A series that ran on HBO from 1989-1996, "Tales From the Crypt" caught on, in part, due to the show's ability to merge campy old-fashioned (and often darkly funny) horror (based on the old comic series) with more modern filmmaking techniques and an impressive roster of talent (likely attracted by producers Walter Hill, Richard Donner, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis.) For those unfamiliar, episodes were introduced by a skeletal character called the Cryptkeeper whose wisecracks provided an introduction to the story.
While a few episodes here don't live up to the quality of the rest, most of this season is a lot of fun and, once again, the stories have an entertaining way of being a bit wink-wink/nudge-nudge corny and, at the same time, clever and unpredictable. Great casting and direction also further liven up many of the episodes here.
Some of the highlights of this season include: "Dead Wait", which stars Whoopi Goldberg as a voodoo priestess who comes up with a surprise for a thief who steals a pearl; "Carrion Death", where a criminal in the desert kills the police officer who cuffed him, but the lawman manages to swallow the key in his last moments; "The Trap" (directed by Michael J. Fox) stars Bruno Kirby, Teri Garr and others in the tale of a man who finds out that faking his own death is the just about the worst idea he's ever had; "Deadline" (directed by Walter Hill), which focuses on a washed-up reporter who is promised his job back if he files a murder story - so he sets out to create one and "The Reluctant Vampire", which stars Malcolm McDowell as a vampire working as a night watchman at a blood bank.
Season 3, Episode 1: The Trap
15 June 1991
Season 3, Episode 2: Loved to Death
15 June 1991
Season 3, Episode 3: Carrion Death
15 June 1991
Season 3, Episode 4: Abra Cadaver
19 June 1991
Season 3, Episode 5: Top Billing
26 June 1991
Season 3, Episode 6: Dead Wait
3 July 1991
Season 3, Episode 7: The Reluctant Vampire
10 July 1991
Season 3, Episode 8: Easel Kill Ya
17 July 1991
Season 3, Episode 9: Undertaking Pallor
24 July 1991
Season 3, Episode 10: Mournin' Mess
31 July 1991
Season 3, Episode 11: Split Second
7 August 1991
Season 3, Episode 12: Deadline
14 August 1991
Season 3, Episode 13: Spoiled
21 August 1991
Season 3, Episode 14: Yellow
28 August 1991
VIDEO: Warner Brothers presents the third season of "Tales" in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Image quality is certainly adequate, but falls a little short of what fans are probably hoping for from the series. Sharpness and detail remain just average throughout, as the episodes consistently look soft, if not so soft as to appear blurry or hazy.
Aside from the softness, some minor-to-mild wear on the print is occasionally spotted, as are some very slight instances of shimmer and pixelation. Colors can look slightly hazy or smeary, but some scenes present tighter, crisper colors.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack is just fine, providing crisp dialogue, sound effects and music.
EXTRAS: We get two featurettes: "Tall Tales" and "Tales From the Crypt: Reunion Panel Discussion". "Tall Tales" is more of a general look at the season, while "Reunion Discussion" offers a nearly 30-minute look at a Q & A with some of the behind-the-scenes talent. Lastly, there's a "Crypt Jam" music video.
Final Thoughts: This third season of "Tales" provides an eerie assortment of fun (and sometimes darkly funny) horror tales, with some solid performances from the wide variety of stars. The DVD set provides just adequate video quality, but fine audio and a couple of good minor supplements. Recommended.