|03-02-2013, 11:50 PM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2007
Tales from the Crypt: My Episode Rank
Well, of the first 6 seasons at least. And, a warning- some of the pics might give away the twist at the end. So, potential spoilers. (Oh, and I suppose I'll have to take apart the twists in some of my summaries. Forget the warning; spoilers all over the place.)
#80. "Collection Completed" (S1/E6)
What's Right with It: The sound design and music score are extremely chilling, M. Emmet Walsh is great.
What's Wrong with It: Cruelty to animals on film, even simulated, deeply offends me. Now, if you saw the episode, you might be thinking it's no big deal. There's no real onscreen violence and, yes, seeing just how many animals she gives Jonas to work with makes it absurd that he would have such a vast "collection" (she has a freaking swan for a pet?). It's not taking itself seriously, is it? No. But Audra Lindley sure as hell is. This guy is clearly an asshole for killing the animals but, he's also really torturing her in doing so. This makes him instantly forfeit his right to complain about being treated as less important than the pets. Also- the episode does not treat her fairly. Sometimes she's crazy for the sake of a joke (which I don't have a problem with- the episode had a good thing going with the really cynical observational humor yet paired with wacky music cues), then toward the end she's really on the edge and treated as fairly pathetic. The episode basically is picking on a "little old lady" who is not entirely in her right mind. There's something really wrong with that. Like- messed up in the head, of the people who filmed it. Finally, I would say this is painfully aimless social commentary. I've heard people actually talk like Jonas and their complaints are valid. This thing treats his very real problems like a joke and then gives him the animals to take out his frustrations on. That's at best cowardly, and at worst sick. What if they were in their 20's or 30's and had a baby? It wouldn't be treated as funny and in the end, one of them would kill it by shaking it to death. Animals don't have to be treated better than people, they just need to stop being treated by screenwriters as dirt. The humans don't fare much better here either.
#79. "On a Deadman's Chest" (S4/E3)
What's Right with It: ^ You're lookin' at it.
What's Wrong with It: Other than the fact that the music sucks (my opinion) and the entire story is lousy "excesses of the rock world" cliches (didn't they make several movies about that already, most notably- The Decline of Western Civilization Part II?), this is one seriously fucking sexist episode. I might have mentioned it when I mini-reviewed William Friedkin's The Guardian in the October Halloween 2011 viewing thread but, Friedkin really did have a serious problem with women in the late 80's / early 90's. Whether this is at heart about how you can't trust anyone when "fortune and fame" are involved or not, there is a "bro's bond" thread at the center and Tia Carrere - who almost seems legitimately concerned about Nick the "good" rocker's career and wants to protect him from Danny the bad rocker - is pretty much treated as a one-note harpy. Even after she receives a far more brutal death scene than even most "bad" characters in the series deserves, we have to listen to Danny and Sherrie Rose (who comes back for Season 6's "Only Skin Deep") rant about what a "bitch" she was. What else would they call her? I don't care. I say it's the episode's way of throwing in a dig at any woman, whenever they can. And groupie Sherrie has no character herself. She literally shows up to make things worse for everyone, show her tits, and embody a kind of "whore's hypocrisy." Danny didn't have to betray her for her to run to Nick with "he killed Scarlett, man!" Finally, there's just no awesome in this episode. It does seem to be moralizing instead of being ambiguous and there's nobody to "love to" hate. Sherrie Rose is no Katey Sagal from Season 2's "For Cryin' Out Loud," who was awesome. And Tia Carrere's part here can only be seen as a shame on who she was in Wayne's World. Strong, good hearted, sexy, and purely awesome. They pretty much cast her here because of that film. Which just goes to show how much the guys behind this episode didn't get it. Even in her capacity as the Jeanine Pettibone of ths episode, she is grossly misused and underwritten.
#78. "Strung Along" (S4/E12)
What's Right with It: Donald O'Connor. The "twist" didn't suck. And, at first, the marriage between the Joseph and Ellen characters didn't seem insanely unbelievable.
What's Wrong with It: I give all who read this a free pass to throw things at me and tell me "D'UH! That was the point!" But... Patricia Charbonneau is really terrible in this episode. She's not the only one, but what really puts this episode in the painfully bad category is her thoughtless, ridiculous, shrill, and almost completely out-of-nowhere shouting jags. She has every right to be "sick and tired" in her relationship and resent Joseph's jealousy. Which, by the way, also makes it a lot harder to feel bad for him, which is kinda necessary to facilitate the revenge motivation (since I think the final shot suggests that Koko/Coko wasn't really doing the killing at all) at the end. Okay, both of these things are established. Fine. In fact, she has to confront him or else she's a pushover. But watching her scream at what I hope is the top of her lungs, at this man who is so far away from where she is at that moment... No, I think I've really got something here. She is petty as hell. She even starts shouting "how fucking dare you" at Zach Galligan in order to get Joseph involved. What does he do? He shows up like the Sweetest Old Guy in the World, which is why we kinda like him no matter how controlling he is. This is why I have such a big problem with her screaming at him like she does. He doesn't show one minute inclination that he has a louder, angrier side. Tone it down, lady!! Worse still, she's giving the head banger's equivalent of a one-woman Soap Opera show. Does O'Connor look like the kind of guy who belongs in a soap opera showdown? This is so badly staged and so poorly thought out. And watching it is beyond painful- my face starts looking like an inkblot while it plays through. So, yeah, maybe the point of this was that she was trying to induce a heart attack any way she could. But the importance of this doesn't factor in until the twist. And frankly, she sucks the whole way through. Now, let's talk about Galligan for a second. I've always had a thing for him because (among other things) his bedroom-voice is so intensely seductive. Only... that's the way he always talks. At one point O'Connor says "you're kissing my butt"... that's exactly what it feels like he's doing.
#77. "In the Groove" (S6/E10)
What's Right with It: Wendie Malick. And... Miguel Ferrer in leather pants.
What's Wrong with It: The pants aren't tight enough.
And the twist is godawful! The episode was already pretty bad beforehand (Rhett nailed it thoroughly in his summary) but... this twist is so bad, it makes you think less of the producer's staff of the show. I don't know how closely they were forced to follow the comics but I believe some of the twists in previous episodes changed drastic details- to say nothing of the rest of the plot. Episodes changed things before. Damn it: the mother's ghost should have come back and enacted supernatural revenge. The twist we do get; predictable doesn't even begin to cover it. Take a poll, I'm willing to bet almost every single person watching would come up with what it was in 2 guesses or less. This episode also reminds me of why the producer's shouldn't have cast Crypt with people we like from similar movies or shows. Just because Linda Doucett was great on Larry Sanders didn't mean she'd be great here. And she isn't. Wendie Malick is always great, though.
One last complaint: "Tasty Treats." This episode lost a half-star in its' rating for that line alone.
#76. "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" (S2/E10)
What's Right with It: "You inbred fucking Cabbage Patch kid!"
What's Wrong with It: This show has a lot of nostalgia / period piece episodes. It was inevitable that somewhere along the way, someone would have to stop the train and say: ..."I don't care." Episodes like "Seance" or "Dead Right" took the period piece thing and made their own world out of it. They used the "good old days" attitude the filmmakers' had toward the comics to inject some style and flavor into the 80's-tastic television trends of the time (while the 90's worked on finding an aesthetic voice of its' own). But, I have to draw the line: I don't care about ventriloquism. And there has to be something more to make me care about Bobcat Goldthwait's grown-up kid, Billy. Oh, wait- the episode just uses this as a front so you'll watch him start swearing and swinging a baseball bat around, breaking everything in sight, and go: "that's the guy I like." The one from the Police Academy movies (a reputation Goldthwait later poked fun at on Larry Sanders). Sure, that's the Bobcat I like too. But, neither him nor Don Rickles actually fit into this episode's lame, "sad," and sappy storyline. Washed up comics, tragic backstories, a whodunit murder-mystery subplot, and carnival freakshow rolled into one? Who wants to see that? Well, maybe if it had looked better (another Rhett charge I agree with) or had any bite to it- I could say I do. But this is boring and awful. Hoggle from Labyrinth is both scarier and funnier than mutant Morty.
#75. "Surprise Party" (S6/E11)
What's Right with It: The costumes. The acting is very strong, from everyone. The saxophone dance song that plays during Josie's dialogue is very moody and effective in suggesting dread. It seems stylish and the set design is great as well.
What's Wrong with It: The... Fucking... Twist. You do not have an episode where ghosts take physical form and say things like "it won't bite you- I'm the thing that's gonna do that" and end it with the devious ghoul who says that suddenly looking like a tired pot of crap and light him on fire. You said you were going to BITE him, I want to see that. The episode spent its' time making their antagonist this ultra-arrogant, ultra-snobby bastard and got its' wish that we would want to see him get killed in a horrible way. Fire... is anti-climactic. Oh, sure, it's eye for an eye / burn for a burn. But now, goddamn it, this line doesn't make sense: "I was just praying you weren't going to be some pathetic little creature." You wouldn't see him if he wasn't there to kick you out. It's the same fucking motivation all ghosts use to avenge-haunt their victims in every movie where a specific place is cursed or haunted. Now I'm meant to believe she was saying that line with this meaning instead: "Mmmm, now I know you'll burn real good." He didn't. The burning scene is a joke. Nothing about it is satisfying. It looks stupid and doesn't feel like revenge. I want gore when I'm made to expect gore. I want to see someone devoured when I hear lines like "I'm gonna" "bite you" and 'you're not" "some pathetic little creature." This was more than disappointment- it's a bad twist. And the entire episode hinged on it anyway. Everything that happened was a lead up to it. The rest of the episode doesn't work without it. "We're so glad we spent all this time playing with you for kicks, now we're going to act like our revenge is our quest for eternal pece." No, they were fucking evil. Now they're not? It also doesn't help that the makeup effects suck a lot.
#74. "Carrion Death" (S3/E3)
What's Right with It: Gore.
What's Wrong with It: Does the desert have some magic Confessional power that I'm not aware of? Why the hell are we listening to both these guys talking to themselves? Even when they talk to each other, they're talking to themselves. "I'm gonna take each and every one of those dead presidents outta your hide." Either have the balls to shout it so he can hear you or shut the fuck up. It's an episode about walking through the desert to one's fate or whathaveyou. I can watch this without monologues. In the form of dialogue. Spoken to absolutely no one. And, no, the vulture is not a character. Maybe they intended him to be but I'm not buying it. The episode is also the character's op-ed on women. I'm sorry but: who the fuck cares? It's really a trend of the show, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a half dozen or more "women: can't [fill in the blank], can't [fill in the blank]"s over the course of the whole series. The dialogue and radio announcement telling us this guy is a rape-killer type is all post-production added. So, it's really more about a bank robber who is mauled by a cop acting very much against his training because that's how cops roll. I don't like stereotyping either way, I can watch a movie/show taking down bad cops or showing the struggles of good cops. But, don't expect me to go along with a cop who just wants to be a hero and doesn't care how he catches his criminal. That comes with bullshit baggage all its' own.
#73. "The Sacrifice" (S2/E7)
What's Right with It: The music. Michael Ironside. The opening credits. Looks great.
What's Wrong with It: The acting is pretty bad. I don't know if I would say the actors are the problem. The writing is pretty bad, so it's pretty hard to blame them. Don Hood is definitely miscast as Kim Delaney's pretentious, Nike-chic'd millionaire husband (where were you when they were casting "Strung Along"). Like I'm really going to listen to a guy like this lecture me on "money, pussy, and bullshit." Kevin Kilner is too much of a boy scout to make me believe he'd ever kill anyone for money. It would have been more interesting to see him cast as someone else's trophy husband. And, frankly, Kim Delaney doesn't belong here either. This could be the fault of the writing or pacing. She's a cheap "bitch" for someone who walks away winning the "evil prize" of the episode and yet, even though she gets to say the nastiest thing in the episode (after Kilner asks her what he can do: "same thing you've been doing for the past three months- nothing," like he really has a choice), I feel nothing watching her emerge victorious at the end other than knowing she didn't earn it. The twist is also completely predictable. Rhett mentioned that there just isn't enough time to tell the story and that's what sinks the twist. The lovemaking scene with Kilner and Delaney not only feels far too G-rated because of the hasty pacing but it's also an info-dump scene where he has to fall in love with her in 90 seconds as they plan the murder and she acts very "I know" about his love. If that doesn't tell you she's in it for the money, nothing would (read: you're thick as fuck).
#72. "Food for Thought" (S5/E4)
What's Right with It: Uh... uh... uh... John Laughlin in tanktops.
What's Wrong with It: Repeat viewings reveal it to be...not as bad as it is the first time you see it. But, regardless of how much it may work for the ape's story that Zambini has to kill Johnny to make her revenge palpable, it makes Connie look like a huge idiot for waiting until his death to get her to break Zambini's hold over her. It also makes it seem like she wouldn't have appreciated Johnny but more what he represented: getting off your butt and making your own happy ending. It was just a little too easy for her to walk out on Zambini at that moment. He was equally vulnerable and not willing to stop her whenever he was cooking. Wait a minute- why am I explaining this; did anyone buy this ending anyway? I doubt it. Anyway, this really used to piss me off. Now I see the episode is just boring.
#71. "Well Cooked Hams" (S5/E8)
What's Right with It: Uh... Martin Sheen's accents?
What's Wrong with It: Billy Zane. He must have resented this show and hated the script they gave him, because he is either deliberately sabotaging the episode with his "acting" or he really has absolutely no talent. As he lies dying in his character's final moments, he says "someone, help me!" like someone just stepped on his foot. He shouts "someone let me out" of the box as he's about to be rammed through with swords and have his face rearranged with acid with the urgency of "oh, well this is just great." And the entire episode is like this. Every last scene he's in runs this way. And he's in every scene. Even if this was a great story or it was scary or fascinating, Zane's arrogance would make me want to punch him in the face. And not because he was a dick to his assistants or I liked Sheen's super-magicians. The whole "this here is a motion picture camera" thing was interesting though.
#70. "Operation Friendship" (S6/E4)
All the problems in this episode, in my opinion, are tonal. Titling it "Operation Friendship" is the same as saying "this show's too down-in-the-dumps. Time to perk it up." I assume the original comic had some element of menace. This episode replaces all of that with really bad goofy music cues and... more period piece elements. This time, let's be honest: this is the G-rated version of Season 2's "My Brother's Keeper." A 30-something y/o adult male is tickled by peeping at obese neighbors in their underwear? Maybe calling this a period piece is unfair, but I don't get why Nelson and Eddie are so childish. Children who aren't aware a day has passed since the early 1950's. And Peter Dobson is channeling Robin Williams (dear god WHY?). But, I do think Tate Donovan is highly sympathetic and likable when "Eddie" isn't around. Him and Michelle Burke even have a very good scene going together, at the restaurant, before the episode throws the monkeywrench back into gear. Actually, she's great throughout and... Tate has a great body.
#69. "Only Skin Deep" (S6/E2)
What's Right with It: Sherrie Rose actually delivers a good performance this time. In one scene. William Malone knows how a horror movie should look. The music is excellent.
What's Wrong with It: Linda is an abuse victim. You can tell because she goes up to the guy who beat her alone in a room full of people drinking alcohol who aren't paying attention and is extremely proud to admit "you beat me" over and over ... I'm not certified or anything but I do think a psychologist might think this is not exactly typical behavior for a battered ex-girlfriend recently split from her abuser. Exactly where does she get a "nah nah nyanyanya" attitude from after having been viciously, near-fatally strangled? Methinks Exposition dictated her to act like a jackass. A bad excuse. Fast forward 5 minutes: sex scene. I remember they had sex. Nothing else sticks out in my mind. Fast forward 5 minutes: Carl is full of shit. I quote, "I just wanna enrich an already wonderful thing." Is he aware he's feeding her a line? Because this is extremely bad character development. Sherrie Rose can't emote. And the twist is macabre but entirely meaningless.
#68. "King of the Road" (S4/E9)
What's Right with It: It's well-paced and I thought the acting was excellent from everyone.
What's Wrong with It: After it's half-over, boredom has set in and your mind starts working on what the twist will be. Is Brad Pitt a ghost looking for revenge? Are both racers going to die in a tragic accident? Will one of them accidentally kill the daughter? Will the daughter accidentally kill the father? Will other cops show up and accidentally kill all 3 of them? Will something go wrong with the cars? Will Brad Pitt win the race and be set free by the father? Will the daughter shoot someone with the gun? There is no twist here. None whatsoever. Just the promise of a dramatic showdown race between Brad Pitt and the father, a very undramatic race between them, and a very abrupt end to the race with a surprisingly obvious outcome. Think real simple. This lacks any and all sense of danger and the characters are completely hollow and dull beyond the attractive cast.
#67. "Whirlpool" (S6/E3)
What's Right with It: I actually loved the visual effects and wacky camerawork ("Operation Friendship" might have benefitted from this thinking). Rita Rudner was a better bitch in 30 seconds than Kim Delaney was in 30 minutes. It's only 20 minutes long, so it isn't long enough to make you want to stab yourself in the leg. The music doesn't suck. Oh yeah, and, Rhett: here are your Season 6 Boobs.
What's Wrong with It: Yeah... nothing happens. Put "The Trap" and "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" together - both of which managed to freak me out - and you get this. And... why was that battalion so trigger happy, anyway?
#66. "Lover Come Hack to Me" (S1/E5)
What's Right with It: Save for the insanely detailed and lengthy sex scene and the awful twist, the whole set-up for this episode is fun and up to a point, it always works on me. It's incredibly creepy for well over the first 10 minutes and Amanda Plummer's performance works in spite of how overbearingly antagonistic he is. And he blows up at everything. She should have asked him long before "you don't love me, do you?" And, yet, I bought it. The music is dread filled, the dark stormy night is one hell of a mood-setter, and if I had to spend the night in that house, I'd be terrified to go to sleep. Lots of spooky blue light.
What's Wrong with It: That twist is epically bad- "a love is always better in memory- just kill the man." I'm sure that's why some female species eat their mates. And, I can't emphasize "really" enough- we really didn't need that sex scene. And... Stephen Shellen isn't really "good" at any time during the episode but... he talks to himself here. You know how I feel about that.
#65. "Revenge is the Nuts" (S6/E5)
What's Right with It: Anthony Zerbe is great as the villain. I actually cared about what happened to Teri Polo for once (can't say the same applied to Meet the Parents, even though I like that movie; the first only). And, for some reason, I really wanted to see her and Benny become a couple. He (John Savage) was also very likable.
What's Wrong with It: Are these people trying to make us slit our fucking wrists???!!! Remember when Michelle Johnson talked about death being the greatest cure for boredom in "Split Second"? The music and the visual look of this episode are literally suffocatingly dull. Only, the pain is slow. And lasting. My mind tosses its focus back and forth between how much I think I feel for the characters and how sorry I am for myself. The episode is all gray. I love overcast skies. But, then you get air. You still get fresh air. You get smothered here. It's the ugliest episode of the entire series. I can't tell you how happy I was to see the brown of the wood walls all those razor blades were stuck in... when the hanging lamp swung the light on it. Also... why is this called "Revenge is the Nuts" if it takes place in a home for the blind? We all know nobody in the episode was crazy. So the brother was loaned out from an institution... he still wasn't crazy. He was even more moral about hurting Zerbe than anyone else was.
#64. "Half-way Horrible" (S5/E12)
What's Right with It: Rhett got 'em all.
What's Wrong with It: Rhett got most but I want to drop another bomb- bad special makeup effects. This will come back big when I get to "Death of Some Salesmen," but why does the camera do such huge closeups on dead bodies that look awful (and not in the way they're supposed to)? I'll be more specific later but, I'd rather be grossed out by something that I feel looks realistic or genuinely reminds me of horrifying things that actually happen to people. Being injected with a syrum that preserves your skin and flesh for eternity really makes your face bloat out in huge bubbles? Give me Death Becomes Her, and its' theory that the damage that comes to your body as a result of this is based on how well or badly you take care of yourself, any day. (Isn't one of Clancy Brown's moron friends that Hoffman guy from the Saw sequels?)
#63. "Lower Berth" (S2/E14)
What's Right with It: Stefan Gierasch has some fun moments as the whistling-drunkard. I knew I would freak when Myrna opened her eyes (I did).
What's Wrong with It: Bo-ring.
#62. "Came the Dawn" (S5/E10)
What's Right with It: All in the ideas. Some cool slasher movie elements. Mysterious and beautiful angry woman picked up by suspicious guy with questionable motives, news of a killer circulating, they go to cabin in woods, there's greed involved, a seduction takes place, a love-triangle develops with an unseen 3rd party. Who's the killer? Where / when will they strike next? And which one of our two scummy characters will be the next victim?
What's Wrong with It: All in the execution. The only time you get blood, it looks incredibly fake. Brooke Shields is terrible. The twist really does rip-off Dressed to Kill. Why the hell would any woman laugh at a line as bad as: "the demure way they go to the bathroom with their skirts hiked up around their waists"?!?! Is a man dressed as a woman ever really scary?
#61. "Oil's Well That Ends Well" (S5/E11)
What's Right with It: It's intentionally campy. And, if that's what they wanted, they sure cast this right. Giving Kassir a human role was a good idea, after all- he's not usually terrible. Lou Diamond Phillips can only be described as "tastefully" over the top. Also... thinking about the plot of the episode... did it need to be serious? It's not good, but, how much better did it need to be? I say not much. I can't see this working any better had they aimed for "Deadline" sophistication. The problem is that there's no precedent for this in the series. The closest episodes I can think of are "The Third Pig" (which is far worse) and "Undertaking Palor," which just turns the adults into kids. I don't know why, but this episode really doesn't bother me. Even though I think they sure as hell could do better with the theme of feminism.
What's Wrong with It: Rhett best summed it up with these words- "uncalled for." Much as I don't object to this trying to be campy, what compelled the people in charge of this one to even think of it? Here's the director: "Okay, in this scene... You wiggle." Could have saved a lot of time if someone behind the scenes had said: "how about if we just wiggle here?"
Just 'cuz, you should be reading it.
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Last edited by DVD-fanatic-9; 03-03-2013 at 02:34 AM.