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Tales From the Crypt: The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Written by Steve Pattee

DVD released by Warner

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Various writers and directors
1990, Region 1 (NTSC), 486 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on October 25th, 2005


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Based on the EC comics, Tales from the Crypt episodes are filled with the three "B's" of horror — taken from Timewarp Films' director, Joe Ripple, and paraphrased by me — Beasts, Blood and Babes.

Even better, this second season of HBO's classic television show offers three times as many episodes as the first season.

Three times more beasts.

Three times more blood.

Three times more babes.

18 episodes of carnage, death and just desserts.

Good times.

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One of the best things about Crypt is you always know how it's going to end. Always. You may not know the gory details — and nine times out of 10, rest assured, gore is in the mix — but the antagonist always gets his or hers in the end. Always.

"Crypt" is the epitome of just desserts.

Crypt has something else going for it; the talent both in front of and behind the camera.

"Crypt"'s journey to TV was made possible by Hollywood powerhouses Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis — some of the best producers in the business. Add some shows directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child's Play), Chris Walas (The Fly II) and Howard Deutch (Grumpier Old Men, Pretty in Pink), and you have a full corral.

Now, throw in the acting abilities of stars such as Demi Moore, Lance Henrickson, Rosanna Arquette, Don Rickles and more, and even the bad episodes have a redeeming value.

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But here's the thing: Even the bad episodes are good. Certainly, there are favorite episodes where everything fires on all cylinders, but sometimes there will be an episode or two in which the story is substandard. But that substandard episode doesn't matter, because it's still better then most of what is on TV today.

There are, of course, some standouts on the discs, and they really stand out.

"The Ventriloquist's Dummy" is a blast. Don Rickles (Innocent Blood, Casino) is Mr. Ingles, a once-great ventriloquist who suddenly stopped performing after a mysterious fire in which a woman he was with died. 15 years later, Billy Goldman (Bobcat Goldthwait – Blow, Police Academy 2), an aspiring ventriloquist whose hero is Mr. Ingles, manages to find him. But he doesn't like what else he finds.

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In "Four-Sided Triangle," Patricia Arquette (True Romance, Holes) plays Mary Jo, a young woman held on a farm against her will and forced to do the farmer's wife's bidding—as well as put up with the farmer's disgusting advances. But things change when she gets a boyfriend. The scarecrow.

And Teri Hatcher (TV's "Desperate Housewives") and Miguel Ferrer (The Night Flier, Traffic) star in "The Thing From the Grave" as a model, Stacy, and her jealous boyfriend/manager, Mitch. When Stacy gets another boyfriend, Mitch doesn't like it one bit. After he puts a beatdown on her, Stacey's new boyfriend promises to protect her. Always. And he does — even after he is shot by Mitch.

With great stars and great directing, you are always in for a good time with "Tales From the Crypt."

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Video and Audio:

Like season one, "Crypt"'s colors are bright and vibrant — preserving its comic-book roots.

However, there are many instances of spots and blemishes in its 4:3 OAR presentation. It doesn't ruin the experience, but it is incredibly noticeable.

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The 2.0 audio sounds great. The music is, as always with the show, wonderful and the voices are crisp and clear.

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Special Features:

Disc two of the set offers "Fright and Sound: Bringing the Crypt Experience to Radio." It runs about three minutes and is an interesting look at the behind-the-scenes of the radio show.

On disc three, a documentary that is appropriately titled "Behind-the-Screams Shockumentary Featurette" is offered, and it is an enjoyable 13 minute look into the second season of "Crypt."

While both featurettes are nice, they are not very long and I was left wanting more.

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Movie: 3.5 Stars
Video: 2.5 Stars
Audio: 4 Stars
Features: 2 Stars
Overall: 3 Stars – At the very least, a must rental.

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Even though the special features left something to be desired and the video could have gone through another round of cleanup, "Crypt" is always a blast and this should be in any fan's collection.

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About The Author
Steve Pattee
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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