Binge Watchin' TV Review: Tales From The Crypt

Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.

Series: Tales From The Crypt

Number of Seasons: 7 (93 episodes)

Where to watch: HBO GO, Blu-Ray/DVD

What’s the show about?

An anthology of horror and suspense tales based on the classic EC Comics series of the same name, Tales From The Crypt aired on HBO and was therefore free of network censorship. Chock full of gore, violence, profanity, and nudity, the series showcased the biggest celebrities in Hollywood in contemporary takes on the pulp fiction writings of a bygone era. Each episode, hosted by the Cryptkeeper (voiced by John Kassir), would present a standalone story meaning you can watch any episode without seeing the previous ones. Stories run the gamut from scary horror stories to sexual thrillers gone wrong and even includes an animated outing as well. Overall, Tales From The Crypt is scary stories for fans of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits with some extra gore and nudity.

Why should I watch it?

There are few series that have handled the horror genre as adeptly as Tales From The Crypt. Between The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits until the debut of this HBO anthology series, there were not many television creations that gathered the best and brightest in Hollywood to tell absurd and strange tales. Over it's seven season run, Tales From The Crypt attracted stars such as Adam Ant, Lee ArenbergPatricia ArquetteBess ArmstrongDan AykroydHank Azaria, Ed Begley, Jr., Sandra BernhardSonia BragaSteve BuscemiTia CarrerePatricia Clarkson,Daniel CraigTim CurryMark DacascosTimothy Dalton, Roger Daltrey, Beverly D'Angelo, Blythe Danner, Benicio del Toro, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kirk DouglasBrad DourifCorey FeldmanTeri GarrWhoopi GoldbergShelley HackTeri HatcherMarg HelgenbergerMariel HemingwayLance HenriksenJane HorrocksBob HoskinsErnie Hudson, Kylie Ireland, Eddie IzzardLainie KazanMargot Kidder, Ute Lemper, Audra LindleyJohn LithgowCleavon LittleMeat LoafTraci LordsJon LovitzMalcolm McDowellElizabeth McGovern, Ewan McGregor, Demi MooreDavid MorseJudd Nelson, Donald O'Connor, Catherine O'Hara, Joe PantolianoRobert PatrickBill PaxtonDavid PaymerJoe PesciBrad PittIggy PopPriscilla PresleyAmanda Plummer,Christopher ReeveNatasha RichardsonDon RicklesTim RothIsabella RosselliniZelda RubinsteinKatey SagalJulia SawalhaMartin SheenBrooke Shields,Slash, Vincent SpanoJohn StamosImelda StauntonBen SteinLea ThompsonRachel TicotinSusan Tyrrell, Vanity, Ally WalkerDavid WarnerSam Waterston,Steven WeberGeorge WendtAdam WestClarence Williams IIITreat Williams, and Grace Zabriskie. Plus, the series also gave on screen talent the chance to direct episodes (Michael J. Fox, Tom HanksKyle MacLachlan and Arnold Schwarzenegger), many of whom would go on to be big screen filmmakers while also drawing in helmers like Robert ZemeckisRichard DonnerHoward DeutchJohn FrankenheimerWilliam FriedkinWalter Hill, Tom HollandTobe HooperMary LambertPeter MedakRussell Mulcahy, Elliot Silverstein, and Vincent Spano.

This made Tales From The Crypt feel like more than just a television show but like a variety series from the old days of television. Seeing these famous faces ham it up in prosthetics and blood packs to tell tales beyond macabre made for destination viewing. As a kid, I remember wishing I had HBO just so I could watch this show. as a young teen, I was not allowed to watch shows like this but more due to the nudity and profanity than the gore. Seeing the opening credits and iconic theme song by Danny Elfman followed by the Cryptkeeper's signature cackle always put a smile on my face and let me know I was in for some ridiculous entertainment. Tales From The Crypt definitely had some scary episodes, but they more often skewed to being weird and bizarre. There have been very few series like it and even American Horror Story pales in comparison.

Like The Twilight Zone, Tales From The Crypt episodes often ended with a twist. Unlike M.Night Shyamalan movies, these twists were not forced and always seemed to work in the context of the story. But, when a twist wasn't needed, you still knew the writers had taken extra special care to make the message of the episode stick with you long after watching it. But, while a lot of series that people choose to binge watch are serial narratives like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, or Ray Donovan, Tales From The Crypt is a series of standalone stories that have no connection to one another. That can be a big benefit when binging as it allows you to watch a marathon of tales that go from scary to funny to weird without having to change shows. Plus, with over seventy stories to choose from, you could just choose one at random to start with and know you are getting something good.

Best season:

While the first and third seasons contain the best episodes from the series' run, the second season has some of the best the show had to offer. Widely considered to be the best episode of the show, season two's "Cutting Cards" starring Kevin Tighe and Lance Henriksen is a powerful thirty minute masterpiece that demostrates the source material that the show was based on unlike any other. The season also included "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" starring Don Rickles and directed by Richard Donner and “For Cryin’ Out Loud” starring Katey Sagal.

Final thoughts:

Decades after airing, Tales From The Crypt still works despite dated fashion and special effects. Even the Cryptkeeper still looks more realistic than half of the CGI effects in horror today. While we have shows like Black Mirror to keep our anthology addiction going, there are few shows that deserve a reboot or revivial run than Tales From The Crypt. HBO would make a bundle bringing their trademark series back to air and give a new generation of stars and filmmakers the chance to tickle their funny bone while pouring buckets of gore and horror across our flat screens.

Source: JoBlo.com



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