Monsters. Madness. Mayhem. And, of course, the Crypt Keeper's bad puns! Tales from the Crypt returns from the grave once more to reanimate the best in humor and horror. Check out all 14 Season 4 episodes hosted by the comically cadaverous Crypt Keeper. Here for your warped amusement are the episodes "Split Personality," about a lounge lizard (Joe Pesci) getting more than he bargained for when he marries identical twins; "Werewolf Concerto," with Timothy ("Bond James Bond") Dalton on the hunt for a lupine fiend; and "Beauty Rest," with Mimi Rogers as an actress who'd kill for a part. Plus keep an eye out for Tom Hanks, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dylan McDermott, Christopher Reeve, 80s rocker Adam Ant and a hot-rodding Brad Pitt in these frightfully fun tales from filmmakers such as Lethal Weapon's Richard Donner, The Walking Dead's Frank Darabont and The Matrix's Joel Silver.]]>
Of the famous directors represented, best in show is John Frankenheimer, whose "Maniac at Large" makes sinuous use of a single set, a large library; Blythe Danner plays a meek librarian in fear of a serial killer, and Salome Jens (star of Frankenheimer's "Seconds") is her shrewish boss. Elsewhere, William Friedkin should be embarrassed by "On a Deadman's Chest," an extremely silly rock & roll thing about a tattoo with a life of its own. And Richard Donner's "Showdown," while providing a welcome bit of Western atmosphere, is either an existential puzzler or an unfinished production. The directorial novelty must be "Split Personality", a story of a con man (Joe Pesci) seducing a wealthy pair of twins. It's one of the more entertaining episodes, and it marks the sole directing outing for Hollywood mega-producer (and Tales exec producer) Joel Silver. For sheer perversity, few segments top "Beauty Rest", in which aspiring actress Mimi Rogers ends up regretting a successful audition (with Buck Henry, of all people).
The biggest rising-star find is probably Brad Pitt in "King of the Road", a lame tale of hotrod racers. Timothy Dalton, then fresh from his James Bond run, stars in one of the better shows in this set, "Werewolf Concerto," a clever piece about a werewolf hunter staying at a lodge terrorized by a lycanthrope. Perhaps the most sustained episode--nailing the series' blend of campy humor and gory fright--is "What's Cookin'," in which Christopher Reeve, the owner of an all-squid restaurant, revitalizes the business by switching to a different kind of meat.
The minimal extras are a commentary track for the Chris Reeve episode (including the voice of the Cryptkeeper, John Kassir) and a perfunctory montage about the season's stars. The show has a loyal following that will be happy to own this set, but for anybody else it must be noted that season 4 is a year of decline, and not the place to start for horror-curious boils and ghouls. --Robert Horton