Tales from the Crypt is no Sopranos, but in its day it was HBO's most popular original series. Based on the EC Horror comics of the 1940s and 1950s, these short shock-and-suspense stories with twist (and often twisted) end... more »ings weren't exclusively horror tales, but they consistently mined, in a comic sort of way, the dark side of human nature. The three episodes directed by series coproducer Robert Zemeckis are among the most memorable. In "All Through the Night," perhaps the single most famous story from the original comic book series, a psychotic killer dressed as Santa escapes Christmas Eve and terrorizes a middle-class home where murder has already made a holiday appearance: a homicidal wife plunges a fireplace poker into her husband's skull. (It was also adapted in the 1972 British anthology movie Tales from the Crypt). Kirk Douglas stars as a blood-and-thunder World War I general who discovers his son is a coward in the grim "Yellow," the most dramatically acute of the trio. Digital magic morphs Humphrey Bogart into "You, Murderer," a high-concept, rather gimmicky tale of murder, double crosses, and poetic justice as seen through a dead man's eyes. Isabella Rossellini (daughter of Bogie's Casablanca costar Ingrid Bergman) and John Lithgow costar as plotting lovers. Zemeckis has a great deal of fun with the first and last films, giving them a flamboyant comic book exaggeration, but the underplayed irony of "Yellow" makes it one of the darkest, most affecting stories in the series' run. --Sean Axmaker« less
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 10/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on stories from the deliciously depraved E.C. horror comics (TALES FROM THE CRYPT, VAULT OF HORROR, HAUNT OF FEAR) of the 1950s, TALES FROM THE CRYPT was a TV horror anthology that, like most TV anthologies, had a lot of both hits and misses. Some of the stories really stank, but when a story was a hit, it was usually dead on (excuse the pun). This DVD represents three episodes that HBO execs apparently consider hits, probably because they were all directed by the renowned and Oscar-winning (1994's FORREST GUMP) Robert Zemeckis. And though CRYPT fans would like to see more episodes made available on DVD, the execs made pretty good selections with this lot.The first story, "And All Through the House," is definitely the scariest of the three. It's about a disgruntled wife who murders her husband on Christmas Eve, only to have a madman dressed in Santa garb show up to deliver her just deserts. It is a particulary frightening morality play not only because it warns that "what goes around, comes around"; it also makes a multi-faceted statement about innocence and youth, as it is the murderous woman's little daughter who ultimately lets "Santa" into the house. Larry Drake delivers a delectably deranged performance as the insane Saint Nick. (This has proven to be one of the most enduring stories from the original E.C. Comics series, as it was also previously dramatized in 1972 as one portion of an excellent five-part British flick entitled TALES FROM THE CRYPT. In that version, Joan Collins--DYNASTY's Alexis Carrington Colby--played the part of the homicidal wife.)In the second story, "Yellow," Kirk Douglas is a stone-hearted, by-the-book WWI General and, his son, Eric Douglas, is a craven Lieutenant under the General's command. Embarrassed by his "yellow" progeny, the General engages his son in an insidious course of action that will save the young man's reputation as well as allow the General himself to save face. Although the ending is easily predictable, the acting is top-notch and the depiction of WWI is fairly gruesome (for TV, anyway), and it all adds up to an engaging and suspenseful drama. This is definitely the strongest episode of the trio, though not as scary as the first.The last of the three offerings, "You, Murderer," is also the weakest. It covers the last day in the life of a business exec who, altered via plastic surgery to hide from a dark past, is blackmailed and then offed by his cuckolding wife and her lover. Though the plot is a bit cliche and its ending predictable, the episode does, nonetheless, have a few interesting aspects: one, the story is told via flashbacks from the point of view of the already-dead exec; two, á la plastic surgery, the exec is the spitting image of Humphrey Bogart; and three, great performances are delivered by Isabella Rossellini (daughter of the real-life Bogart's CASABLANCA costar Ingrid Bergman) and character actor John Lithgow. The episode's biggest flaw is the special effects, which are primarily computerized insertions of Bogart film-clips á la FORREST GUMP. Unlike in GUMP, the effects come across as embarrasingly cheesy, and the manner in which they are utilized is very awkward to the flow of the narrative. Still, it's an entertaining entry for CRYPT, just one that is not up to par with the other two on this disc.One minorly disappointing aspect to the DVD overall is the fact that there are no extras on the disc. Some HBO or syndication promotional spots or an interview with Zemeckis would've been nice, or maybe even a behind-the-scenes short featuring our gregarious host, The Crypt Keeper. Still, this DVD is well worth the expense, especially for fans of TALES FROM THE CRYPT or fans of the horror genre in general. At Amazon.com's asking price, the cost is less than $5 per episode, and that's cheaper than the cost-per-episode charged for many TV shows in either VHS or DVD format!"
Great. but only 3 of the episodes.
ryan | united states | 01/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this is worth buying if you are even a remote fan of tales from the crypt, however; it's only has 3 of many episodes on it. "yellow" is my personal favorite. they need to release more of the episodes on DVD so i, and everyone else who wants it, could have the complete collection."
"Of all the television series I want on DVD, Tales From The Crypt is it!I hope this is just the first in a long running set for this series, but it doesn't look like it.This DVD contains the three episodes done by Robert Zemeckis.And All Through the House" (1989), remided me of the 'Tales From The Crypt - Have A Scary Little Christmas' CD I've had for quite a while. Basically the same backdrop of the story told on the CD is here, except for the 'Mother' killing her husband. Anyhow, that's how it starts, but what the poor mother does not know is that an escaped lunatic is on the prowl."Yellow" (1991), A dang good yarn if I do say so eh kiddies? Martin Sheen's excellent in this story of a san who cannot live up to his father's aspects of courageousness."You, Murderer" (1995), is really wierd. Stars Humphrey Bogart, Sherilyn Fenn, and some other famous personalities and basically the tale is in Bogart's voice. He is dead (murdered actually) but can still see what is happing around him, hear everything, and worse feel everything! Pretty good set. Some great stars in these episodes and I really loved the episode 'Yellow'.Hopefully more will be produced as I love the whole series."
Great series, short DVD
sinisterfiend666 | the master of Horror | 05/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I would definitely consider buying the "Tales from the Crypt - The First Season" DVD over this DVD. This one is just way to incomplete"