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By Jef Dinsmore on Oct 31, 2012 to HBO Classics

“BOO! That’s right it is me the Crypt Keeper in your face. So, move over cronies cause I’m in charge now. After all who is the HBO classic around here? Since we are concluding our look at my show – TALES FROM THE CRYPT – I want to make sure it goes out with a bang before it is stuffed back into its tomb for who knows how long. Now focus your attention on Season 6 …and enjoy.”

“Season Six began with a three episode block. It was a great Halloween in 1994 for me and HBO as the season premiere aired on October, 31 of that year.”

“Let the Punishment Fit The Crime” was directed by Russell Mulcahy. PLOT – An ambulance-chasing lawyer finds herself in nightmare court when she is hauled in and she finds herself going through it over and over in her own little hell. Each offense that befalls her gets worse and the appointed district attorney manages to help. Her last offense warrants a death penalty and her counsel once again manages to aid her. She is offered a stint in civil service in exchange for her counsel’s death; it seems the only way out of the job is death. So she becomes the new district attorney and the vicious cycle continues. The poor lady caught in this little hell is Catherine O’Hara and her counsel is played by Peter McNicol.

“Only Skin Deep” was directed by William Malone. PLOT – In this little tale a desperate dude meets a girl at a costume party and they hit it off. He takes her home but shortly proves to have a violent streak. He taunts her about her costume choice to the party and we soon learn that what you see is what you get – the mask is actually her face as she bloodily removes his. Sherrie Rose is the deformed damsel, seen here, and Peter Onorati is her boy toy.

”Whirlpool” was directed by Mick Garris. PLOT – A comic book artist called Rolanda has an overly vivid imagination. She keeps on reliving gruesome scenarios which include being fired and then killed by Vern, her boss. In the end we learn that it is all a comic book story pitch from the artist to the boss. The real twist though is that the roles are reversed – Rolanda, played by Rita Rudner is the boss and she is not at all happy will how Vern, played by Richard Lewis, treated her.

 “Operation Friendship” was directed by Roland Mesa. PLOT – This is a simple piece played for comedic effect as a computer nerd whips up an imaginary friend so he always seems to be a social guy. Of course, the odd pal named Eddie becomes more and more inane and insane and just might drive his creator there as well. I mean if I had the crazed Eddie, pictured here, always at my elbow…well, I’m just saying. Our nerd is acted by Tate Donovan and Eddie is broadly played by Peter Dobson.

“Revenge Is the Nuts” was directed by Jonas McCord. PLOT – Well, there is no question what this episode is about – sweet revenge! Here a cruel man in charge of a home for the blind gets a taste of his own medicine when the patients seek revenge for their constant abusive treatment. First off, you can be sure that the patients are going to level the playing field by taking out the lights and then have at it. It isn’t pretty. Anthony Zerbe plays the evil man getting his comeuppance.

“The Bribe” was directed by Ramon Menendez. PLOT –Newly appointed fire marshal Inspector Martin Zeller aims to shut down the strip club that his daughter Hillary works as a dancer at. However, Zeller finds out Hillary isn’t getting a scholarship for college, so he takes a bribe from sleazy club owner Puck to pay for her tuition. Nonetheless, Zeller still decides to go through with his plan to close down the club. The twist in this one is that it isn’t the owner, acted by Esai Morales, that thwarts the inspector, played by Terry O’Quinn, but the daughter, performed by Kimberly Williams.

“The Pit” was directed by John Harrison. PLOT – Here’s an odd one. Two martial artists are top rivals but really like each other. The ones who can’t stand each other are their wives. They keep arranging for their men to fight for fame & glory, but in the end, the tables are turned and the big mouth ladies end up duking it out in the main event. The macho men in this one are actual martial artists/actors Mark Dascascos and Stoney Jackson. Las Vegas’ Wayne Newton emcees the bouts.

“The Assassin” was directed by Martin Von Haselberg. PLOT – A group of operatives invade the home of a housewife in search of her husband whom they believe is an AWOL CIA assassin. Who is going to walk out of this house alive? It seems that a dangerous man has disappeared and is believed to have changed identity and blended in. A team suspects a lady’s husband but, the wife is not happy of the invasion to her home. She takes out the team one by one, including using a high heel shoe through the eye! In the end the harried housewife, played by Shelly Hack, is the assassin; the dangerous man went as far as to change his gender!

“Staired In Horror” was directed by Stephen Hopkins. PLOT – A man on the run from the law finds refuge in a house owned by a woman whose house and stairway are cursed. A cursed stairway, you ask? Well, one night he finds an attractive woman upstairs, but he discovers that she and the old woman are one in the same. She tells him that a long time ago her spouse caught her having an affair; thus the curse. She must stay up stairs if she wants to be young forever. The same thing will happen to the man if he comes upstairs. The cops arrive and he goes upstairs to change his image like the woman does but in his earnestness he finds himself getting weak and before he knows it he is an infant unable to do anything but crawl.

“In The Groove” was directed by Vincent Spano. PLOT – A talk radio show host, named Gary, finally becomes successful after linking up with aggressive go-getter Valerie and intends to keep it that way. There will be no more graveyard shift for him when they decide to off Rita, the station owner. Rita also happens to be Gary’s sister and the plot is to kill her so that ownership of the station reverts to him. Needless to say the plan does not go as planned as the women are in cahoots. Gary is played by Miguel Ferrer in his third appearance in this series. Wendie Malick (of HBO Classic DREAM ON) is Rita and Linda Doucett (of HBO Classic THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW) is Valerie.

“Surprise Party” was directed by Elliot Silverstein. PLOT – In this one a man murders his father to inherit a house, but gets a big surprise when he learns the place harbors a horrible legacy. The house is derelict after being damaged in a fire twenty years prior by the father. When the son goes to the property he discovers youths throwing a big party. He ends up flirting with a girl there and gets in a fight; he wins the fight and is about to leave when the youths he killed appear again. They are undead and kill the man in revenge for their deaths at the hand of the father. The father and son are played by Rance Howard and Adam Storke.

“Doctor Of Horror” was directed by Larry Wilson. PLOT – Richard and Charlie are security guards working in a morgue. They are offered five hundred dollars by a doctor who is trying to capture the soul of each dying person before it goes to heaven. When their boss figures out what’s happening Richard is forced to kill him to keep the operation hushed but in his rage he kills Charlie too. The doctor succeeds in capturing Charlie’s soul and Charlie comes back out for revenge; poor Richard. Richard and Charlie are played by Hank Azaria and Travis Tritt and in the mad doctor role is Austin Pendelton.

“Comes The Dawn” was directed by John Herzfeld. PLOT – Colonel Parker and Sergeant Burrows are two ex-soldiers with a murky past. They head in to the Alaskan wilderness to do some illegal hunting. They bring a local girl along as scout. Unknown to the two army men they are going to be made to face the consequences of their evil past actions. There scout hearing of their nasty behavior and witnessing some of it firsthand leads them for a cave for shelter. It is a cave of hibernating vampires (such as the one left) and there is no escape from them in a land slipped into 24 hour darkness. The Colonel is Michael Ironside; the Sergeant is Bruce Payne and their devilish scout is played by Vivian Wu. 

“99 and 44/100% Pure Horror” was directed by Rodman Flender. PLOT – This is a quirky tale. It seems that Willa enjoys gruesome and gory inspired art. Her own husband, a soap manufacturer, used her artwork for the advertising campaign but fires her blaming the inappropriate designs as the cause of the company’s financial trouble. She beats him into a bloody pulp and disposes him in a chemical vat at the factory making him into bars of soap. In one last act of defiance see cleans up in the shower with a “hubby human fat” soap bar. The gruesome and gory result is her skin melting and dripping off her skeletal frame. Yep, that’s pure horror all right! Cristi Conaway was Willa and her soapy husband was played by Bruce Davison.

“You, Murderer” was directed by Robert Zemeckis. PLOT – This is another one of those tales that was a favorite of many and a controversial one. It is a film-noirish game of deception, lust and murder as told through the point of view of the corpse, who just happens to look like…wait for it…Humphrey Bogart. You see, Lou is an ex-con looking to escape from his past. He hires Oscar, an expert plastic surgeon to sculpt his face in the form of the iconic actor. When his wife, Vivian gets the pictures of his past in the mail, Oscar suggests that he kill her. The plan backfires and when Lou returns home he gets a huge surprise. Vivian and Oscar have been partners all along. They kill Lou with a statue and take him far into the woods to bury him. Lou’s mistress, Erika, shows up and due to her interference, the murderous couple becomes some victims themselves via a car accident. Oliver was played by John Lithgow; Vivian was Isabella Rossellini and Erika was Sherilyn Fenn. The controversy centered round the fact that archival footage of Humphrey Bogart was used whenever the character of Lou was seen in a mirror or window reflection as seen in the picture here. It raised the question of whether his image should be used for a character well after his death.

“I hope you hearts are just pounding out of your chests with all this fun. Should I call a hearse? Actually, a turn of events has caused me to stop short here. Due to elements out of my control, blowhard bitch Super Storm Sandy to be exact, is causing me to cut this session short. I have to ride this baby out and look at Season Seven another day.” 

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