Ciao! And welcome back to another recap of the Shudder original series, Deadwax! Everyone’s favorite show about vinyl tracker Etta Pryce (Hannah Gross) and her search for an ultra rare record that kills anyone that listens to it. She hasn’t caught on to that last part yet but she’s getting there, we promise! If you aren’t caught up then I suggest reading our recap of part three. Or watch it for yourself. Because Shudder customer “Wiltaim” referred to it as “A solid modern hipster take on The Ring“, and if that doesn’t pique your interest then I have no idea what will.
Here’s what we know so far: Following the death of his partner, Len Perry (Evan Gamble) is sent home after being interrogated by Detective Rhodes (Dohn Norwood). But Rhodes is still mighty suspicious of Perry. Especially after he looks at the station’s security cameras on the night Daryl Burnett (West Liang) is killed. And you really can’t blame him. What are the odds of the footage getting all scrambled at the exact moment Burnett turns to beef chunks? And picks up a scream when these cameras weren’t designed to pick up audio? So nobody should be too surprised when we see Rhodes on an old fashioned stake out on Perry’s house.
Speaking of Perry’s house, all of Etta’s snooping around mummy man’s house leads her to Perry’s front door; thus finally bringing both of our story lines together. In less than two minutes we learn that Etta and Perry used to be an item, Perry married the woman Etta cheated on him with (and took her last name) and that said woman passed away. He isn’t exactly thrilled about seeing Etta but still lets her into his house anyway. Inside they discuss what little he knows about everyone’s favorite killer record. Perry’s condition is getting worse slowly but surely so, fearing something awful would happen if he was alone, asks Etta to stay the night on his couch. Oddly enough she decides to stay.
Hours later all the electronics in the house begin to act up. When Etta goes to check on Perry she finds him in an unusual state. With the lights still aggressively flickering she finds Perry on the floor of his bedroom, screaming, his entire body seeming to flicker in and out of existence before her very eyes. Even his scream seems to fade at times; sounding almost like an echo and a CD that’s skipping mixed together. He doesn’t return to a normal state until Etta boldly gives him a hug.
Now let’s continue to the next episode simply called ‘Part Four’. Consider this your major spoiler warning.
The episode begins with a flashback taking place back in the 90’s. 1997 to be exact. We see an unknown young man that is obviously a radio host. Could he be the host that Ian Ullman (Ted Raimi) was referring to back in episode two? Regardless of who he is we find out that it is apparently a grim day for him. Apparently the station he works for, his future alma mater, KTLP radio 91.1 is making the big move to a CD- centric format. Why? Probably because it’s more ‘with the times’ but mainly because all the records take up too much space.
He seems to share Etta’s intense love for listening to records regardless if they are good or not. Going so far as to dub the day of the big switch as “…Mark your calendar’s. The night the compact disc fired a deafening blow across the bow of the great vinyl mothership, December 5th, 1997.” His idea of a big send off to his beloved records is going through the archives and playing some of the greatest rare records at his disposal until said date. But he seems pretty happy at the idea of listening to some moldy oldies. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Sounds fun to me.
After choosing his selection for the evening we learn that this young man is, in fact, that this is the radio DJ that Ullman was talking about. Tuck Weston (played by Chester Rushing) shows off his memorized knowledge of records when a listener calls in about the value of a record. I think he would have made a great vinyl tracker. Or at least would go on to own a store of his own someday. We get a groovy montage of Tuck taking more calls and playing his music that ends with yet another listener call. The caller asks what the rarest record the KTLP station has. Tuck explains that they are home to many unique records but that the weirdest one he ever saw is no longer at the station. Wanna guess what record that could be?
He explains that when he was still a freshman, and just an intern, that one of his jobs was going through the batches of donated collections the station took. The thought that someone would basically throw away their collection was confusing but Tuck didn’t mind. Finders keepers, I guess. He was the one who decided what stayed and what got thrown away. Then he remembers this one specific batch that wasn’t like the others. In comparison, it was like a God send.
“So we got this one collection, a doozy. Every record was a winner, and a bunch of test pressings. The guy must have been in the business or something…Most test pressings come in a plain white sleeve with some writing on them. But this one record didn’t have anything written on it at all, just some weird symbols in the dead wax, and a signature I recognized: L.M.L. Lyle M. Lytton.” Are you shocked? No? Oh, you must be catching on. Good.
“Anyways, the station used to be run by this dude Fred Shallot. Apparently, this donation was from a family friend. I hadn’t even listened to it yet, but I wanted to let Fred know what I found. He basically freaks out… Apparently, towards the end of his life, Lytton started getting into some weird shit with sound, making his own music, like weird noise and stuff. Fred said what he heard, and I am not making this up, is that Lytton was in the middle of cutting his lacquer when he had a heart attack and died.” Talk about a bummer. Tuck goes on to explain that, legend has it, the record also picks up the sound of Lytton dying. And not what you would expect. No screaming or gasping for his last breath. The actual sound of death. The sound of leaving this plane of existence. Death, on wax. And if you listen to the record? As we already know, you’re dead meat.
Next we see Tuck at the end of his shift at the station, doing his due diligence and putting the records away. Then, in a sort of ‘screw it’ moment, he grabs as many records as he can hold and heads for the door. They are getting rid of all the records anyway, so what’s the harm? In the middle of his great escape he stops by a desk, noticing someone was calling in to the station. He politely picks up to inform them that the show was over for the night but that they could call back tomorrow. The caller, a woman with a very nice accent, informs Tuck that she has the record he was talking about earlier. The Lytton lacquer. Understandably, Tuck is skeptical. Even when the caller informs him she is holding the record right now and that she could describe it. So, knowing he would remember, Tuck asks her to explain something she can see on the dead wax.
“A small person, a stick figure. Their head has a line through it.” It must be right on the money since Tuck foolishly agrees to get in a car this mysterious woman will be sending to his location. Why? So he can listen to the record, of course. Is he and Etta related by any chance? After being driven by an obvious driver, Tuck arrives to the collector’s- who looks like he just walked off the set of The Invisible Man– home and is presented with a very familiar record. After answering a random riddle Tuck is handed a pair of headphones. Tuck!! I was really starting to like you, dude!! But maybe there is hope. Just as the record begins to play he throws off the headphones (only catching a little bit of the sound), admitting that he can’t go through with it after all and runs to the door.
On the car ride back we clearly see he is clearly showing the same signs of illness as Perry. His vision blurs, every sound begins feeling ten times louder all while there’s this underline of radio static in the background. These symptoms carry on into Tuck’s next radio broadcast. He expresses genuine regret for listening to the record and just rambling on air. He must have listened longer than Perry did, as madness seems to be sinking in at a more accelerated pace. And the episode ends with one of Tuck’s listeners shutting her radio off. DEADWAX!
What we know so far/ Thoughts:
- I hope this isn’t the end of Tuck. He has already shown a near photographic memory when it comes to records. I can easily see Etta paying him a visit if he’s still alive.
- If you thought I was joking about Tuck and Etta being related then you are very wrong. I’m thinking second or third cousins.
- This could just be the conspiracy theorist in me but the eyes on the guy cosplaying as the Invisible Man looked similar to mummy man’s before he turned into a crumb cake.
Wanna know what happens next? Too impatient for me to write the next episode’s recap? I don’t blame you. Do yourself a favor and binge all 8 episodes of Deadwax on a 7-day free trail via Shudder.
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