Starring John Kassir, Tim Curry, Kevin Dillon, Billy Zane, Martin Sheen, Brooke Shields, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Picardo, Yvonne DeCarlo, Roger Daltry, Steve Buscemi, Ernie Hudson, Bill Paxton, Brad Dourif, Adam West
Distributed by Warner Home Video
One of the most beloved characters in our genre has got to be The Cryptkeeper. Throughout the Nineties horror fans tuned in to HBO hoping to see what everyone’s favorite cackling monstrosity had in store for us to behold. Would it be zombies? Murderers? Vampires? Or maybe the occasional stinker of an episode that made us hope next week’s show could help erase the mediocrity of this week’s? Sadly, that was the impression I garnered from most of Season Five, and as a result this will probably end up being one of my shortest reviews ever.
Why so short? Isn’t there anything to talk about considering that there were ten plus episodes? The answer can be summed up in four words … been there, done that. Almost every single entry of Season Five is comprised of good elements of other movies and other episodes. The only problem is that here these rehashings result in a patchwork type feeling that’s horridly stale. Every story’s subject matter has not only been done to death, but done a lot better elsewhere. Season Five feels as lifeless and cold as old Crypty’s puppet when no one’s pulling the strings.
It didn’t look that way in the beginning. Things start off with a bang, but then there is misfire after misfire.
In the first episode entitled “Death of Some Salesman,” the demented Tim Curry gets to flex his acting muscle in not one but three different roles. Each character he brings to life runs the gamut between wicked and disgusting at a speed of about one hundred miles per hour. This episode embodies everything that we’ve come to expect from watching Tales from the Crypt and is easily the season’s best entry. Unfortunately, when you reach a peak, there is nowhere left to go but down.
From there we’re treated to cliche after cliche as guest stars chew up scenery and pile on the silliness. I cannot help but wonder what the hell happened. Here’s my observation: Up until now each season featured episodes directed by either top or semi-top talent. The series producers like Robert Zemeckis would turn in a few here and there; hell, even celebs like Arnold Schwarzenegger would try their hand in the captain’s chair. Here we’re treated mostly to an assortment of young directors that were obviously just cutting their teeth. This hurts things more than one would think. The reason for this change of pace is anyone’s guess. Maybe the bigwigs were just bored with the concept.
On the supplemental side of the fence, things don’t fare much better. There are three discs in this collection. On each one Special Features are listed, but when clicked, Discs 1 and 2 tell you to check Disc 3. After doing so, we come to find a single extra! A virtual comic book that showcases the first episode of the season, “Death of Some Salesman.” I guess I’m not the only one who thought this was the sole bright spot here, eh? To be fair, the virtual comic is a blast. It clocks in at a run time of about thirteen minutes with Kassir doing all of the narration and voice work. I loved it. Hell, I wouldn’t mind seeing a DVD of just stuff like this. Sadly, something tells me that will never come to be. One can wish though, no?
In short, very short, Tales from the Crypt Season Five falls flat. The season as a whole is just below average. Seasons One through Four stand head and shoulders above this one. My review? Two stabbies max with an extra half thrown in for the cool animated comic. For completists only; everyone else — happy renting.
Virtual comic book
2 1/2 out of 5
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