Written by Scotty
There are many people in professions that have to face fear on a daily basis. Police officers, firemen, soldiers along with so many more. These people have to put their lives on the line to protect us from the world and have to find a way to battle their fears to make sure they can save us if needed. There is no shame in being afraid of anything, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying to themselves. This is one of the things that makes us human, but it is what we do with the things that we are afraid of that can make us stand out from the rest.
Lieutenant Kalthrob has been promoted through the ranks, but has not been able to conquer one of the biggest feats in his life, his fear. Martin Kalthrob is afraid of dying and while that is something normal for everyone, he is in a position to put his men's lives in danger to accomplish what has been commanded of him, but he still cannot pull the trigger. Calling for a retreat, his Sergeant tries to fight him all the way as the commands have come down from the General, but the Lieutenant is on the field of battle and will not risk the lives of his men to take a meaningless hill.
While formulating his next move, General Kalthrob is trusting that his son is following through with the orders that he has been given, but when Sergeant Ripper enters his tent, the General’s eyes are opened to what his son is, yellow. Even though Martin is his father’s son, he does not have the drive of the General and cannot even bring himself to fire his weapon at the enemy. The General is disappointed at this and thinks that his son is making him look weak in his position of power. When it is necessary to get another garrison to take the hill that his son could not, the General finds out that the lines of communication are down and assigns his son to head closer to the enemy line to fix the line.
With promise of being transferred to the rear of the fighting, Martin takes a small group of men to go and fix the line, but still the Lieutenant is too afraid to step out of the fox hole and follow through with his orders. As the Sergeant takes command of the situation, he advises his superior officer to hold back and signal the men if he sees any of the enemy. The Lieutenant agrees, but when he sees the enemy stalking his men, he freezes up and does not let a warning signal out. Running back to base, Martin tells the General about what has happened, saying that he killed the enemy, but lost all of his men in the process, but an unexpected survivor enters the tent as well, and Sergeant Ripper tells the General how it really went down. Finding his son guilty in his court martial, the General has a plan to make his son look like more of a man in the military’s eyes than he has ever looked before. Promising a new life for Martin, the General will load blanks into each of the rifles before the execution takes place, just as long as his son promises to face the firing squad like a man. With a smile on his face, Lieutenant Martin Kalthrob has a smile on his face and is awaiting his fate, but will his father do as he has promised, or has he done something to save himself of the embarrassment his son has caused?
Just a boy trying to gain the acceptance of his father is all who Martin is. He was never made out to be in the military, but did not have a choice and has to be punished for his sins, along with those of his father. With a bad ass Sergeant running his mouth towards his direct report, Martin is not able to defend any of his decisions on the battle field, even when the Sergeant should be dead, he still had to throw the Lieutenant under the bus one last time. I did not bring in the voice of reason throughout the entire episode, Captain Milligan who tries to back the General on all of his decisions, along with trying to make sure that he knows what he is doing when sentencing his own son to death. A very valuable character looking back at the story, just not the keys to the father and son dynamic that took place, along with Martin’s main foe, Ripper, or his conscience. This one has a star studded cast featuring Eric Douglas as Lieutenant Martin Kalthrob, Kirk Douglas as General Kalthrob, Lance Henriksen as Sergeant Ripper and Dan Aykroyd as Captain Milligan. This is not a scary or strange story that you have come to love from the Tales from the Crypt staff, it is a life story that shows the challenges of family and how far you would go to save your own dynasty. Until next time kiddies, Stay Scared.