For those lucky few who can remember the Tales From The Crypt and other horror comic books from back when you could afford more than one comic book with your allowance money Tales From The Crypt The Complete Fourth Season is a hell of a gore fest treat. The fourteen episodes in this 3 horror DVD box set are a riot of tongue-in-cheek horror television episodes. It helps that some of Hollywood's who's who and who's who? star in the tales and, in the case of Tom Hanks, sometimes direct. What really makes this show a lot of fun is the intro and closer featuring the Crypt Keeper voiced by John Kassir.
Tales From The Crypt The Complete Fourth Season are based on the legendary comic book of the same name and follow its formula very closely. Each episode opens with an introduction by the Crypt Keeper in a very Alfred Hitchcock Presents mode. That the Crypt Keeper has a nasty taste for blood, gore, and bad puns certainly puts an interesting and funny spin on these horror television shows. The major difference between the TV horror show and the original Crypt comic books is there is occasional full nudity in one episode.
Meat Loaf is, in the tradition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the dinner guest in Episode 6, What's For Dinner. Christopher Reeve is the owner of an all-squid restaurant that is of course not doing well until his assistant, Judd Nelson, comes up with a new recipe that is a hit in the neighborhood. The extra feature commentary with the Crypt Keeper is quite enjoyable. Mimi Rogers (who played the attorney in the Spenser TV movie Stone Cold) is a down on her luck actress willing to do anything to get a part or win a beauty contest. She makes the fatal mistake of finding out immortality has its price.
None But The Lonely Heart features Treat Williams as a gigolo with a track record of very short term relationships with his long-lived wives. Look for Tom Hanks as the guy running the dating agency. Hanks also directed and indulged in a few artsy fartsy camera angles. I particularly liked King Of The Road if only because Raymond J. Barry gets to kick some Brad Pitt ass after the overacting and under talented one challenges him to a road race and before he kidnaps his daughter. It may also be that Barry beats up on Pitt for his pale imitation of Gene Simmons. This episode is enhanced with music by Warren Zevon.
Joe Pesci gets to play two sides of a gumba in Split Personality. The story makes no sense but this is still a fun and gory episode involving doubling down and twins. Screen legend Donald O'Connor (Singin' In The Rain, the Francis movies) plays a fifties kids show puppeteer who becomes jealous if his beautiful and much younger wife (Patricia Charbonneau) in Strung Along with the obligatory killer puppet. Guess that's what she gets for stringing him along.
Some episodes in Tales From The Crypt The Complete Fourth Season are definitely B-movie stuff. Fortunately, these are few and far between. This'll Kill Ya stars Dylan McDermott as the head of a university laboratory willing to cut some experimental corners to the dismay of his colleagues Sonia Braga and Cleavon Little. The writing and acting do not help a weak premise. On A Deadman's Chest, about a rock star who gets a special Alien style tattoo suffers from weak acting by Yul Vasquez though rock star Greg Allman plays a secondary role. The weakest of all is Curiosity Killed where a magic potion makes old people young again; the story is good but the make up used to make the actors look old really looks cheesy. That Margot Kidder plays an old biddie as if she was Mrs. Doubtfire does not help.
DVD 1: None But The Lonely Heart, This'll Kill Ya, On A Deadman's Chest, Séance, Beauty Rest, and What's Cooking
DVD 2: The New Arrival, Showdown, King Of The Road, Maniac At Large, Split Personality, and Strung Along
DVD 3: Werewolf Concerto, Curiosity Killed, Special features.