Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tales from the Crypt, Season 3, episodes 7-13

Inching along. You'd think it'd be easy to get through a series of half-hour shows, wouldn't you?

7. The Reluctant Vampire 

"A good natured vampire takes a more novel approach to satisfying his blood lust with his chosen undercover employment." (IMDB). 

Solid enough; Malcolm McDowell (from A Clockwork Orange) as "Longtooth" I think was vital, he just seemed really likable and kind of sweet. I think fans of modern vampires will find this one really old and stuffy: no hot lead, no glamouring, no sparkling, nothing---but if you were into vampires before Bon Temps and The Cullens, you'll probably dig it all right. George Wendt, Sandra Dickenson, and Michael Berryman (Weird Science, Star Trek, and the Crue's SMOKING IN THE BOYS ROOM video) co-star. Pretty interesting group.

8. Easel Kill Ya

"Painter Jack Craig gains himself a wealthy patron when he sells a morbid painting. He soon finds that in order to please his patron, he must continue to paint pictures of death - and this leads him down a murderous path." (IMDB). 

Kind of far-fetched, but again, a solidly entertaining episode. Tim Roth has never really done much for me before, but he was pretty hot in this as an angry, outburst-prone artist. I got a really creepy Christian Shephard vibe from the white-wearing benefactor, but it worked. The relationship with the chick didn't seem all that serious in the beginning, but I guess (after she finds out the truth behind his art) he decides he really loves her? Nice ending.

9. Undertaking Palor

"Four boys find out that the local undertaker and a pharmacist are in cahoots to murder rich locals and profit from their funerals." (IMDB). 

This was fun. I mean, at first those boys seemed really annoying and just a bunch of foul-mouthed jerks, but it came together well when that awful mortician popped in. Eating pizza and guzzling Pepsi as he embalms a woman (who he had also just bashed in the face with a sledgehammer?) . . . gross. He seemed really excited and gleeful to be doing what he was doing, and honestly, a good, creepy villain makes for a great episode, so I approve 100%.

10. Mournin' Mess

"There's a killer on the loose who preys on the homeless. Dale Sweeney is a recently fired reporter. He's approached by a homeless man named Robert who is accused of committing these murders. He tells Dale that he will give him the whole story with names to help prove his innocence if Dale will go the Grateful Homeless Cemetery and hang out until sunset then meet him after. Dale gets sidetracked by Jess Gilchrist, the spokesperson for the Grateful Homeless Society. By the time he meets up with Robert, he finds he has become the latest victim of the homeless killer. Dale is on his own to uncover the identity of the killer." (IMDB). 

Also fun. But like her husband (Tom Hanks), I just can't be okay with Rita Wilson in a sexual role---she just seems too . . . wholesome and good or something. Steven Weber does a great "all writers are drunks or assholes" bit; didn't see the ending coming, like, at all. John Woo would have been appropriately delighted by it, I think.

11. Split Second

"Liz is a beautiful, but loose, bar waitress who marries Steve Dixon, the rich owner of a lumber camp. It Isn't a difficult decision as he's able to offer her a fairly comfortable life. But Steve has a violent jealous streak, not liking the attention she get's from his 'salt of the earth' employees. Things begin to turn sour, particularly in the bedroom, and Liz get's bored very quickly. But when the handsome young Ted turns up at their door looking for a job, the promiscuous seductress sets her sights on relieving her boredom." (IMDB). 

Grotesque and enjoyable. And by grotesque, I'm including the fashion, the sick dialogue, and that MULLET-SPORTING LOGGER HUSBAND, too (not just the grisly ending, which is very Fargo-ish).
I tried forever to figure out who the female lead was---Michelle Johnson, who was none other than the faux-French stuttering Anna from the spa in Death Becomes Her. Anyway. Severely uncomfortable for most of the duration but still worth watching. Very 90s.

12. Deadline

"Charles McKenzie is a drunk out of work reporter who would do anything for a story. He meets Vicki in a bar who makes him feel like he can turn his life around. He quits drinking and can get his old job back as long as he can stay on the wagon and prove he can still bring in a good murder story. While reading a newspaper in Niko's Grill, he hears the owner kill his wife in the back. This is just the story he needs..." (IMDB).

Meh. Kinda lamesville; not a lot of flow and ridiculous ending. Skip it, unless you're interested in quick glimpses of Marg Helgenberger's breasts.

13. Spoiled

"Janet is married to a doctor who's married to his work. She wants to live her life with passion, danger, and romance like Fuchsia Monroe, a soap opera character she watches religiously. When her television goes haywire, her friend Louise convinces her to get cable. With her husband unresponsive to her "needs," she begins a steamy affair with the cable guy." (IMDB). 

Both funny and kind of annoying. Would have been better with Jim Carey as the cable guy as I don't know, a precursor to the film version. I just kept wanting Anthony LaPaglia to announce himself that way, or to just start getting all perv-y and weird immediately, but he almost seemed too polite? Come on. Polite cable guys don't bang doctor's wives on service calls. (Mein Supervisor sez there ist problem mit dein Cable?) Nice ending.


Donald said...

My quick thoughts:

"The Reluctant Vampire"
Should've been a slam dunk. Classic Tales from the Crypt story (I even remember the original comic!), starring Malcom McDowell and George Wendt... but it just didn't work. The story was all over the place when it should've been simple and tight, and it never decided if it wanted to be funny or scary. Some of the best Tales episodes are funny AND scary, but this episode was neither. But it's not boring, and the two leads are always good so it's maybe worth watching anyway.

"Easel Kill Ya"
I actually like this one. It's very dry and kind of boring, but Tim Roth is a great actor and the story is very clever. Oh, and William Atherton makes anything worth checking out.

"Undertaking Palor"
I love this episode, even though I can understand why somebody else might find it boring, trite, and pointless. It's definitely Crypt's attempt on a Goonies rip off with a much less epic story, but all of the kids and the adults alike are so great and so much fun. Also, as you said, John Glover's performance as the world's creepiest undertaker was hilarious.

"Mournin' Mess"
I have almost no memory about this, except for the pretty funny twist ending. Was Vincent Sciavelli in this? Or am I thinking of Ghost? Or was he in both as the same character?

"Split Second"
One of my all time favorites, that just barely missed making my top ten best of list. Michelle Johnson is crazy hot, Steve Dixon is incredibly scary, and the whole thing is so horrific and gory. Classic Tales episode.

This is one of those episodes that keeps you watching because you know that at any moment it's going to be great... but then it just kind of ends. Great idea for an episode with an absolutely amazing performance by Richard Jordan. He was a brilliant but forgotten actor who was playing a brilliant but forgotten reporter. Jordan was great, and died of a brain turmor two years after making this episode. Watch it for the acting, but don't expect much from the story.

One of the worst! This is one of those episodes where it was obvious they had a twist ending in mind, and then wasted 29 minutes leading up to it. All of the actors are pretty funny and the special effects at the end are nice, but this episode sucks.