Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Jody and his mum are grief-stricken by the passing away of Jodie's grandfather, but they soon find themselves with a lot more to be upset about when he gets determined not to stay dead.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Eddie Bracken as Grandpa Titus Tolliver
- Christian Slater as Jody Tolliver
- Barbara Eda-Young as Ma Tolliver
- Bill McCutcheon as Dr. Snodgrass
- Tresa Hughes as Voodoo Woman
- Brent Spiner as Reverend Peabody
- Paul Sparer as Narrator
Plot[edit | edit source]
Act I[edit | edit source]
Jody brings a plate over to Ma. She thanks him for it. Jody and Ma Tolliver are in the kitchen about to eat breakfast and dressed in mourning clothes. Ma tells Jody she will be all right because although someone has passed away and she will miss him "like the Dickens" it was his time to go.
Ma tells Jody to say grace. Jody does so, revealing that is it his grandpa, Titus Tolliver, who passed away. In his prayer he lets God know that his grandfather is coming to spend time with God and God should be aware that although he is a feisty man, he doesn't always mean it. Jody tells God he hopes that he and his grandfather will get along. Jody tells God that his grandpa was like a father to him since his own father died and that he loves his Grandpa a lot. Ma ends the prayer with an amen.
As Ma and Jody are about to eat, they hear a noise coming from upstairs. They at first seem alarmed and are not sure what made the noise. To both of their surprise, however, Grandpa Tolliver comes down the stairs. Grandpa remarks that he is so hungry that he can eat a skunk. Ma and Jody seemed surprised, but not scared. Grandpa asks where his breakfast is and Ma doesn't believe that he is about to eat. Grandpa sits down and is wondering why Jody and Ma are staring at him. Ma gives him her meal and when he says it is not enough, Jody gives Grandpa his food as well.
Jody and Ma keep staring at Grandpa, which surprises him. Jody assumes and asks Grandpa is he is a ghost. Grandpa is surprised and denies this. Jody, however, tells Grandpa that he is dead so he has to be a ghost. Ma tells Grandpa that he is dead and asks him if he remembers passing away the previous night. Grandpa insists there is nothing wrong with his memory. He tells Ma and Jody that he did not die, he just had one of his spells. Ma tells him it was not a spell. She tells him Jody had to drag Dr. Snodgrass out of his poker game, but that Grandpa was dead before he arrived.
Grandpa gets tired of the talking about him being dead. He gets up and Ma asks him where he is going. Grandpa informs her that he is going to do what he does every morning and go sit on the porch and let his food digest. He doesn't want to hear any more talk about dying.
As Grandpa leaves, Ma is irritated that she was crying over his death. When Jody questions whether Grandpa is really dead, Ma insists that Grandpa is dead, but he is too stubborn to admit it. She tells Jody she is going to fetch Dr. Snodgrass to put an end to this.
Act II[edit | edit source]
Grandpa is sitting on the porch singing while Jody nervously comes outside. Grandpa invites him over and asks where Ma is. Jody informs Grandpa that Ma went to fetch Dr. Snodgrass. Grandpa thinks this is a good idea, but only because he thinks that Ma must not be feeling well if she thinks that he is dead. Grandpa then remarks how hot the previous night was and how he could have died of the heat. When Jody informs him that he did die, Grandpa tells Jody he doesn't want him to start up on Grandpa about the dying. He insists he has had enough of the foolishness.
Dr. Snodgrass and Ma show up while Ma is telling him that she would not have made up a story about her dead father walking around. Dr. Snodgrass does not believe her until he sees Grandpa sitting on the porch. He tells Grandpa that he examined him the previous night and that Grandpa was deader than a Thanksgiving turkey. Grandpa accuses Dr. Snodgrass of being a drunk and yells at him to hurry up and examine him if that is his plan.
Dr. Snodgrass takes out his stethoscope and tries to hear Grandpa's heartbeat. Dr. Snodgrass insists to Grandpa that his heart has stopped. Grandpa's response is that the doctor's stethoscope must be busted. The doctor puts a mirror under Grandpa's nose and mouth and is surprised that there is no breath on the mirror. Grandpa tells the doctor to put it under his own breath and accuses the doctor of stinking of alcohol.
Frustrated, Dr. Snodgrass reaches into his bag and pulls out a sheet of paper. He shows it to Grandpa, who tells the doctor that he knows he cannot read. Dr. Snodgrass tells Grandpa the paper is his death certificate, as if that would be proof enough that he is not alive. The certificate lists Grandpa's death as being from cardiac arrest. The doctor insists that the death certificate is a legal document and will stand up in any court of law. Grandpa insists the court of law will believe him. This intimidates Dr. Snodgrass, who leaves. As the doctor leaves, Grandpa tells him not to lay down too long or someone will fill out a sheet of paper claiming he died of a hangover.
Later on, Grandpa is finishing eating lunch. Jody and Ma are still not eating and Grandpa cannot understand why. Grandpa decides that he needs to take a nap and tell Jody to keep the noise down, to which Jody agrees. As Grandpa stands up, rigor mortis is obviously taking effect as he stiffly moves over to the stairs and leaves. Jody starts smelling the food and Ma tells him there is nothing wrong with it. She tells him the only thing spoiling is Grandpa and something needs to be done about him not accepting the fact that he is dead.
Jody goes out onto the porch where Grandpa is napping in his rocking chair. As he approaches Grandpa, he hears someone say his name. Turning around, Reverend Peabody introduces himself. The reverend is about to ask if Grandpa is dead, but Jody insists that at this point, he does not know. The reverend approaches the decaying Grandpa and insists that he is dead. While the reverend is talking, Grandpa opens his eyes, shocking Reverend Peabody, who backs off. Grandpa is decaying worse now and remarks on the effects of the heat. He suggests to Ma that she go and get the reverend some refreshments. Ma does so.
Grandpa pulls out a seat for the reverend. Trying to stave off the smell of Grandpa, the reverend sits down and tells Grandpa that he is not there for a social call. He tells Grandpa that the Lord has called and Grandpa is supposed to have answered him. Grandpa insists he hasn't heard anyone calling and jokes about his hearing not being as good as it used to be. The Reverend tells Grandpa that maybe his bad hearing is why he hasn't heard his heart stop beating. Grandpa remains stubborn and insists it is just because he is old and his heart has slowed down.
Reverend Peabody tells him that the Lord took his life away but Grandpa insists the Lord is not going to take him away. Grandpa still is convinced he is not dead and tells the reverend he is not reasonable. Grandpa mentions that like "the fellow from Missouri" they have to show him. The reverend is obviously frustrated and leans up against the wall. Reverend Peabody tells Grandpa that he has to take his death on faith. The reverend says that it might not be fun to live in a grave, but once Grandpa's body is in the grave, his soul will be free to go to Heaven and be happy. Grandpa tells the reverend is he thinks Heaven is so wonderful, why doesn't he go there himself.
Ma comes out and tells the reverend they are out of lemonade. She has a jug of moonshine and the frustrated reverend takes a drink out of it. He then turns back to Grandpa and tells him that his actions are sacrilegious. He tells Jody and Ma that they are good people, but that he is busy and has to help other members of his flock. When Ma asks the reverend what they can do, he tells them not to fear and to believe in the power of prayer. Before leaving, he grabs the moonshine jug and leaves.
Ma is very upset and runs back into the house. Grandpa is laughing as a fly is buzzing around him. Jody asks Grandpa if he should go and get him a fly swatter and Grandpa calls him a good boy.
Act III[edit | edit source]
Jody walks into the house and wonders why his mom was crying. Ma tells Jody that she wishes his Pa was there, because he would know what to do. Jody tells her not to worry because he has a plan. Ma asks him what his plan is and Jody tells her he is going to go over to the voodoo woman's place. Ma does not seem to approve of the idea, but Jody tells her that "help is where you find it." He insists that all the doctor and reverend were doing were talking and that they need something stronger than words now. Ma asks him if he is scared, but Jody insists he will be back before dark.
Jody looks into the voodoo woman's home. She startles him by coming out, laughing and mentioning that he would be a tasty dumpling that would last her for weeks. She laughs and Jody tries to run away but the voodoo woman orders him to stop, threatening to turn him into swamp water. Jody asks her not to eat him, but she mentions that her stuffed owl Ambrose loves to eat eyeballs. She, however, loves young livers. The voodoo woman seems to lose her edge for some reason, blames it on Ambrose, and throws him on the floor. She tells Jody that she thinks she has gone soft and lost her concentration. She tells Jody to never grow old.
Jody catches on that her act was just that. He tells her his name and she recognizes his surname. She asks Jody if he is related to Titus. The voodoo woman tells Jody about his grandfather, that they used to know each other and he was set in his ways even back then. He was stubborn as a mule. She feels that she owes Titus something, for old time's sake. Looking through her things, the voodoo woman claims she found something.
Jody is running into the house, calling for his mom. Ma tells Jody how worried she is. The undertaker has threatened to call the Board of Health on her because Grandpa is decaying. Ma laments that there has never been such a scandal before in these parts. Jody tells her everything will work out though.
Jody shows Ma something the voodoo woman gave him. Ma assumes it is poison, but Jody informs her that poison won't affect Grandpa since he is already dead. He gives her a little bag and Ma looks in it. She informs Jody that the only thing in the bag is strong black pepper. Ma tells Jody that the voodoo woman must have been pulling his leg. Jody is surprised because the voodoo woman promised him it would help. Ma starts lamenting over the Board of Health again. She figures that is reason enough to try the pepper. Jody places the pepper in his Grandpa's napkin.
Grandpa comes downstairs for dinner. He is extremely decayed and stiff as a board. He remarks on this and Ma tells him he should be upstairs in bed with a lily in his hand. Grandpa is irritated and tired of people telling him he is dead. He says he is blue in the face from telling people he is not dead. Ma remarks that he is bluer than anyone she has ever seen.
Grandpa asks about his napkin but Jody tells him it is just a napkin. Grandpa insists that Jody help him load his plate up with food. Grandpa tells Jody and Ma that although he is stubborn, he has not desired to make trouble for his family. He then takes a bite of food. Grandpa tells Jody and Ma that if he ever sees proof that he is really dead, he would be the first one to go back upstairs and lie down forever. Jody tells Grandpa that he has some greens on his chin. Grandpa thanks him and picks up the napkin, getting pepper all over the place. Grandpa is irritated and sneezes into the napkin.
After a moment of being irritated, Grandpa finally accepts the fact that he is dead. He remarks that there is no fool like an old fool. He tells Jody to take care of his mom and he leaves. Ma tells Jody that Grandpa has finally accepted his burden and moved on. She tells Jody to get rid of the napkin. Jody looks at it and Grandpa's severely decayed nose is in the napkin. Jody remarks that if the nose is not proof, he doesn't know what is.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Christian Slater also appeared in "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie".
- Despite proof that Grandpa Tolliver does not breathe, he is able to talk and inhale the pepper that makes him sneeze. Another possibility is that Grandpa Tolliver's breath is cold due to him not producing body heat anymore, thereby not fogging the mirror and still breathes due to force of habit.