sixties and the relationships between husbands and wives were a lot different then, but I got mad every time Emma DIDN’T cuss out her crazy-ass husband.  She should have known shit was going left when he spent a good chunk of their savings buying an AC unit and running it 24 hours a day.  She should have broken her foot off in his ass when he told her she couldn’t do the laundry.  She should have slapped the taste out of his mouth when he suggested that they buy new clothes for the wax figures.  And she should have LEFT his crazy ass when she had to borrow money from her brother to buy groceries because Martin was flat-out broke and gave not a slice of a fuck about it. He would have starved to death if it was me.

The actor that plays Martin, Martin Balsam, was an excellent choice.  When the episode ends, the audience is staring into them, mesmerized by Serling’s end narration.  “It was something about the eyes…”

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