ONE MORE SEASON OF ENTERTAINING CHILLS
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 07/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So this time the episodes are:
DEATH OF SOME SALESMAN - dir. Gilbert Adler; starring: Tim Curry, Ed Begley Jr.
AS YE SOW - dir. Kyle MacLachlan; starring: Hector Elizondo, Miguel Ferrer, Patsy Kensit.
FOREVER AMBERGRIS - dir. Gary Fleder; starring: Roger Daltrey, Steve Buscemi.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT - dir. Rodman Flender; starring: Ernie Hudson, John Laughlin, Joan Chen.
PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN BRASS HEARSES - dir. Russel Malcahy; starring: Brad Dourif, Bill Paxton.
TWO FOR THE SHOW - dir. Kevin Hooks; starring: Traci Lords, Vincent Spano.
HOUSE OF HORROR - dir. Bob Gale; starring: Kevin Dillon, Brian Krause.
WELL COOKED HAMS - dir. Elliot Silverstein; starring: Maryam D'Abo, Martin Sheen, Billy Zane.
CREEP COURSE - dir. Jeffrey Boam; starring: Jeffrey Jones, Nina Siemaszko.
CAME THE DAWN - dir. Uli Edel; starring: Perry King, Brooke Shields.
OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL - dir. Paul Abascal; starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Priscilla Presley.
HALF-WAY HORRIBLE - dir. Gregory Widen; starring: Clancy Brown, Cheech Marin.
TILL DEATH DO WE PART - dir. W. Peter Iliff; starring: Frank Stallone, Kate Vernon.
I have to say this is probably my favourite season. With brilliantly creepy "Death of Some Salesman", truly disturbing "Forever Ambergris", traditional yet surprising "House of Horror" and Psycho-esque "Came the Dawn", with all those great actors and well-known to horror buffs directors the fifth season really stands out among all others. Everyone can find a tale according to his taste here."
Another spook-tacular season
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 11/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By it's fifth season, HBO's Tales From the Crypt had more that established itself as the greatest horror/thriller anthology of it's era. The 13 tales featured in this season don't boast many of the big name horror directors of seasons past, but there's still plenty to love here. Ed Begley Jr. plays a con man who gets way, way more than he bargained for in "Death of Some Salesman"; which also features the great Tim Curry in multiple roles and was directed by Gilbert Adler who would go on to do the much maligned Bordello of Blood. "Forever Ambergris" features The Who's Roger Daltrey and Steve Buscemi as rival war photographers, who naturally get a taste of war and hell unlike either could ever imagine. "House of Horror" features Kevin Dillon as a frat leader breaking in new pledges (including Will Wheaton), Ernie Hudson stars as a gluttonous, evil man in "Food For Thought", "Creep Course" features Jeffrey Jones as a history teacher with a diabolical scam who gets the tables turned on him, and "Half-Way Horrible" is a season favorite featuring Clancy Brown as an unscrupolous businessman that finds his way into voodoo. All in all, there's plenty of blood, guts, laughs, and thrills to behold in the fifth season of Tales From the Crypt, and chances are that if you loved the series, this is already on your buy list."
WB makes one grave mistake
Bartley R. Darrow | NY | 11/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am currently watching some of the episodes of this season, but if you watch the entire opening sequence of the DVD before selecting from episodes, play, etc, they give away the twist endings for a few of the episodes. For season 6 & 7, PLEASE WB, put back the Crypt Keeper where you can select an episode."
Another Great Year of Chills and Thrills
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 07/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"TALES FROM THE CRYPT had to have been a guilty pleasure for all the actors, directors, writers, and others involved in the production of the series all seven years it was on HBO. The series was a chance for everyone who had grown up on the old EC Comics horror magazines that were jam-packed of the grossest black-and-white illustrations to ever corrupt young minds to work with those stories and bring them to life -- or unlife.
I remember coming across some of those old magazines in the swap shop where I bought my paperback books for 15¢ apiece. Since there was no tax on those piddling amounts back then, I could buy seven books or magazines. Sadly, it wasn't often I had a whole dollar to spend, nor could I get someone to take me there very often.
But when I went, it was always agony. So much to choose from, and so little I could walk out with. Even sadder, some of those magazines a pickup for 15¢ are probably worth hundreds of dollars by now - and I no longer have them!
Thankfully I have the memories. I remember opening those magazines and being totally grossed out. My mother would've had a cow if she'd known what I was reading. I was always very careful to keep those magazines hidden away under superhero comics. And if she knew I'd watched the HBO series even after I was grown up she wouldn't have been very appreciative.
HBO did a magnificent job of delivering 30 minutes of gross-out horror with a twist at the end (and even though you were expecting a twist, you did and often figure it out).
In this set, you get a mixed bag of high-powered talent, emerging talent, semi-retired talent, and even a porn star princess turned legit. Oh, and did I mentioned Tim Curry? You get Tim Curry!
In fact, Tim Curry leads off this collection in an episode called "Death of Some Salesmen". He gets to play three roles that really twist the plot on a gender bender. Ed Begley stars as a conniving salesman who gets his comeuppance at the end of the story.
Adam West and Hector Elizondo head up the cast in "As Ye Sow". It's really weird watching West play this role, since I remember him so much as Batman from the 1960s television show. If you're familiar with the EC Comics, you'll probably see the end of this one coming. But it's still neat to see these actors in these parts.
"Forever Ambergris" has a traditional kind of plot of the old master (a combat photographer) jealous of a new kid on the block. Steve Buscemi does a great job here, but the plot just isn't sparkling. It was refreshing to see Patsy Kensit, the hot blonde from Lethal Weapon 2, who had seemed to drop off the face of the earth after that movie.
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) plays Zambini, a circus psychic with the power to control others in "Food For Thought". This is a role we haven't seen Hudson in before, and he does a good job. But, again, this is one of those episodes that has a predictable ending for anyone who's become familiar with the twists and turns of the plots. Jealousy plays a part in many of the episodes.
A pair of brothers, played by Bill Paxton and Brad Dourif, try to get revenge on an old boss in "People Who Live In Breast Hearses". This episode is really well done, mixing just the right amount of gore with tongue in cheek humor. But Paxton is one of those underrated actors that's truly gifted enough to pull off any role.
Admittedly, in this day and age of terrorist paranoia, the plot of "Two For The Show" just wouldn't fly. There's no way a man could get onto a train with a suitcase full of his wife's chopped up body. However, ignoring that for 30 minutes isn't hard. Traci Lords turns in one of her better performances in this episode.
"House Of Horror" is another one of the standards from the old EC Comics days. Here we have a supposedly haunted house and a group of fraternity guys to get drunk enough to try to prove those old legends and superstitions are bunk. Kevin Dillon, Michael DeLuise, and Wil Wheaton head up the cast. Despite the old plot, chills are a-plenty and the twist is on the button.
Playing off the jealousy angle again, this time a professional jealousy, Martin Sheen stars as Zorbin the Magnificent. When he finds the younger magician who has a whole lot more talent than he does, Zorbin decides to kill the other man and steal his secrets. Of course, we know it isn't going to be that easy. Unfortunately, neither is pulling off this aged plot.
Anthony Michael Hall (Dead Zone) plays a true college cad in "Creep Course" when he lures an unsuspecting student to a professor's house and locks her in a mummy case. The professor kills his accomplice, but things don't turn out the way he thought they would.
Brooke Shields stars in "Came The Dawn", and she definitely doesn't get typecast because she plays a thief. Suffice to say this one gets a lot of its chops from one of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous movies. But it pulls them off well, and Brooke Shields is surprisingly good. Just goes to show the good material can make nearly anyone good as well.
"Oil's Well That Ends Well" is one of the two stinkers in this set. There's no polite way to put it. Even the surprising presence of Priscilla Presley and Lou Diamond Phillips can't save this one. The plot is just too predictable and the whole effort comes across as very wooden.
We have another premature burial in "Half-Way Horrible", which may have been a clue for future episodes: don't do premature burials. Cheech Marin is in this one. Marin has been in a lot of movies and television before and has done exceptionally well. His part here is small, so saving this one isn't his job. But they did have the talent. The episode just didn't come together.
The series ends on a somewhat weak note. John Stamos (Full House) plays a male escort who has agreed to marry an older woman who's insanely jealous. I hate stories where everything is "just a dream!" Have mercy!
Overall, this collection of the fifth season of TALES FROM THE CRYPT is definitely worth adding to the home library if you're a horror fan. You get a large accumulation of actors at different points in their career, who bring a lot of different takes to various roles, and get to see the final visions of a lot of directors that worked on the series. Anyone interested in film scripting, directing, or acting might be interested in picking this up, too. There's not that many places we can get this much talent for such a small price. And there's a lot of entertainment here for the horror aficionado.