Welcome to my review, horror freaks! So glad you could join me and read about the 6 eerie episodes of HBO's "Tales from the Crypt," the very ones that helped the series rise from its tomb back in 1989. It's been 9 long years since the show went off the air, and until now, I've been waiting for the Crypt Keeper's putrid puns and awful alliterations to be forever preserved on DVD format. And why not? The show lasted a full 7 seasons and featured many of the biggest actors and directors in Hollywood. Each tale carefully incorporates the grisly black humor William M. Gaines EC comic books, which were almost banned in the 1950's. Did I say 'almost?' Anyway, as other HBO programs like "Dream On," "Deadwood," and "Carnivale" were packaged and displayed on Best Buy shelves, I wondered if "Tales" would ever be among them. Well, the time has finally arrived, creeps! As stated by John Kassir himself, Warner Brothers wisely chose to create these discs so we ourselves can scare the next generation of kiddies to come. Even better is the fact that the second disc of this Season 1 set will contain a sickening array of never-before-seen extras. I don't want to give the surprises away, but I will briefly tell you the stories you are about to see. Enter, if you dare!
"Dig that Cat...He's Real Gone" stars Joe Pantoliano as Ulric, a homeless alcoholic who becomes a rich and famous sideshow performer after a mad doctor (Gustav Vintas) surgically implants a cat's gland into Ulric's brain. This procedure allows him to die and return to life nine times. Morbid hilarity ensues as a carnival barker (Robert Wuhl) presents Ulric the Undying to astounded audiences who watch him get electrocuted, hanged, drowned in a tank, and shot with an arrow (among other things).
In "The Man Who was Death," Bill Sadler (who eventually starred in the 1995 Tales from the Crypt film "Demon Knight") plays Niles Talbot, a state executioner who loses his job after spending 12 years pulling the switch. This resulted because the government unexpectantly repealed the death penalty. However, not wanting to abandon his favorite occupation, Niles drifts to the other side of the law by killing criminals who were acquitted by the courts.
The frightening and festive "And All Through the House" stars Mary Ellen Trainor as a devious housewife named Elizabeth, who brutally bludgeons her husband with a poker to collect on an insurance policy. Just when she is ready to eliminate the corpse, a homicidal maniac donning a Santa Claus costume (Larry Drake) terrorizes her with an axe. Even worse, Elizabeth can't call the police for fear of being convicted of first degree murder and losing custody of her daughter.
Vanity and greed play a central role in "Only Sin Deep," a tale about a street prostitute named Sylvia Vane (Lea Thompson). After killing a pimp and stealing his gold jewelry, she willingly sells her beauty to a strange pawnbroker (Britt Leach) in exchange for $10,000 cash. At first, Sylvia wins over the affections of a suave playboy millionaire. But immediately afterward, as a result of some black magic performed by the pawnbroker, she gets increasingly distraught as her face quickly ages. Desperate to buy back her looks, she shoots her rich lover dead, but is then forced to avoid prison by staying ugly for life.
Prepare for a honeymoon hell in "Lover Come Hack To Me." Here, a cunning bachelor named Charles (Stephen Shellen) marries a naive Peggy (Amanda Plummer) for her inheritance money. On a rainy night, after accidentally getting stuck in an abandoned mansion, the two go up to the bedroom and make perfect love for the very first time. Originally, Charles was going to kill Peggy and stage the crime to look like a burglary. But he soon discovers that her family history is cursed, and that much darker skeletons lie in the bride's closet.
Last but not least is one of my favorite episodes, "Collection Completed." M. Emmet Walsh plays Jonas, a grouchy tool salesman who finally gets to retire after 47 years on the job. His slightly odd wife Anita (Audra Lindley) has developed a fondness for pets...alot of pets. In fact, she keeps a zoo-full of cats, dogs, and birds in the house. On top of that, she talks to squirrels and runs an aquarium in the bathtub. Obviously, such an attachment to animals is enough to drive Jonas up the wall! Inevitably, he gets sick and tired of not having enough attention, and he gleefully takes up taxidermy as a hobby. But those poor animals weren't the only living creatures that ended up getting stuffed.