Tales from the Crypt Warner Home Video
Tales from the Crypt, a mix of horror, cautionary themes, and humor, hosted by a decomposing corpse (a puppet) was based on the EC comic books of the same title. Reminiscent of such TV programs as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, it ran as a series on HBO, the scripters freed from the limits on gore and nudity posed on the major networks.
But it wasn't so much the censorial absence that abetted the show, as much the decision to "creep" a little closer to the comic book melodrama than their TV ancestors, lending a natural parody to the narratives. The show boasted high production values although at times the scripting proved uneven. The storylines, often portrayed some low-lifes who having overdrawn their karmic account, received their comeuppance courtesy of the supernatural. Occasionally, evil also found victory, just often enough to keep the audience off balance.
The show benefited from the guest appearances by top stars such as Brad Pitt and Martin Sheen. Episodes were directed by notables such as Michael J. Fox and old "I'll be back," the current Governor of California. There were even appearances, via special effects, by Humphrey Bogart and Alfred Hitchcock. With a strong undercurrent of tongue-in-cheek, it's evident that cast and crew enjoyed themselves.
Watch these with a friend. Like a good bottle of wine, this humor is best appreciated through a shared experience. Tales, their macabre themes notwithstanding, leave you with more smiles than grimaces.
The Treatment Directed by Oren Rudavsky
Jake Singer (Chris Eigeman) has skills. A somewhat witty, not particularly handsome fellow, he has the ability to make beautiful women fall in love with him. But unable to believe he's lovable, he can never close the deal. This frustrates him, his objects of affection, and his shrink.
His psychiatrist, Dr. Morales (Ian Holm) who identifies himself as the last of the Freudians, comes complete with a heavy accent and an imperious, didactic style. Reproach and insult, wielded with a rapier, but wry wit, suggest embarrassment and humiliation as major players in the therapist's repertoire. His exchanges with Jake provide exposition, humor, and are an effective motivator for his patient.
Then Jake, a teacher at an upscale school, meets Allegra Marshall (Famke Janssen), an attractive and wealthy dowager who has enrolled her son in the institution. Like a revolving magnet, he finds himself attracted and repelled, depending on his fluctuating insecurity.
This is a real adult love story, without slapstick coincidences, Shakespearean mistaken identities or sentimentalities aimed at the lowest common denominator of emotion. As such, it may not last long in the theaters. However, it comes out on DVD in a couple of weeks.
Opens Aug. 24 at the Varsity