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Wow, that last season of "Tales from the Crypt" is kinda crap, huh?

I've been hung up on Tales from the Crypt lately.  Whether it's listening to We Hate Movies' episode on Bordello of Blood for the fourth time or reviewing Ritual or watching back episodes on a Youtube Channel that's probably not at all legal, it's been looming large on my mind.  I guess it's just that time of year.

I rang in October by revisiting what is arguably one of the show's best episodes - and one of the few that was genuinely unsettling.  (Not necessarily scary, but definitely gross and disturbing in all the right ways.) I'm referring to "The New Arrival," an episode in which David Warner plays a blowhard child psychologist who makes a house call for Zelda Rubenstein, who may or may not be pretending to be a child and murdering people.  It's one of those episodes I first saw when I was way, way too young and it scared the crap out of me.  Today I find it much campier - but still effective.

I also partook in "Death of Some Salesmen," available on multiple Youtube accounts (but here's the specific one I watched).  I highly recommend you watch this if you ignored my advice and watched Ritual; it's a terrific palate cleanser.  This episode stars Tim Curry, but instead of wasting him in a useless bit part the way Ritual did, they let him ham it up in three roles, and he knocks it out of the park.  (He's impressively unrecognizable as Pa Brackett.)  It's another one that's not even remotely scary, but it hits all the notes you want in a TftC episode.

And then, for some bizarre reason, I decided to skip to the last season.  Um.  Don't do that.

I was fortunate in that I managed to miss the entire run of Season 7 when it was first on TV, and until now I've never bothered with it.  I should've let it stay that way.

To be fair, it's not all bad.  I haven't seen all of them yet, but I can say with certainty that "Confession," the episode starring Eddie Izzard and Ciaran Hinds, is a good one and worth a watch.  I'm sure there's one or two others.  But for the most part, it's a slog.

The penultimate episode, "Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow" is almost as wretched as either Ritual or Bordello of Blood and actually encompasses many of the same faults.  It's slow, it relies too much on humor, and it doesn't really have a good hook.  The only good thing about it is that it at least ends like a proper episode.

But so far, the worst I've seen has to be the series finale, "The Third Pig."  Oof.  What a way to go.

I think it's time for one of my patented embarrassing recollections that loosely relates to the topic at hand.  (If you guys don't like these, feel free to let me know, by the way.  I don't have to keep airing all my dirty laundry on the Internet.  Probably better that I don't.)

When I was thirteen or fourteen and I first started trying my hand at screenwriting as a hobby, I thought that all writers were obligated to write one story for each genre.  So I struggled at coming up with something for "cartoon."

I eventually settled on a plot-less story that was a hodgepodge of Beavis and Butthead, Cool World, and the worst parts of every Disney knock-off from the preceding ten years.  The very original premise was going to be "it's a world where all the cartoons are cuh-razy."  The title was the most brilliant part of all: "Twisted Toon World."

I remember that I actually agonized over Twisted Toon World for like a good year before I finally just dumped the file somewhere in the back of my hard drive and pretended it never existed.  The problem I kept running into - and this is key - is that nothing I wrote was funny.  I kept expecting the premise of "wacky cartoons doing cuh-razy shit" to be the big crux, and I couldn't even convince myself it was worth finishing.

Now, back to "The Third Pig."  It is, as far as I know, the only fully-animated episode of Tales from the Crypt, and its plot basically boils down to "a retelling of the fable of the three little pigs, except they're all cuh-razy."  One of them drinks a lot, you see.  And another one smokes.  And because they're cartoon characters doing these adult things, it's very funny.  So funny it doesn't even need any other jokes.

It's the kind of premise that, if I came up with it nowadays, I'd immediately toss for the sake of coming up with something new.  But Tales from the Crypt didn't throw that one out; they hung onto their totally wacky plot and went to the effort of animating and voicing it.  We're all less fortunate for it.

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