Still Waters21 Jun, 2008 By: John Latchem
Had John Waters directed Four Weddings and a Funeral, it probably would have been called Five Funerals. The cultish director was a natural choice to host “'Til Death Do Us Part,” an anthology series about spousal murder that aired on Court TV last year.
BCI releases all 13 episodes of the series as a three-DVD set July 1 at $29.98.
“I don't even like weddings,” Waters said. “In real life I'm much more comfortable at funerals. I hope this doesn't mean I won't get invited to any more weddings. During the height of the show, I went to my niece's wedding and tried not to roll my eyes or make something happen [over which] they'd kill each other.”
As host, Waters serves as the “Groom Reaper” to set up the stories, which are based on real court cases about husbands and wives killing each other.
“I thought of it as a pro-divorce show,” Waters said. “It's hard to get away with killing your spouse. Not only do you have to dispose of the body, but you're always the first suspect.”
Though many compare the format to “Tales From the Crypt,” Waters said his primary inspiration came from such 1960s suspense series as “Thriller,” hosted by Boris Karloff, and “The Twilight Zone.”
“These are shows where the host engages you,” Waters said. “In a way, I was enabling you to watch a show in which you knew the bride and groom would kill each other. If they just beat each other up it wouldn't have been as much fun. It's weird to think that murder is OK but simple abuse isn't.”
Waters said he filmed a lot of extra scenes that he assumes comprise the DVD bonus footage advertised by BCI.
“A lot of it is the Groom Reaper in his lair talking more about the background of the cases,” Waters said. “You get to see where the Groom Reaper lives.”
The show ended, Waters said, after Court TV was rebranded as TruTV, but more seasons might have been difficult anyway.
“If it were successful, you could never find enough real-life cases that were good enough, with all the plot twists you need,” Waters said. “Most husbands or wives kill each other for the boring reasons.”
Waters currently is directing Fruitcake, which he describes as a “kids' Christmas adventure,” and is writing a book called Role Models, a memoir about those who influenced him. But he looks back fondly at “'Til Death Do Us Part.”
“We had something like 1 million people watch every night,” Waters said. “I thought that was pretty good for Court TV. That's more people than watch most of my movies.”