[Retro] Monsters: 1.03 New York Honey

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Creatures that go bump in the night are front and center in Monsters, a 1988 anthology that ran for three seasons and 72 episodes. This series of standalone frights bears a striking similarity to Tales from the Darkside, but that’s mainly because they share a producer, Richard P. Rubinstein, and production companies. Unlike its predecessor, Monsters is purely horror with an emphasis on demons, ghouls, and other nightmarish entities whose names we dare not speak.

NEW YORK HONEY

Season 1, Episode 3
Original Airdate: November 5, 1988
Directed by Gerald Cotts (as Jerry Smith)
Written by Harvey Jacobs

new-york-honey-01When a man learns his upstairs neighbor is harvesting the most delicious honey he’s ever tasted, he blackmails him into making more so he can sell it himself. He then becomes enamored with the mysterious woman who’s suddenly living in the beekeeper’s apartment.

With this episode, we are introduced to the campier side of Monsters. The looming threat remains, but we are at the point of no return. That’s not to say there aren’t serious episodes from here on out. In fact, there’s a number of them that will help to balance out the series’ overall tone. It’s just that episodes like New York Honey are far more lighthearted⁠—which is a good thing if you like variety.

new-york-honey-02With all that in mind, not many Monsters fans consider New York Honey a favorite. It’s an unusual episode that does not make a whole lot of sense. What we have here is a quirky comedy driven more by curiosity than scares. The threat of danger is so finely drawn that the ending feels abrupt, despite some subtle hints along the way.

If there’s anything positive to say about New York Honey, it’s the script’s attention to the characters. Everyone is static in regards to development, but they don’t blend into one another either. They’re substantial and offbeat. The Blake couple (Lewis J. Stadlen and Elaine Bromka) is greedy and amusingly oblivious, whereas the agoraphobic beekeeper (MacIntyre Dixon) is intense without being menacing. And, Desiree (Andrea Thompson) could easily steal a man’s heart without the use of apoid pheromones.

new-york-honey-05The inanity of New York Honey ensures its memorability in the long run. It echoes the morbid humor of Tales from the Darkside, which has long divided fans of that series. How you react to this episode depends on how you like your horror—straight-up with no tonal shift, or tempered with an occasional drop of honey.

MONSTERS-VISION

DESIREE

The beekeeper was in search of a mate who shares his passion for apiculture and honey, and he found one in Desiree. It seems like Jimmerman knew exactly who — and what — Desiree was, too.

Desiree doesn’t reveal her humanoid bee form until the end. And, as the beekeeper explained, she chose Jay Blake to be her mate before ultimately using and discarding him in mid-air.

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