Last year, I wrote an article listing part 1 of my favorite Tales From The Crypt episodes and I said part 2 was going to be posted soon. That turned out to be a lie. Since then, I focused on other things and I never got around to posting part 2. So, for Day 7, I’m going to finally post it! (NOTE: looking back on part 1, I realized that I said some of the paragraphs had spoilers, but I never specified which ones. I apologize for that, and I’ll work on that in the future!)
And All Through The House
A woman (Mary Ellen Trainor) decides to murder her husband (Marshall Bell) on Christmas Eve. Little does she know, she’ll soon have to fight for her life against an escaped mental patient (Larry Drake) in a Santa suit. Mary Ellen Trainer really impressed me in this episode. I’m used to seeing her be the sweet mother. Here, she’s almost as crazy as Sinister Santa. Larry Drake was always great at playing a psychopath, and I have to say this is my favorite performance of his! It’s the perfect episode to put you in the holiday spirit.
Only Sin Deep
Obsessed with living the high life, Sylvia Vane (Lea Thompson) pawns her beauty to a sketchy pawnbroker. I always love a good episode with a good concept. This one provides a terrifying example of what happens when you put your own looks before everything else. Lea Thompson was excellent in this one! I loved her tough demeanor, and she was definitely not a person to be messed with.
After being forced to retire from his job, neighborhood grump Jonas (M. Emmet Walsh) comes home to find his wife brings in every stray animal she comes across. Whenever I see this episode, I’m reminded of how sad it truly is. Jonas and Anita (Audra Lindley) have been married for so long, yet they’re so lonely. Then Jonas has to go insane instead of having a simple conversation with someone he’s been married to for over 40 years. You know what? This is the perfect episode to showcase how important communication is in a relationship.
Two sworn enemies, hellbent on driving each other out of Las Vegas, play a game of poker with some VERY high stakes. I really love this episode because it’s simple, yet effective. These two characters, Sam (Kevin Tighe) and Reno (Lance Henriksen) hate each other so much, they were willing to do anything, including play Russian Roulette, just to be rid of each other. That kind of hatred is never a good thing. Yet, they can’t seem to simply stay away from each other. That kind of relationship reminds me of Brian and Stewie from Family Guy – that kind of love-hate relationship.
For Cryin’ Out Loud
Imagine if your conscience was a literal personified being you could actually hear. Now, imagine your conscience had the voice of Sam Kinison. That’s what rock-and-roll promotor, Marty Slash (Lee Arenberg) has to deal with when he attempts to steal a million dollars from a charity fund. I really loved this one because the concept is so different to me, I’ve never seen anything else with this idea! Plus, it was a story that was to tense, that it really kept me on the edge of my seat.
Struggling with his marriage and his work, comic book artist, Jim (Harry Anderson) takes experimental drugs that inadvertently bring his drawings to life. This was a really cool meta episode. With the monsters, it has a very kiddish, Goosebumps-like vibe. Colleen Camp’s (Mildred) performance was my favorite thing about this episode. Mildred’s dialogue and facial expressions were almost cartoonish as well, which was perfect for this story!
Horton Rivers (Morton Downey Jr.), a typically obnoxious television host, gives a live tour of a seemingly haunted house. I really love the interactions with the characters in this one. Everyone has such an attitude towards each other, and I don’t know why, but it makes this even more entertaining. Also, this episode has one of the creepiest parts I’ve ever seen on this show. It’s one of those moments that doesn’t creep me out while I’m watching it, but it does creep me out when it randomly pops into my head. If it follows you after you’ve watched it, then it has done its job!
Famed serial killer, Earl Diggs (Kyle MacLachlan) escapes death row with a bag full of cash and a seemingly easy ride to Mexico. However, his escape plans go awry, and with a motorcycle cop and a vulture on his tail, he tries to get through the desert on foot. This episode has my favorite Kyle MacLachlan performance! I loved his energetic, tough-guy persona. This episode provides a tense and hilarious chase scene, and one of the best and gnarliest death scenes in the entire show!
After being neglected by her workaholic husband (Alan Rachins) for weeks, a soap opera obsessed housewife (Faye Grant) seeks the affection of their cable guy (Anthony LaPaglia). This one is a very interesting episode! While mocking the silliness of the soap opera formula, it gives us a compelling story that shows two different sides that aren’t totally in the right or totally in the wrong. Then, you mix it with one of the weirdest and most clever revenge plots that I guarantee you can’t guess!
Helen (Mimi Rogers) is an aspiring actress who’s down on her luck. With her roommate, Joyce (Kathy Ireland) supposedly sleeping her way to all of Helen’s desired roles, Helen decides enough is enough and does whatever it takes to steal Joyce’s spot in a beauty pageant. I really love this episode because it takes the phrase, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” – which can mean two completely things – and combines them in an epic fashion. Like Top Billing, it’s an episode where crazy meats even crazier! Plus, the final song is a real bonus!
Maniac At Large
Poor skittish Margaret (Blythe Danner) is forced to work after hours at the library with her sinister boss, Mrs. Pritchard (Salome Jens) and the library’s unprofessional security guard Grady (Clarence Williams III). To make things worse, there’s a psychotic killer on the loose, and Margaret’s fear and paranoia make her suspect everyone she meets. The ending to this episode is nothing short of brilliant to me. It perfectly displayed what can happen when fear and lack of trust controls your life.
What do you get when you cross an aging puppeteer, a suspected adulterer, and a puppet with a mind of its own? You get a hell of a creepy episode! Donald O’Connor plays former puppet master, Joseph, who now sulks in his home and talks to his puppet about his paranoias. When a new television opportunity arises, Joseph hires newcomer, David (Zach Galligan) to help him prepare. Soon, tensions and accusations rise between the trio. This episode is always interesting to me because of the metaphor of getting too into your work to the point of being engulfed in it.
Death Of Some Salesmen
Judd Campbell (Ed Begley Jr.) is a traveling salesman (con artist) who goes to grieving families to sucker them out of their hard-earned money. While traveling, he ends up at the wrong house and meets a family that’s a salesman’s worst nightmare. If Tim Curry’s performances were ranked based on levels of weirdness, his performances in this episode would top them all! I admire his dedication to his characters here; he really goes all out! If you like weird and disturbing, this episode is a must!
People Who Live In Brass Hearses
After serving 2 years in prison, Billy (Bill Paxton) and his mentally challenged brother Virgil (Brad Dourif) hatch a scheme to rob the ice cream vender who was responsible for his arrest. This episode has Bill Paxton and Brad Dourif at their best! They worked so well together here, I wish they worked together more. The characters were appealing, the acting was superb and we’re given a truly shocking twist!
Let The Punishment Fit The Crime
This whole episode was perfect and fitting. Well-known ambulance chaser Geraldine (Catherine O’Hara) finds herself stuck in a town that still carries out very strict punishments. I always loved the concept of exact justice. This episode has one of the best executions. Geraldine is forced to reflect on her choices and we see how many people were affected by her actions. Plus, she has to deal with a nerdy, seemingly incompetent district attorney with his own skeletons. Peter MacNicol (Austin) is what really sold this episode for me. I loved his quirky and oafish persona.
Janet McKay (Shelley Hack) seems to have it all: a beautiful house, a loving husband, and not a care in the world – that is, until 3 assassins break into her home with the intent to kill her and her husband. This is one of the show’s funniest episodes! Janet’s life is literally in danger, and all she can think about is keeping her home in perfect order. It’s really funny to see paid killers talk about interior design. Another thing I love about it is rewatching it and seeing all the subtle hints that lead to the big reveal at the end, it was very well done. If that’s not enough to convince you, William Sadler comes back as The Grim Reaper just to have Rock Paper Scissors match with the Crypt Keeper (John Kassir).
Judy, You’re Not Yourself Today
Only Skin Deep
Doctor Of Horror