Facts of the Case
Season four of Tales from the Crypt brings an eclectic batch of 14
stories, featuring samplings from pretty much every genre imaginable. Noir,
comedy, western, straight horror, monster movie, this season is a smorgasbord.
Here are some of the big names you'll find in these episodes: Tom Hanks, Joe
Pesci, Beverly D'Angelo, Margot kidder, Christopher Reeve, Judd Nelson, Dylan
McDermott, Tia Carrere, David Morse, and Brad Pitt. Oh, and who can forget Zach
Galligan? (You know, the guy from Gremlins…I think.)
Three discs, 14 episodes.
• "None but the Lonely Heart"
Directed by Tom
Treat Williams stars as a con man who makes his scratch by bilking
rich, old ladies out of their fortunes. His most recent target should set him up
for life, but someone—or something—is onto him and his past sins are
about to bite him in the ass.
More comical than horrifying, this tale
packs in the gore, culminating in trademark ending. B+
• "This'll Kill Ya"
Directed by Robert Longo
An overbearing boss of a drug research firm (Dylan McDermott) pushes his team
to develop a groundbreaking serum. But when his coworkers decide to creatively
rebel, his violent tendencies are unleashed.
A straight-edged noir
thriller, with a slick twist ending. B+
• "On a Deadman's Chest"
Directed by William
A jealous rock star can't get his best friend's wife (Tia
Carrere) out of his mind. And when a voodoo tattoo reveals what truly lurks in
his soul, it pushes him over the edge.
The hardest of the episodes, this
tale features lots of nudity and a messy—though hollow (in more ways than
Directed by Gary Fleder
crooks manipulate a wealthy man into a blackmail scheme, but the plan hits a
snag. Now the con artists have to improvise and that means putting on a phony
séance to retrieve their money. Unintended consequences ensue.
fairly light-hearted romp (spiced up with some over-the-top bloodbaths). B
• "Beauty Rest"
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
When an unlucky actress (Mimi Rogers) finds out she's lost a modeling gig to her
comely roommate (Kathy Ireland) she starts dishing out violence to finagle her
way into the pageant. But all is not what it appears to be.
builds to a major reveal, and the ending is gleefully grim enough, but somewhat
anticlimactic. Man, was Kathy Ireland hot back in the day. B
• "What's Cookin'"
Directed by Gilbert Adler
A hapless cook (Christopher Reeve) runs a flagging squid-only diner. A
mysterious employee (Judd Nelson) presents a killer recipe for barbecue that
gets the place hopping again—but why is it so delicious?
through and through. That scene with Meat Loaf is a real mess, too. And always
nice to see Christopher Reeve. A-
• "The New Arrival"
Directed by Peter Medak
A radio child psychologist, struggling in the ratings, and about to get the boot
from management decides to take his show on the road and visit a strange old
lady and her weirdo kid. But just how special are this kid's needs?
little story with a nasty ending and a creepy performance by Zelda Rubenstein.
Directed by Richard Donner
When a notorious outlaw from the Wild West (Neil Gray Guintoli) finds himself in
a dusty old town, his fate takes a turn from the bizarre: the residents are men
This is my favorite episode of the season. While not straight
horror, it is a good tale nonetheless and deftly directed by Donner. A
• "King of the Road"
Directed by Tom Holland
When a street punk (Brad Pitt) is determined to race against the legendary,
but retired, Iceman, he'll do anything to land the deal—even if it means
holding the other man's daughter hostage.
And my least favorite episode.
Pitt is a decent slimeball, but there's no twist and not much meat to the story.
• "Maniac at Large"
Directed by John
Blythe Danner plays a skittish librarian freaking out over
reports of a serial killer. And everyone's a suspect.
A decent little tale
injected with more suspense than it deserved by Frankenheimer. Another name for
the story could have been "Red Herring." B-
• "Split Personality"
Directed by Joel Silver
Joe Pesci stars as a con out for the perfect score. And he finds it in the
form of two billionaire twins with a questionable past. Can he land the deal and
end up a rich man married to two beautiful women? Or is his luck about to run
Vintage Tales from the Crypt: funny, gory and twisted. Beware
the opening title art, though; it contains spoilers. A-
• "Strung Along"
Directed by Kevin Yagher
retired, recluse puppeteer catches a big break when he's asked to perform for a
major TV show. He brings on an ambitious apprentice (Zach Galligan), but someone
has doubts about the gig: his puppet.
Another solid offering with probably
the best twist of the bunch. A-
• "Werewolf Concerto"
Directed by Steve Perry
A whodunit starring a werewolf that's terrorizing a resort. The frantic
manager (Dennis Farina) hires a hunter to track it down: but who's the werewolf?
And who's the hunter? Timothy Dalton and Beverly D'Angelo star.
Agatha Christie-like mystery is spiced up by the supernatural and Dalton is
awesome. Pretty good. B+
• "Curiosity Killed"
Directed by Elliot
Two elderly couples have discovered the secret to a youth
potion, but one overbearing wife (Margot Kidder) can screw it up for
The final tale is a little odd—and annoying. But the end
is ridiculously over-the-top. B
These shows are transferred adequately, though there's nothing special about
the quality. Grain is present throughout and the color saturation looks its age,
but it's not nearly enough to distract. Ignore the worthless "Stars of
Season Four" montage, the feature to check out is the commentary track on
"What's Cookin'," featuring John Kassir hamming it up as the
Cryptkeeper discussing the episode with writer Alan Katz and series historian