The Ray Bradbury Theater

Season 6 Episode 12

The Handler

Aired Unknown Aug 19, 1992 on USA

Episode Recap

Small-town mortician A. Benedict is ringing the bell in the church that he owns across from his mortuary. As he returns to his place of business, he stops to talk with a small boy and admits that he owns the graveyard, the mortuary, and the church. Impressed with the boy's curiosity, Benedict compliments him and then goes to accept the delivery of the newest dead man in town< Mr. Merriwell Blythe. Once the deliverymen have left, Benedict turns on the "do not enter" life and tells the corpses not to go anywhere while he leaves on some errands.

As Benedict buys frosting, cake mix, decorations, and black ink, the townspeople make jokes about his profession and casually dismiss him. The mortician laughs at them, while mentally vowing that they'll all eventually arrive at the mortuary and he'll have his revenge.

Back at work, Benedict goes to the preparation room and listens to the corpses' imaginary applause. He then starts preparing the corpses for burial... in his own special way. For Mrs. Shellmund, a woman who overate, he mixes her into a giant cake. For Mr. Wren, a bigot, he injects the black ink into his body instead of embalming fluid, turning him black-skinned. Next is Edmund Worth, an attractive man and an adulterer. The mortician called one of the man's victims and arranged for one of the husbands to find Edmund and shoot him. Benedict cuts off Edmund's head, replaces the body with bricks, and saves the perfect body for when he dies so it can be attached to his head. Each of his victims is sealed inside their coffin so that no one will ever know how they've been buried for all eternity.

Benedict then turns to Blythe, an elderly man who never insulted the mortician and has had previous comas and spells. Since Blythe never did anything to him, Benedict plans to simply bury the man with his personal journal, "Benedict's Benedictions," chronicling all of the ironic punishments that the mortician has inflicted over the years. However, Blythe suddenly comes back to life. He's heard everything that Benedict has said and calls him a monster. The old man plans to tell everyone in town. Benedict pleads with him not to, but Blythe runs out to the locked gate and tries to escape. As Benedict injects him with poison, Blythe calls out to the nearby cemetery, telling the desecrated corpses not to let Benedict get away with. Benedict tells him to stop acting silly and die, and the old man finally passes away from the poison.

That night, a storm starts up and the church bell rings. Benedict wonders what is going on and hears an unholy chorus of voices coming from the graveyard. Figures approach the mortuary and Benedict tries to hide beneath a sheet on one of his tables. The corpses walk into the mortuary, pull back the sheet, and grab a bone saw. As they start cutting, Benedict screams in agony and Blythe's corpse smiles in satisfaction.

The next day, the townspeople realize that Benedict has disappeared. They search the graveyard and discover that many of the tombstones are covered in blood. Each tombstone has Benedict's name scratched on it, and the townspeople realize that Benedict is buried beneath every one.
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