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Old 03-06-2013, 09:32 PM   #16
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I pretty much agree with your #40-21 list, although my order would be quite a bit different. The only episode I didn't really like at all was "None but the Lonely Heart". Can't wait to read your Top 20 as I am waiting to see a lot of my favourites. Been enjoying going through these though, really makes me want to pull out my Season sets and start watching them all.
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Old 03-09-2013, 02:07 AM   #17
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#20-11:


#20. "Television Terror" (S2/E16)


Time to eat some crow... I don't like this episode anymore. Part of that clearly comes with the same "my brain lied to me" high-expectations that bothered me with "Korman's Kalamity" after seeing most of it as a kid. But, even more holes have been poked into this after at least 5 re-watches. Now, as I said before, I don't even like it. And there's no real reason that should be. As, this is one of the few episodes where there isn't really a twist. Just a very natural progression for what they've set up. So, with that in mind... why didn't they go all the way? Logic is thrown right out the window when the booth see Trip's dead body... and don't pull the plug immediately. "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it- it really looks real!" Uh... yeah, that's right: Horton and Trip planned to kill Trip, bloody his head, and hang him from the ceiling then set this all up within the minute they were having camera problems... Meanwhile, the air is holding the camera. Someone who went in with them even though you know the entire crew is standing outside the house (for...some reason) and watched Horton and Trip go in alone- okay, the booth are a bunch of idiots. Furthermore, we meet Horton and, we get it: he's a douchebag. They tightly wrap up the character in the one scene of him and producer Sam talking about who has edge and who doesn't. She goes back to the booth and says the things she can't say to his face. Fine, she's entitled. That's enough, guys. Good job. Then, the director has to get in his digs: "you fuckin' dickhead!" Did these guys have a relationship that I don't know about? I don't know this guy, why am I listening to him criticizing Horton? Isn't his "if you dare" line a good way to bait viewers? This is kinda hurting his ability to play shocked audience at the end.

Then, Trip's got an attitude too. I... don't... know this guy! Now I think I know how the Scream haters feel, because this is exactly the kind of thing they were complaining about with that film. Only, this doesn't make any sense. "Wow- I feel like I'm in fuckin' Lost in Space." WHAT???!!! What are you talking about? What does that mean? It's dusty? It's dark? It feels like a barren wasteland? Uh... that's because nobody's lived there in years, genius! This guy is clearly a type. And we're supposed to accept that and move on. Well, it's not 1989 anymore. This guy isn't a type anymore. He's a person. And this is a 20-minute episode. There is time to build up your characters, guys. So I don't have to ask all these questions about these people who have no relationship with Horton, yet have a bunch of things to say to him. There's time to explain or at least show us why there are at least a dozen extra crew members at the beginning, yet absolutely none at the end who aren't in the booth. Or why Dr. Wirkshafter is suddenly completely missing. Wouldn't it help the atmosphere if they heard noises or just got a cold feeling and left then? Or ran away when they heard screaming? How would this be a waste of time? See, this is an episode about sensationalism- is it not? Wouldn't it help the theme if there were a lot more going on outside the house? They sure is in the beginning. Then, at the end... nothing. Just 3 people reacting like "look what we've done...", well, frankly- you didn't do it alone. Yet, there you sit alone. Taking all the guff I've got to give for treating Trip's death the same way you treat Horton's. Again...would help immensely if there were an explanation for this. Something I could point to in hindsight that doesn't leave me feeling irritated.

Or, better yet, something that doesn't leave me to cannibalize the rest of the episode. Which is where I'm about to go: why is the floor a mat of some sort? Underneath the carpet, Horton's footsteps are sinking in like he's standing on a couch. Or: did he really just crash through a table, collapsing it to the floor, like it was a dollhouse? (Note: the director was previously a stuntman and stunt coordinator.) Is that old lady with the chainsaw supposed to be scary? This time, I'm not going to say we should have seen more of her beforehand. We saw plenty. I applaud their idea to hide her face until this reveal. But... the reveal has nothing to it. It's just An Old Lady with a Chainsaw. Making stupid faces. At this rate, they could have just continued hiding her face and probably have done a better job. I've never seen a chainsaw murder played so blandly. Is all the cursing and angered, impatient dialogue being used to drive up tension? Because in that case, my mind re-imagined this episode for a reason. Anything would have been scarier and more tense than these final few minutes are. Old man ghosts in white face makeup? Wasn't sitting through The Sentinel once enough? Anyway... enough bitching. Does it deserve Top 20 placement? I think with most people, they know this is all we're ever going to get with this formula which is fascinating and does need some form of representation. So, I will go with the majority on this one. After all: there is still some good mood, the core idea of do-anything-to-get-ratings is relevant, the moment with the house shaking around and doors bleeding is excellent, and Morton Downey Jr. was fantastic.




#19. "Cutting Cards" (S2/E3)


Lance is supposed to be John Wayne or Clint Eastwood or some kind of rogue cowboy here. His match, the guy from the 1989 tacky action romp Road House, Kevin Tighe, is not quite the actor Henriksen is but he does pathetic rather well (his only choice since he's up against one of the most imposing men in cinema history). By the time there are 2 bullets left and he lucks out, it makes sense that he is so full of excitement that he can't pretend to be cool anymore (coupled with the leftover fear of possibly getting the bullet that turn). Nearly every sentence of his, he just can't wait to get the words out of his mouth. Henriksen is perfect at waiting for his moment. He takes every last one of his turns like it's the one that really counts. Then, Tighe blows his- I'd say every one out of 3 (perfectly molding his finger-losing "O"-face well in advance). Which is a lot considering how dialogue-centered this episode is and how much it derives intensity from the performances. If the name of this game is stubborn competition, this episode earns big points for finding a way to make it compelling in spite of its' childishness. It sure as hell isn't scary. But, with this bizarre relationship, there is bound to be some entertaining friction. So let's just say, whether it's the greatest showdown or not- the time flies. A bit of gore is welcome here. But, the most intriguing thing about the entire episode is an interruption to their gun fight that actually suggests they more than respect each other, despite their bickering. Though I just can't help but say I'd more enjoy watching Lance as a stripping cowboy or romantic leading man than as a rough-edged cardplayer. He'd already done the "this town ain't big enough" toughguy routine more effectively in the vampire-western Near Dark, playing a more world-weary character with a greater air of authority and command.




#18. "The Reluctant Vampire" (S3/E7)


I don't know if you know this, but I'm a real romantic at heart (one of my favorite horror films, and this is entirely relevant here, is John Landis's Innocent Blood- which came out the following year). Now, I think there are a lot of reasons to love this episode. But the best thing about it is the romance between Sally and Longtooth's characters. And getting to see that in an episode with as much drunken-montage (another Crypt-trend-I-love callback, to "Spoiled") body pile-up as this one, coupled with Sally's reaction at the end (the exact opposite of Wynona Ryder's "take me away from all this...death!" in Bram Stoker's Dracula, also the following year- "Reluctant" sure saw a Hollywood trend about to blow up) is extremely refreshing. And is something that hasn't waned since I first saw the episode. The two already make a great couple. Then the writing decides the only thing to do with her character is to have it so nothing would shock her. This is all the smarter since I felt having his fangs emerge as a side-effect of amore-tinged horniness was not the greatest touch. But, they decided that she would have a similar quirk- watching him kill turns her on. She acts like a shy little city-belle type but, as fate would have it, she's much more than appearances suggest (which is something the show tried with far lesser returns in "Lover Come Hack to Me"). So, it kinda has something for the old-fashioned at heart and people who want to see something hipper (especially for a woman who would today instantly be typecast as a Betty White clone).

Then there's Malcolm McDowell (before he lost all his genre cred in Rob Zombie's Holloween shitfests). His range here is magnificent. I even got a little chill when he discovered Mr. Crosswhite had taken the record books home with him. He's definitely not playing a wimpy type, as ravenous blood-fiend or (would-be) suave suitor of the night. In fact... watching him playing in the blood vaults almost borders on gluttonous apathy since he does this right after Crosswhite delivers his "your jobs are all in jeopardy" speech to the bank workers. But he is seriously into this part. And it's fun to watch that. This thing is cast perfectly, with almost every actor given an against-type role. Landis made a pretty big deal about "sweet Norm from Cheers" finally playing a horrible guy in his 2nd season Masters of Horror episode, but... here he is, 15 years before that, and in my (anything but) humble opinion doing a much better job (or being a lot more enjoyable). Then Paul Gleason gets a tiny role as the detective but, you have to love that the episode doesn't just steamroll him over when Michael Berryman's hunter-inspector shows up with his expert insights that seem like they're sending him on a wild goose chase. The scene where they examine the first victim's body is so wonderfully against cliche. I'm glad this isn't a movie. And of course Berryman is horribly underrated (I say this again with a talent-wasting Rob Zombie reference in mind- The Devil's Rejects; that guy should be run out of town for what he's done to our beloved icons). This episode reminds me why he's so great- he really is more versatile than the parts he usually gets.




#17. "The New Arrival" (S4/E7)


Okay, so I think we've so far seen with this countdown that the show tried several times to replicate their successes with copy plots and copy twists: "The Secret" - "Werewolf Concerto," "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" - "Strung Along," "Abra Cadaver" - "This'll Kill Ya," "Mournin' Mess" - "House of Horror." With that, they don't get much more shameless than "Television Terror" - "The New Arrival." Except that this episode has a much better supporting cast and now, for all the nasty, unlikable people throwing stuff at each other, the episode's focus is at least half on the characters. And there's a tagline we get very early on that guides us right through- "good psychology beats bad behavior." The Dr. here is all about bad behavior, so his psychology is clearly full of shit but his work methods and personal relationships branch out into some extremely interesting scenes. Not only is his crew actually right in the house with him but they all have their own separate theories about what's going on and how he should deal with it. None more insightful and closer to the actual truth than the cutthroat Rona (Joan Severance), the bain of Dr. David Warner and producer Twiggy's existences, who proves her smarts by noticing and questioning the edge-of-frame details the Dr. completely ignores. Not bad for someone initially more concerned with her shoes than her employees. Another great surprise is the at first naive and dopey Zelda Rubinstein, who turns out to have a more enlightened view on his training and the value of his mentor's work. She basically nails the guy and isn't even trying to, which would certainly bring satisfaction to any disappointed buyers of the book hoping to actually help their children. So, no, it's not nearly the same scareshow as "Television Terror" but it does give the brain a lot to chew on, is shot far more eerily (though again, it intends to be more freaky than creepy), and does have that friggin' awesome ceiling fan moment (just one shot of blood splattering on the wall and there'd be no competition with TT). In its' quest for random bizarreness, they succeed beyond TT- Nora's place is the kind of madhouse that would impress the freaks of Nothing but Trouble, with a new and elaborate gag for every room they happen upon. In the end, it doesn't have all that much to do with the condition "little Felicity"s condition is in. But it is a reminder of how much this show can really achieve with its' non-existent budget.




#16. "Forever Ambergris" (S5/E3)


I'm going to be short with this one. Because this time, the key to recognizing its' genius is in seeing the one thing that elevates the rest of the episode to masterwork level. Frankly, there's almost nothing to the episode's disease camp death-show by itself. You go in, get it, and die. Horribly. Then there's a back-stabbing between two photographer characters, one who wants what the other's got, that almost feels as tragic and through-the-heart as anything Shakespeare ever wrote. But that has absolutely nothing to do with their would-be brotherly bond. It's all about the one person with the ability to make the has-been photographer Roger Daltry - portrayed as very tired and cynical - stand on his toes... and this time, I'm happy to report that this powerful person is Lysette Anthony. Who, thanks to Hollywood typecasting (as the definitive Euro-trash Bitch Who Thinks She's Better Than She Really Is), I didn't realize was this damn good an actress. She's the voice of reasoning (it's single-handedly because of her that Daltry doesn't have to say "a pretty girl like you and a troll like Steve Buscemi" even though he more than suggests it) and the passionate inspiration for Buscemi's lust for life in spite of the ghastly things he photographs and yet she's the dark cloud of doom hanging over everything. Because she's also the eye of truth here. Before Daltrey even has his plan to send Buscemi into Valmalera to get the disease for both of them, she's peering right into his soul and giving him the only advice he needs while the music (Jay Ferguson again- I love this guy!) is laying on the biggest warning-of-mortal-dread vibe of probably the entire series. What of course is so brilliant about this is that, as the eye of truth, she isn't just telling him that he will die if he doesn't need her words- she's saying: everybody's gonna die! For once, a character's morality (call it whatever you want) transcends into premonition.

(That was short, wasn't it?)




#15. "The Trap" (S3/E1)


(Well, if it wasn't, this one'll surely be.) Fun. Fun. Fun. And... fun. Nothing here is serious, and so even if the twist seems to hinge on supernatural stupidity - Fingerprints? Blood Test? Photo Comparison? Lots of ways to make the jury realize how stupid they are and put Mr. Psycho Cop in his place - that doesn't really matter. This one just gives you exactly what you want to see. Great over-the-top performances. Carroll Baker is beyond hilarious. I've seen this at least 6 times now and I still laugh at her scenes. Excellent cast. Good music. Everything looks good- especially the cheesy Brazilian club set. And I think the twist has a certain oppressive quality, though MJFox and co. are still just goofing around, there's just a bit of tension to suit its' almost game-show-like "This is Your Trial" finale.




#14. "My Brother's Keeper" (S2/E17)


Okay, flaw first: Frank's a dick. He's not the most sympathetic guy in the world, given the outline of the facts of the case, and seems to take any excuse he thinks he can get away with for getting out of the surgery. They become increasingly hard to believe. This kinda makes the twist more disturbing and chilly, certainly, but harder to enjoy. And much easier to see coming. But, most importantly... shut up, you asshole. You had your chance- Mr. Germandoctorbratwurstbeerstein said he could re-route your bloodstream. Now the guy's a genius? You said you didn't trust him before. Not even a lifetime of happiness with Marie was enough to get you to sign the release. Ugh. Now, I know Eddie's not sympathetic either, but you have to admit you understand better just why that is watching Frank fuck everything up. Yet, the "if they kill me, they kill you- now that's cruel and unusual punishment" element of the twist makes it pretty darn brilliant. It's just sad to see something like sour an otherwise perfect episode. Now, you have to sympathize with Eddie, no matter what. Though he does have his moments: "more stimulating than a tank of nitrus oxide and a 12-inch vibrator? That's the kind of party I throw, babe." Casting is nothing short of perfect. Since we have to like him now, it's worth noting that Johnathan Stark's hair has improved immeasurably since Fright Night and his comedic range makes him a real cutup. Meanwhile, Timothy Stack as good-brother hits his peak when he gets mad. That's something you probably never saw on Son of the Beach. He's legitimately creepy in the ending (have I given a man the creepy compliment yet?), bordering on charming serial killer creepy (what I suppose Wayne Newton would have had to be to alert viewers of "The Pit" that he was the biggest villain). Actually, he's always pretty repelling when he smiles. What are you hiding, dude? And, then, Jessica Harper in something horror-related again (that's enough to forgive what they did to her hair). There are inspired touches of cleverness from beginning to end and the feeling that I get watching the twist never fails to unsettle me a lot.




#13. "Maniac at Large" (S4/E10)


Probably the most cinematic episode of the series, this one looks a bit drab but right from the start- I was hooked. The music, the camerawork, the cast, the little bits of tension they throw here, there, and everywhere. Jabbering Adam Ant shows Corey Feldman how it's done. Salome Jens is not going to fool anyone as a potential red herring, so she does a combination of high-nosed tyrant and no-bullshit realist; she's not given enough time to really delve into it but her character has a theory on why the papers don't fathom the possibility that the killer could be a woman. Furthermore, her "everyone gets what he or she deserves" speech kinda sums it all it up right there (although, I guess this was the last time anyone would even try to make a horror story about imagining a threat where there was none). Blythe Danner looks a million years old (the curse of the Crypt makeup department, no doubt- sorry, Jessica Harper) but she is so good that even if you guessed the twist (by the way, not just who the killer is but also why they did it), you'll be surprised by how she pulls this off. The final shot is... just, unbelievable. I usually define creepy by how it feels like the other person is inside my head. This time, you get inside their head and it's jaw-dropping. It is a short "confession" bit but her laugh, her change of vocal pitch, the fact that you know Clarence Williams III isn't really listening... easily one of the best moments in the entire series. Pure insanity caught on film.




#12. "Fitting Punishment" (S2/E12)


In terms of having an episode where a character keeps getting poked and prodded, whether you like them or not, this one is the most effective. It mixes humor and social commentary with its' dark story of a guy who'll do anything to have things his way but starts to lift them away slowly as things get more dire and death creeps up on the horizon. Then, you get a much better idea of just how heartless this antagonist is. But on the Crypt, that isn't quite enough. So, they make it morbid by adding a workmanlike scene of him mutilating the dead body of his nephew... just to save a few bucks on a coffin. It's a classic cold, methodical episode that aims to make you feel human apathy and selfishness in as palpable a way as possible. It succeeds. The twist would be silly but, the incredibly macabre imagery and soundtrack-of-your-life feel to the music firmly keeps the tone in-check. Also, having a black cast, the show almost groundbreakingly pulls no punches in its use of a black man to depict a dead-hearted opportunist and self-righteous, hypocritical penny-pincher. The religious stuff had the potential to rub people the wrong way. Yet, I think anyone can see this guy just isn't a true believer anyway.




#11. "Abra Cadaver" (S3/E4)


So... I hear people don't like this one? Well, I'll match that shocker with one you've probably heard from me before- I don't like Re-Animator. Chief among the reasons why is because it very literally feels like a trip to the morgue. This doesn't shock me. It sure as hell doesn't make me feel any proper sense of repulsion or dread. And, against expectation given the film's insane amount of praise, it has zero sense of energy to go along with its' buckets of gore. It's a complete flatliner. What does any of this have to do with this episode? Well, I won't call "Cadaver" a thrill-ride or an untamable gorefest. But: it gets me involved. The story may be oldhat (I think that's what Rhett called it) but with these actors, it's easy to get through whatever rugged terrain is underneath the lead-in to what I consider to be one of the show's most terrifying series of sequences. I'm a big fan of what the camera is able to make me feel as a viewer and, looking at what the character perceives to be the handling of his body after death - coupled with what the twist reveals - is pretty close to being what I buy as being a waking nightmare. Things just keep getting worse and you sort of have to wonder- is this really what death could be like? Have we really learned what the brain will truly experience after clinical death? Because I'll admit, I'm far behind on my medical knowhow. Furthermore, Tony Goldwin is really selling this performance. His terror-filled internal shrieks made me feel on-edge throughout. The meat locker sequence especially just milks this tension for all its' worth. And, Beau Bridges in your face repeatedly. Excellent use of camera. Excellent cast. And there's a little light humor too (the rasta MA playing with Goldwin's dead body like it were an action figure). I don't really know what else the episode could have done to please people.

Last edited by DVD-fanatic-9; 03-09-2013 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:09 AM   #18
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#10-1:


#10. "Dead Right" (S2/E1)


So, again, a big part of this show is- how nasty can we make that main antagonist? The answer usually is: pretty damn nasty. But, when the show's really on fire, you may notice that everyone around them and maybe even the world they live in is just as fucked up as they are. "Mournin' Mess" is probably the greatest example of the latter. But an even deeper and more personal, throwing us right into the ultimate depths of human disgust and cruelty, is "Dead Right." An ironic(?) twist connected to the fortune teller's frequently repeated prediction is nothing surprising. What is surprising, downright shocking, is how completely fleshed out it is. It goes beyond wanting to see the character "buy the big one" (I think that's how the Crypt Keeper puts it) and just being roped in to see how the rest of the characters react. It's heartless on a truly compelling scale. First, how evil does this twist make Madam Vorna? Well, actually, the entire episode - in my opinion - makes judging the characters pointless. But it becomes increasingly apparent as the twist unfolds that she knows exactly what's going to happen to Demi Moore's Cathy. And that is cold. Ice cold. As is Cathy's close friend, played by Texas Chainsaw Massacre III's Kate Hodge. The episode's only real light moment comes when the two discuss possible death scenarios for Jeffrey Tambor's Charlie Marno. Which we see actually play out in front of us. Yes... in this episode, this moment is a breather.

The rest of the episode never once lets up on the nastiness. These characters (except for maybe Al the bar-keeper) are some of the most awful human beings I've ever seen in the genre. Yet, you can't exactly look away. The details are ruthless. Watching Cathy vomit after merely kissing Charlie being the first moment you realize just what you're in for. The fact that Cathy is for awhile the most despicable person in the episode is a good way to try drumming up some sympathy for Charlie. But, re-watches give us concrete proof that Charlie was a psycho from minute-1. Though watching her constantly insult his weight is an effective means to draw attention away from his dead-inside character, there are rock solid clues making a true-to-life argument that even guys like this can dangerously controlling or hard set in their ways. The twist is one of the show's darkest moments, bar none, and comes the closest to actually observing what almost feels like a real serial killer at work. Those eyes... so human and yet, so not. It becomes painfully obvious (in every sense of the word) that Charlie never really loved her either.




#9. "What's Cookin'" (S4/E6)


Cannibalism as a concept really isn't scary. But, when it's handled properly, it sure becomes a sharp metaphor for depraved ambition. To make this point, "Cookin'" plays with character types set-up early on and subverts them through the twist's revelation that the only guy we thought knew what was going on had absolutely no idea. When you realize the ultra-moral Fred (Christopher Reeve), ultra-kind Erma (Bess Armstrong), and ultra-friendly Phil (Art LaFleur) were playing him (Judd Nelson) all along, it's quite a shock. Yet, as the entire episode has been structured as a dive into the depths of how low people will sink for money, it clicks. Of course, it's also implied that money itself is a red herring for how it may be the taste of human meat that turns people into psychotic killers with no reverance for human life. It's spookier than you think. It's very much the flipside of "The Reluctant Vampire," where that episode's killer only took the lives of criminals and he was never corrupted into overturning his core values. Nothing could make him stop basically caring about people. In a way, the twist suggests that anyone is capable of murdering for success (definitely a mainstay of Crypt). But there's something real interesting about it in relation to how the husband and wife enterpreneurs get started in the restaurant business... we don't really know whether Reeve's "vision" for becoming the Col. Sanders of seafood is based on its' uniqueness or because he really knows how to cook squid. Why would Fred and Erma open a restaurant if they don't know how to cook? This either suggests that... well, anyone can cook "steak," or Fred and Erma were always more than what they appeared to be. After all, why else would they have attracted someone like Gaston in the first place? The episode definitely wants you to chew on this a little. And no matter what you come up with, it's enough to make you think twice about the person sitting next to you. This is also suggested by the abundance of casual shots of people eating the "steaks." This clientel are not just eating people, they're eating themselves. Eating: you.




#8. "Two for the Show" (S5/E6)


So... this seems as good a time as any to deal with the fact that Crypt is a show best liked by most fans when it's tapping into familiar horror territory. For example, 2 of my lowest ranking episodes are among the higher ranking with the majority- "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" and "Strung Along." Why? Because they're about killer puppets and don't skimp out on the blood, gore, or slasher elements. In general, the more "suspense" oriented plots (most of which, big stunner, originate from the Shock SuspenStories department of E.C. Comics- which account for a huge percentage of the episodes HBO selected for the series) have far fewer fans. I get that. In fact, I was also just as excitedly looking forward to re-watching the nastier, gorier episodes myself. And found, overall, that what really makes the show go round is what how often it translated fairly well to the 80's and early 90's. What it was able to say about people and human nature. For this, heavy bloodletting and serious gross-outs were a nice bonus but hardly necessary. On paper, this "will or won't" the killer "be caught" by our dedicated cop hunting him down, trying to shake him up, might not get many viewers excited but I was beyond surprised to see how it turned out. First, there's Traci Lords. Sure, she'll never win any awards for her post-porn career but to say I find her a welcome addition to a cast when she's around is an understatement. I don't know how to describe her. Even before I fell in love with her debut album, 1,000 Fires (its lead single, "Control," featured in the epic Liu Kang versus Reptile fight scene in the trashy but entertaining 1995 film adaptation of Mortal Kombat), I thought she was just plain cool. She has style and is a great unconventional performer. I find it impossible to predict what she'll do next (though not because I think she's wild or put much thought into playing any of her roles against her infamous reputation).

The episode is sparse in its sets and its scenes are few and wide, so the small cast are kept at warm distances throughout which is of course perfect for its theme of intrusiveness. Which very effectively switches the roles of the protagonist and antagonist. The more the episode reveals the cop is onto the killer, the more intense the cop becomes until he's practically a jump scare, and the more vulnerable and desperate becomes until- you can't help but identify with him. Sure, I hated Andy at first, but then... I quickly grew to feel less bothered by what he'd done after he got on the train. It's impossible to not be made uncomfortable by how close the cop gets, he invades your space too. And Vincent Spano is so stabbingly right-there at all times. His eyes, his accusations, and his physical presence burn right through the screen and into you. You feel like he's violating you. Which makes the twist all the more effective. One you'll never be able to guess in a million years. For some reason this episode strikes me as one of the most creepy. Especially with the music score, which crosses the border right into bone-chilling. More than saying "now you're caught" to the character (which, of course, we were all waiting for given the cop-chasing-criminal framework) or signifying that's gotten what he deserves, it almost feels like the tortured screams of the episode's real victims. One of which we're now being introduced to- the cop's dead wife, whom he savagely murdered with premeditated intent to blame it on David Paymer.




#7. "For Cryin' Out Loud" (S2/E8)


You may remember in my summary for season 4's torturously awful "On a Deadman's Chest," I mentioned that there was no awesome in that episode. This is, of course, because you don't hire Tia Carrere after Wayne's World to be in a rock band episode and not be awesome. Mainly. As you can imagine, after seeing that episode (before I even ever got wind that this existed), I was not looking forward to sitting through another one. Damn, am I glad I had second thoughts! This is one of the most fun episodes of the whole show! And, I'm pleased to report, it has more than enough awesome to make up for that previous disappointment. Lee Arenberg (you might just remember him as this guy... well, I did) delivers a pitch-perfect performance as the two-timing rock club owner who just can't catch a break. In an episode like this, it can't hurt a thing if you feel bad for him. Or if, despite the running commentary of the manic Jiminy Cricket hanging out in his inner ear, he just whacks his banker without any real interruption from his overbearing conscience except to inform him that "she's dead!" Like: "she's dead, you idiot, stop hitting her with that guitar!" Katey Sagal, as also previously mentioned in "Deadman"s summary, is an amazing comedic gift. From wildcat groupie to nerdy banker babe to probably the only thing resembling a creepy or dark element in the episode (short of some squirting blood in the final "it's in your ear" twist). No, this is not a horror episode. But it's nonetheless a credit to the show's amusing adult humor with blood, death, and fresh turns throughout. We also get so close to Arenberg that we might as well call it humping his face. Great music. Great, quirky dialogue. Great supporting performances; including deadpan Mark Lowenthal - returning from "The Man Who Was Death" - as a quirky ear doctor and Airplane! jive-talking passenger Al White as a very square cop. On Donny Osmond: "now, him, I like." Move over, Carlton Banks.




#6. "Three's a Crowd" (S2/E5)


This simmering little internal-horror piece is probably one of the greatest surprises of the series. Of the show's many similar episode-to-episode jumping plots, nothing is more common than the discovery or suspicion of infidelity. Among them, there is no question that this one is the most sympathetic toward the suspecting spouse. Not merely because it's all his story but also because for him to be driven to do something as horrifying as he does in the finale, he needs to have an extremely heavy motivation. What the episode comes up with is a combination of his greatest fear - losing his wife, which he mentions in the first scene - and a feeling of betrayal which builds in a way that would seem irrational were she not unwittingly doing everything possible to prove his suspicions are correct. It's basically the only real tragedy among the heap of infidelity plots. Which is what should hook you to be intrigued for the finale. But then, nothing could prepare you for the episode's finale. Sincerely acted, stylishly directed, beautifully calculated to the last mili-second, and with a score that ranges from foreboding to subtly devious, this thing hits hard. The quiet intensity of the first 18 or so minutes is very suddenly cranked up to full-blast in the final 6 and in an eyeblink, we are thrust into the darkest reaches of human evil. Startling to the point of being heart-stopping and unrelenting to the point of cruelty, this all-class outing of devastating brutality and jolting terror does not disappoint!




#5. "People Who Live in Brass Hearses" (S5/E5)


I was all-set to write this one off when I first watched it; I really don't like Bill Paxton. And I think after One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Brad Dourif did his best work offscreen (though I enjoyed him in the Nightwatch remake). Yet, somehow, despite the two of them (or maybe, to their credit)- this episode is chock full of surprises. At first, it just goes on and on about insignificant details and you get bored. You imagine there's probably a twist coming at the end (there usually is, this is the Crypt after all) but you could care less about what it is because the episode is so damn boring. Then the twist comes... and... Well, before I go any further, I have to tell you about the first time I watched this episode. I hated it. I wasn't impressed beforehand and then the twist seemed so cheap and stupid and out of nowhere and gross-gag-reliant, I was convinced it was the worst of the entire series. This was when I'd rented the disc from Netflix (before I tossed their mail-in service for Instant Watch-only). A year later, I owned the set and decided to rewatch it. Of course, thinking I was in for another torture session... Then I realized all those details before which seemed irrelevant and therefore I'd ignored were actually clues to the twist. And damn good ones at that. I had to watch it twice to get what was going on. On second viewing- it finally hit me. This is genius! The twist is multi-faceted and actually has terrific resonance when you watch it a second time. For example, am I crazy or was Byrd actually a hypocrite? When Billy and Virgil hit his house, they find a jackpot of cash all stuffed in what appear to be ice cream boxes, stacked in his freezer. Would anyone have even thought to look there? The whole time he was criticizing Paxton for skimming his profits, he was doing the same thing. No, I don't care for our somewhat appropriately cast knuckle-head brothers. I'm more inclined to give the episode win to Michael Lerner (For Richer or Poorer, the Clueless tv series) and Lainie Kazan (who actually plays a different ethnic stereotype in nearly every thing she's cast in: Jewish- The Nanny, Greek- My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Spanish- Bratz the movie). My favorite moment upon reflection: when Paxton is waiting for Byrd to get out of the truck and he drives away!! Watch it twice and I think you'll get a kick out of it too. A pure shocker. And another deeply nasty little coda (1/2 price ice cream).




#4. "And All Through the House" (S1/E2)


I don't know if this is supposed to be so obvious (the tire-swing / window sequence), over-the-top (Mary Ellen - most famous movie mother of the 80's - Trainor's entire performance), or silly (her boyfriend's answering machine message)- but this is the pure definition of fun. It's just cliche after cliche done speedy, tense, mean, and funny. A beautiful tracking shot paired with a Nat King Cole classic unbroken as a fire poker (one of my favorite and underused movie-murder instruments) murder is commited. And then, the always entertaining Larry Drake (Dr. Giggles, of course) as a loony-eyed, black-toothed, ax-toting, grease-faced killer santa looking like he just escaped from prison. This is what happens when you try to explain pure horror fun; at this point, everything that can be said about it's been said. And you've seen it, you know how good it is. It doesn't get better than this. Though, Trainor's face- I don't know what shocked her more: the killer climbing up the ladder to her daughter's open window or getting hit over the head by a clump of snow fallen from her roof.




#3. "Judy, You're Not Yourself Today" (S2/E11)


However, an episode which hasn't been talked about enough and even currently holds a 6.0 on IMDb while the far lesser likes of "Only Skin Deep" rates a 7.7. Now I think you know what I mean about the crowd going for the gnarlier episode just because there's blood and rote imagery. Meanwhile, though "Judy" is sure low on death, dismemberment, and blood- it is actually one of the most powerful pieces of 30-minute television I've ever witnessed. The ending (calling it a twist might be a bit insulting, given its' shocking dramatic weight) literally drains all the feeling out of my body save for at least one tear. That's right, this ending makes me cry. Every time. Without fail. I've never watched another show that left me as heavy and numb by the end (I can't move for at least the last minute straight, before the Crypt Keeper's outro). Despite Brian Kerwin's deranged performance (and whatever made the character this way, which is never explained) and the jabbing obviousness of its' anti-gun message- director Randa Haines (who also directed a series entitled Tucker's Witch) actually manages to imbue this episode with some real sense of loss. Which most viewers likely weren't expecting after his little "Blam! Blam! I blew that bitch away!" spiel. Technically, this episode completely lacks any fear and tension (save for the opening credits sequence, which is very arresting). But, before it gets serious, this weird-comedy with sparse horror imagery is knee-slappingly funny. Masterful, rapid-fire farce the whole way through. Kerwin and Carol Kane are nothing short of a perfect pair in their portrayal of a stressed-out suburban couple whose life of unease hits the roof. He's especially fun ("Don't smoke cigarettes! Don't point guns at my head!"), to the point where he even experiences a multiple-identity orgasm when killing someone with his gun. Bitter ending aside, I laugh and grin my face off the whole time. Imo, one of life's rare perfect treasures.




#2. "Top Billing" (S3/E5)


With Jon Lovitz cast as the episode's protagonist, a likable enough funnyman but also a guy whose sardonic shtick definitely has its' limitations...was anyone expecting this to deliver like it does, or would I have been alone in thinking it was destined to just be an amusing little side-order at best? This struggling actor (or actor versus actor) piece is stark, colder than a corpse, genuinely shocking and scary, and surprisingly intense at times. It's not (necessarily) because Lovitz is that good. He just happens to be a good fit for this part (so much so that I could never imagine anyone else playing it). The whole cast (which is mighty impressive) are directed in the most ultra-professional mode of probably the entire series. I wasn't able to read whether the writing came up with an answer or not on Lovitz' character's take on advancing in the industry as artform versus the big-toothed, perpetually smiling prettyboy's as commerce. But you expect Barry to fail if he takes himself this seriously. It's his character- which you do buy as a person so serious about what he does, so fed up with rejection and tough breaks that he just can't take one more loss. It's still comedy but soberingly everyday and realistic in a way that is horrifying as a concept. Then, with the right stylistic features, tight editing, and an amazingly creepy cast of supporting characters including John Astin as a hammy madman director, Louise Fletcher as the frostiest agent I've ever seen, and the eccentrically deadpan Paul Benedict as the gay wardrobe man - who delivers one of the show's scariest lines ("just slip into this hood"), and a final moment as terrifying as...well, the final moment at the end of #1 below, this episode is a real cut above the rest.

The amazing Sandra Bernhard also puts in a great little cameo as a casting woman. Andy Dick later parodied her on The Ben Stiller Show in a hilarious bit where she was the one auditioning for Janeane Garofalo- playing a casting woman (which I bring up also because they later parodied the Crypt as well - 11:02).




#1. "Yellow" (S3/E14)


The best war-related piece of filmmaking I've ever seen (of course, I say this with an extreme distaste for all films about war- I never saw one that truly surprised me). It's tight, succinct, and absolutely spine-chilling. Front to back. This is the kind of thing that hopefully sympathizes with the tortured soldier, forced to risk his life against his will, while sort of shoving the words of both sides down their throats. For example, I always clapped whenever Michael Moore would accuse the politicians who supported the Iraq war of purposefully not sending their own kids into the military. But when you watch this, you have to agree- Martin's no better than any of the other soldiers getting torn to pieces. What makes his life any more important? And, when Dan Akroyd's character suggests his father's being hasty by condeming Martin to the firing squad- wouldn't he consider the same action taken by any other lieutenant a form of cowardice? My money's on yes. This episode has a formidable ugly streak that forces us to accept, in a situation that can't be changed, the consequences for everyone's actions- even if we would have done the same.

Then... we have the whole issue of father versus son. Kirk Douglas is such a bastard to his son (naturally). The son gave his whole life to make his father happy and his father never gave him anything real in return. This pattern obviously set a precidence in their relationship where the father always takes and expects the son to always give. The one thing Martin fights him on is not wanting to go to war and wanting a discharge. He also lies and manipulates Martin into behaving the way he wants too. As though always complying with his demands wasn't good enough. This episode perfectly illustrates the expectations of complete-sacrifice on the part of pro-war zealots (that are at least secretly present in them). Most importantly though, this relationship is so typical to parental manipulation. Martin just wasn't smart enough to see through his father's lies. Why would he be? He grew up to be the man his father wanted him to be- submissive to the point of not being his own man, able to make his own decisions. This is a tragic piece of television and a deeply horrifying episode of this horror anthology. Even if it wasn't originally devised for the series. (This shocked me- considering how much gore is in this episode, how much the ending actually registers as a twist, and how truly hard it hits when Kirk betrays Martin.)
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:53 AM   #19
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i feel like i should watch more of this show. i'm pretty sure the only episodes I've seen are Split Personality and Revenge is the Nuts. I recall nothing about Revenge, except that I saw it. And I remember enjoying Split Personality.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:01 PM   #20
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I liked most of your picks for the Top 20 although Yellow and Two for the Show would't be in my Top 20. My favourites are definitely And All Through the House and Television Terror.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:20 PM   #21
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I remember Yellow being very good, but not necessarily a good Tales From The Crypt episode. Kind of like King Of The Road, it feels out of place. But on it's own, it is very good. Definitely a controversial pick for number 1, though.

I'll try to avoid spoilers here, but if Two For The Show is the episode involving a train and a gruesome discovery in a suitcase, then it was the very first Tales From The Crypt episode I ever saw, way back when it originally aired. It's definitely a personal favorite in those regards, but for some reason it isn't one I watch very often, which is why I'm not entirely positive if it is even the correct episode I'm thinking of. But seeing it as a young child, that macabre twist ending was a disturbing visual that I have never forgotten.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:16 AM   #22
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My favourites are definitely And All Through the House and Television Terror.
Well, again my personal favorites are scattered throughout. I chose this list according to which I think were the best according to what the show did best. Which episodes were the best at showing human heartlessness ("Yellow," "Two for the Show," "Dead Right"), were the most multi-layered ("Judy"), the most creepy ("Top Billing," "What's Cookin'"), the darkest ("Three's a Crowd"), freakiest ("Hearses"), or best at capturing pure insanity on film ("Maniac at Large"). Most people probably would have gone right for "All Through" and "Television Terror" but, all things considered, they weren't the essence of the show. The closer you look, neither one involves a potent, functioning betrayal or dark turn of humanity. Or, let alone a twist, even a genuine surprise. At any point during either episode.


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I liked most of your picks for the Top 20 although Yellow and Two for the Show would't be in my Top 20.
Thanks again.

However, that's a real shame. Both episodes are absolutely outstanding in almost every way (I hated the fake-looking mutilated bodies in "Show" though). As a matter of fact, "Two for the Show" really is one of the best nightmare scenarios in the show's run. And the characters were portrayed perfectly to carry that out and make it truly horrifying. And, considering an at least equally great evil prevails at the close of the episode (much the same as I think it might have in "Split Second"), the episode has a chilling feeling that the nightmare continues. It takes a simple idea of murder as a one-up and surrounds you with it. They could have played it as "Shock! Gasp!" etc, in the cartoony way it did in other episodes (of course: "Whirlpool" is suspect #1) without going as far with the music and they thought: we can do better. We can do more. It's easily one of the best episodes at keeping the tension strong throughout the entire episode. It's smart and uncomfortably right on-the-button from minute 1. I guess in this case, I'd have to call it vastly underrated.

Since I ranked it at #8 and you tell me it wouldn't make your 20, I'm bound to say I can't think of 12 episodes (which didn't rank higher on my list) that are better than it (though I certainly wouldn't argue hard on "What's Cookin'"). But, hey: if you can hold tight to as strong a conviction as I have for ranking it this high for why you wouldn't- more power to you.


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I remember Yellow being very good, but not necessarily a good Tales From The Crypt episode. Kind of like King Of The Road, it feels out of place. But on it's own, it is very good. Definitely a controversial pick for number 1, though.
I don't think so. Rhett had just as many praises for it as I did. And it also ranked #2 on Cinemassacre's list. It's been consistently hailed as one of the show's best episodes since it aired and probably has the highest technical score on any site that allows users to rate the episodes. Right now, it beats "Television Terror" on IMDb .4 points. Which is my way of saying I think most viewers saw the horror of it too. And as for how "out of place" it feels... I also disagree. In fact, I suppose shy of sexual content (which Rhett certainly believes was an integral part of the show), I think I could easily argue it's The Quintessential Crypt episode. It depicts human evil, gives us an epic, deeply personal betrayal, there's a surprising amount of gore, and the tension level is off the charts.


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I'll try to avoid spoilers here, but if Two For The Show is the episode involving a train and a gruesome discovery in a suitcase, then it was the very first Tales From The Crypt episode I ever saw, way back when it originally aired. It's definitely a personal favorite in those regards, but for some reason it isn't one I watch very often, which is why I'm not entirely positive if it is even the correct episode I'm thinking of. But seeing it as a young child, that macabre twist ending was a disturbing visual that I have never forgotten.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xldbPqWkwvY

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Old 03-17-2013, 04:54 AM   #23
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this thread has inspired me to watch the series, so i figured i'd add my two cents as i journey through. i had considered watching them in your order, dvd-fanatic, but decided against that. i'll just go season by season. as i watch each episode, i also plan to compare my feelings to yours, as well as rhett's in his reviews (won't be able to do that for season 4, for some reason). so, without further ado, season 1:

The Man Who Was Death
- I'm sure this will happen more than a few more times in watching this show, but as soon as it began i realized that i had seen this, a long long time ago (despite what i said earlier about only thinking i'd watching two episodes). i enjoyed the episode, although i think i fall somewhere in between dvd-fanatic and rhett. i too felt the constant talking-to-the-audience by william sadler was hit-and-miss. sometimes it worked quite well, and other times it began to get monotonous. the story it tells is pretty great, and sadler gives a wonderful performance. the ending is immediately predictable, though.

And All Through the House
- this was pretty damn good. i loved just how over-the-top it was. not only does she "give it to him" when he asks for it, but she must call her lover immediately (while holding the will, or course) to leave a voicemail detailing her entire crime (can't imagine how that could possibly be a problem in the future)! there's nothing even remotely subtle about this one, and it was definitely my favorite of the season.

Dig that Cat...He's Real Gone
- this one was...ok. Joe Pantoliano was great, as was Robert Wuhl, and it moves at such a great clip that its never not entertaining. is it scary or unnerving? no. but its fun, for the most part. everything is very spelled out, though, with Pantoliano delivering expository dialogue near the beginning with the subtlety of a bulldozer. I was able to easily predict what would happen at the end, but i wasn't sure how, exactly, he was going to miscount. when it was revealed, it was pretty satisfying, i must admit.

Only Sin Deep
- this was definitely my least favorite episode of the season. the scenes with the pawn shop owner are good, but everything with Lea Thompson is a chore to get through. Her accent is atrocious, and she's so intensely unlikable as a character. i liked her in back to the future, and she was cute in Caroline in the City, so i was surprised by how unpleasant it was to watch her in this. God, that accent....

Lover Come Hack to Me
- both rhett and dvd-fanatic had complaints about this one. Rhett thought it was the worst of the season, and went so far as to call Tom Holland a hack in his review. Ouch. DVDF enjoyed its atmosphere and setup, but despised the supposedly unnecessary sex scene. I've got to disagree with both of you. As far as rhett goes, well...I just really liked this episode. For all the reasons DVDF mentions, the atmosphere, the house, and the interesting relationship between the main characters. But I've got to question why DVDF thought the sex scene was so unnecessary? Amanda Plummer has been a complete shy mouse for the whole episode. Something is going on, with her constant references to the "perfect" night, but regardless, we're certainly not expecting her to come out of the bathroom the way she does. Its as surprising for the audience as it is for her husband. And it goes even deeper than the setup within the episode - I just wasn't expecting that from Amanda Plummer! After that huge about-face, what do you expect? A fade to black, and reveal them both in bed smoking cigarettes? No way! You've got to see that her transformation wasn't half-hearted. The sex scene that follows (which really isn't gratuitous at all, considering the way its filmed) is a pay off to the build up of her character and their relationship. We see what she's capable of. We see what she meant when she said she wanted the night to be perfect. We see him actually begin to have an authentic desire for her. It's a scene that is not just justified, but actually crucial. Without all the information we gather from this scene, about each one of them and how their relationship changes, the ending would be completely wasted. His protestations wouldn't have the same resonance. His claims that he never really loved her and only married her for her money are darkly funny, because its almost as though he has to remind himself of that. He's completely confused about his own emotions towards her. And her assertion that he DOES love her doesn't just come across as insanity. We've seen how they consummated their relationship, and we know that she's got some justification in saying that. I thought this was a pretty great episode.

Collection Completed
- I thought this one was just "ok", too. I understand the inconsistency of character that DVDF mentions, with regards to the old lady, but in 25 minutes, there's only so much time to show someone going from being slightly off kilter to being completely nuts. i can cut the show some slack for that. i certainly wasn't bothered by the animal cruelty aspect. i know people who treat their pets like they are literally family members. it always makes me roll my eyes, and so i appreciate a satire that shows a man driven insane by his wife's inability to understand that "it's not your child, its a fucking dog!" (something i've dreamed of saying to a few people). you say that animal violence (even when its only implied) offends you, and that's fine. but i find it kind of amusing that implied violence to humans is ok. i know that you're by no means alone in this view. i think its actually quite common (hence why so many dogs heroically make it through in so many movies, while humans are being slaughtered by the truck load) - people have this weird unconscious double-standard when it comes to animals.

anyway, a good start. i look forward to watching the remaining seasons.

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Old 03-20-2013, 10:38 PM   #24
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I remember Yellow being very good, but not necessarily a good Tales From The Crypt episode. Kind of like King Of The Road, it feels out of place. But on it's own, it is very good. Definitely a controversial pick for number 1, though.
That's how I feel as well, they aren;t bad episodes, Yellow is actually very good, just doesn't feel like a Tales from the Crypt episode to me.

But again, as mentioned earlier it's because those two along with Showdown were originally a part of a different suspense anthology series "Two-Fisted Tales" that unfortunately never made it past the pilot episode. So the pilot episode along with the two others were moved to and became Tales from the Crypt episodes.

Here's some more info about the "Two-Fisted Tales" show,

"In 1991, the comic book was adapted for a TV pilot by producers Joel Silver, Richard Donner, Robert Zemeckis and others. Apart from an opening montage of covers from the comic book and use of comic's logo, the pilot had little connection with Kurtzman's creation. In imitation of EC's horror books, the hour-long anthology drama featured ghostly gunfighter Mr. Rush (Bill Sadler) as a host and a device to connect the segments, although Kurtzman's war-adventure stories had never been introduced by a host. Two of the stories, "Showdown" and "King of the Road," were original scripts and not adaptations from EC (although Showdown did share a title with a story from issue 37). The third story, "Yellow," was adapted from a story written by Al Feldstein and illustrated by Jack Davis for the first issue of EC's Shock SuspenStories. The pilot had a single telecast, generating little interest, and all three segments were later extracted to become individual episodes of HBO's Tales From The Crypt television series. The cast included Kirk Douglas, Brad Pitt and Dan Aykroyd."
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:12 PM   #25
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this thread has inspired me to watch the series, so i figured i'd add my two cents as i journey through. i had considered watching them in your order, dvd-fanatic, but decided against that. i'll just go season by season. as i watch each episode, i also plan to compare my feelings to yours, as well as rhett's in his reviews (won't be able to do that for season 4, for some reason). so, without further ado, season 1:

The Man Who Was Death
- I'm sure this will happen more than a few more times in watching this show, but as soon as it began i realized that i had seen this, a long long time ago (despite what i said earlier about only thinking i'd watching two episodes). i enjoyed the episode, although i think i fall somewhere in between dvd-fanatic and rhett. i too felt the constant talking-to-the-audience by william sadler was hit-and-miss. sometimes it worked quite well, and other times it began to get monotonous. the story it tells is pretty great, and sadler gives a wonderful performance. the ending is immediately predictable, though.

And All Through the House
- this was pretty damn good. i loved just how over-the-top it was. not only does she "give it to him" when he asks for it, but she must call her lover immediately (while holding the will, or course) to leave a voicemail detailing her entire crime (can't imagine how that could possibly be a problem in the future)! there's nothing even remotely subtle about this one, and it was definitely my favorite of the season.

Dig that Cat...He's Real Gone
- this one was...ok. Joe Pantoliano was great, as was Robert Wuhl, and it moves at such a great clip that its never not entertaining. is it scary or unnerving? no. but its fun, for the most part. everything is very spelled out, though, with Pantoliano delivering expository dialogue near the beginning with the subtlety of a bulldozer. I was able to easily predict what would happen at the end, but i wasn't sure how, exactly, he was going to miscount. when it was revealed, it was pretty satisfying, i must admit.

Only Sin Deep
- this was definitely my least favorite episode of the season. the scenes with the pawn shop owner are good, but everything with Lea Thompson is a chore to get through. Her accent is atrocious, and she's so intensely unlikable as a character. i liked her in back to the future, and she was cute in Caroline in the City, so i was surprised by how unpleasant it was to watch her in this. God, that accent....

Lover Come Hack to Me
- both rhett and dvd-fanatic had complaints about this one. Rhett thought it was the worst of the season, and went so far as to call Tom Holland a hack in his review. Ouch. DVDF enjoyed its atmosphere and setup, but despised the supposedly unnecessary sex scene. I've got to disagree with both of you. As far as rhett goes, well...I just really liked this episode. For all the reasons DVDF mentions, the atmosphere, the house, and the interesting relationship between the main characters. But I've got to question why DVDF thought the sex scene was so unnecessary? Amanda Plummer has been a complete shy mouse for the whole episode. Something is going on, with her constant references to the "perfect" night, but regardless, we're certainly not expecting her to come out of the bathroom the way she does. Its as surprising for the audience as it is for her husband. And it goes even deeper than the setup within the episode - I just wasn't expecting that from Amanda Plummer! After that huge about-face, what do you expect? A fade to black, and reveal them both in bed smoking cigarettes? No way! You've got to see that her transformation wasn't half-hearted. The sex scene that follows (which really isn't gratuitous at all, considering the way its filmed) is a pay off to the build up of her character and their relationship. We see what she's capable of. We see what she meant when she said she wanted the night to be perfect. We see him actually begin to have an authentic desire for her. It's a scene that is not just justified, but actually crucial. Without all the information we gather from this scene, about each one of them and how their relationship changes, the ending would be completely wasted. His protestations wouldn't have the same resonance. His claims that he never really loved her and only married her for her money are darkly funny, because its almost as though he has to remind himself of that. He's completely confused about his own emotions towards her. And her assertion that he DOES love her doesn't just come across as insanity. We've seen how they consummated their relationship, and we know that she's got some justification in saying that. I thought this was a pretty great episode.

Collection Completed
- I thought this one was just "ok", too. I understand the inconsistency of character that DVDF mentions, with regards to the old lady, but in 25 minutes, there's only so much time to show someone going from being slightly off kilter to being completely nuts. i can cut the show some slack for that. i certainly wasn't bothered by the animal cruelty aspect. i know people who treat their pets like they are literally family members. it always makes me roll my eyes, and so i appreciate a satire that shows a man driven insane by his wife's inability to understand that "it's not your child, its a fucking dog!" (something i've dreamed of saying to a few people). you say that animal violence (even when its only implied) offends you, and that's fine. but i find it kind of amusing that implied violence to humans is ok. i know that you're by no means alone in this view. i think its actually quite common (hence why so many dogs heroically make it through in so many movies, while humans are being slaughtered by the truck load) - people have this weird unconscious double-standard when it comes to animals.

anyway, a good start. i look forward to watching the remaining seasons.
Some great reading as well, can't wait to hear the rest of your thoughts on the series. You guys are tempting me to go back and watch them all again but I just know I don't have the time right now and it would be a while before I got through them all, making my thoughts no more viable then they are now.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:09 AM   #26
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Ok, on to season 2 (or as much of it as i've seen at this point):

Dead Right
- this one was neither here nor there. Jeffrey Tambor's makeup is pretty fake looking, and while I liked his performance, there wasn't much that the character did that was interesting. he's just kind of a one-note slob. I've never been a huge fan of Demi Moore, but I must admit that she looked pretty damn good in that skimpy waitress outfit. i liked that this was a period piece, but it felt like they never actually took advantage of that in terms of the story. i mean, was there any element of the story that actually REQUIRED it to be set in that period? Both rhett and DVDF thought pretty highly of this episode, but it didn't grab me that much. not "bad" at all, but maybe the whole advancement-at-any-cost feme fatale storyline just doesn't do much for me.

The Switch
- this is another one that i realized i had seen long ago. i particularly remembered the shot of the buff guy with the old legs in the beach change room. i enjoyed the episode, even though each plot point is quite obvious. its not terribly disturbing or upsetting (hell, nobody even dies), in fact its played like a comic fantasy with a "ba-dum-tsh!" rim-shot type twist at the very end. its certainly fun to watch, although the best part of the episode is Arnold's cameo during the opening segment. I love his delivery of the title line.

Cutting Cards
- I love this episode. Flat out, LOVE it. I was laughing out loud throughout the final 5 minutes. its so over-the-top, so go-for-broke, and the performances are so great, there's not too much I can say about it. Of all the episodes i've watched so far, this has definitely been my favorite. Or, at least tied with ...And All Through the House.

'Till Death
- I tend to side a bit more with rhett than with DVDF...I thought this episode had some great effects, but the overall story was a bit of a let down. The location had me thinking of I Walked with a Zombie, but that's pretty much superior in every way to this. DVDF is right about the "on fire" line, it is a pretty good one, in retrospect. The DW Moffat character is quite the idiot, though. the voodoo priestess told him what one or two drops would do. i was expecting him to miscount, like Ash traveling forward in time, but no, he just dumps the whole fucking bottle in her drink. damn, that's some brazen stupidity.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:30 PM   #27
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Yeah Cutting Cards is one of the best episodes!
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:45 PM   #28
DVD-fanatic-9
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^ I just didn't think it was dark enough. And, might have mentioned that I didn't love Kevin Tighe.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:26 AM   #29
jcannon
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For those of you who are interested in picking up the series (or filling in gaps in your Crypt collection) FYE currently has each season for $10.00 at FYE. While not as good a deal Big Lots a few years back, it's a good opportunity for those who want to snag the series on the cheap.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:38 AM   #30
MisterTwister
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Yellow, Showdown, and King of the Road don't feel like Crypt episodes because they aren't.

They were put together for a show called "Two Fisted Tales" and when it was dropped they were re-packaged as Crypt episodes.
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