Welcome to another recap of Best Of Incredible Tales, a TV show about everyday Singaporeans who have had their brushes with the supernatural.
Let’s get going!
Utt opens the episode by telling us that at this historic hotel, which has been here since colonial times, “Everyone checks in but not everybody checks out.”
Sara, an ex-chambermaid who’s worked in some swanky hotels, is the one who tells the tale. It is from her perspective that we witness everything.
However, Russell Lee is also credited with the story.
Yeah, that Russell Lee.
Incidentally, Sara’s new Human Resources friend is also called Mr. Lee, perhaps as a nod to the legendary weaver of tales himself. Mr. Lee is a tall and big guy, sort of like a Eurasian Penn Jillette. In Sara’s recounting of the story, Mr. Lee hires her almost on the spot.
She is told to follow Miss Manon, who is an exacting, Mrs. Danvers type of overbearing head housekeeper. Mr. Lee assures her that despite her prickly exterior, Miss Manon is actually quite sweet.
The first question she asks Sara is, “Are you kaypoh?”
Blindsided, Sara stammers until she gets a hold of herself. She then confirms that she is not the prying kind. Satisfied, Miss Manon teachers Sara her way of doing things. Sara learns quickly.
She earns her set of the housekeeper’s keys, which grants her access to all the rooms on the two floors she’s in charge of.
She is told to never, ever go into Room 2220.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a story if Sara doesn’t pay the forbidden room a visit.
Suffice to say that even Mr. Lee isn’t too keen on telling Sara why Room 2220 is off limits.
During an after hours chat in the staff pantry, Mr. Lee encourages Sara to tell him what she really thinks about the job. And to ask him questions, any questions.
His response to her inquiring about Room 2220?
To leave his coffee behind, forgotten, after he tells her, “Some things are best left alone.”
I won’t spoil the episode for you by telling you too much.
What I will say is that this episode really stands out in several ways. The soundtrack is a little dated but still great. The use of many overhead shots give us a sense that something is watching everybody. The abundance of secrets in the hotel, staircases that are present in many shots, Mr. Lee jokingly calling Miss Manon one of the hotel’s relics… All these things come together in a very Hitchcockian way.
This is Jeffrey Lim’s story. I wish I could say this episode also stands out. But it’s truly mediocre. I’m not sure why it’s even included in Best Of Incredible Tales.
Our story begins when Jeffrey and Shermaine go for a picnic in Choa Chu Kang. Shermaine is tasked with finding a good spot for their picnic as Jeffrey goes to unload the car. She sees something at an imposing banyan tree and is rooted to the spot.
When Jeffrey returns, Shermaine is visibly disturbed by what she saw. She begs to return home and Jeffrey obliges.
What follows next is the tropiest, most boring case of possession ever committed to film.
She combs her hair in a trance, acting as though her hair is much longer than it is.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same thing happened in Taxi, to the taxi driver’s wife. Hair combing is such a trope in horror movies that this scene made the jump from Japanese horror to American horror, when Ringu became The Ring.
I will concede that it was pretty funny to watch Jeffrey try to ignore her strange behaviour at first. And then, to watch him call his best bro, Michael, when things really start to go south.
But the most remarkable thing to happen in this episode is unrelated to Jeffrey’s story.
It’s that Mel Gill appeared without a hat!
This time we’re here at Holland Hill, a very upscale area then and now. For reference, a penthouse in Holland Hill was sold for $15 million in 2020.
Some expats are living it up with their friends when their game night is interrupted.
Two of their lady friends decide to leave when they heard strange humming but are not being taken seriously. The guys resign themselves to an early night but hardly get any rest.
After all, another extremely boring ghostly occurrence keeps happening.
A strange lady keeps humming a certain tune and then sitting on their beds.
There’s no backstory, nothing, just an off-handed remark about Holland Hill having lots of burial grounds. And that maybe their apartment was built on one?
Tell that to people living in Bishan, or people who have applied for flats in Bidadari.
Don’t have Netflix? You also watch Incredible Tales on MeWatch online, although the video quality is not quite as crisp.
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