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 are a little more uneven, 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.
The 7th season was the final round for the Crypt Keeper on TV, but he escaped to the movies for a pair of films ("Demon Knight" and "Bordello of Blood") shortly afterwards. The shorter seventh season still definitely delivers a few scares before calling "cut", including an early directorial effort from "L.A. Confidential" writer/director Brian Helgeland called, "A Slight Case of Murder", starring Francesca Annis in the tale of a mystery author who gets caught up in a place that involves her nosey neighbor.
Other highlights from this season include: "Last Respects" (a monkey paw at the House of Curios can grant wishes - didn't "The Simpsons" do this plot in a "Treehouse of Horror" episode?), "Fatal Caper" (directed by Bob Hoskins; a nobleman's will sparks violence), "Report From the Grave" (a man invents a way to read the memories of the dead) and "Smoke Wrings" (starring "Bond" actor Daniel Craig; product ads really work thanks to a gizmo that plants suggestions in people's minds.)
81. 7- 1 19 Apr 96 Fatal Caper
82. 7- 2 26 Apr 96 Last Respects
83. 7- 3 3 May 96 A Slight Case of Murder
84. 7- 4 17 May 96 Escape
85. 7- 5 24 May 96 Horror in the Night
86. 7- 6 31 May 96 Cold War
87. 7- 7 7 Jun 96 Kidnapper
88. 7- 8 14 Jun 96 Report from the Grave
89. 7- 9 21 Jun 96 Smoke Wrings
90. 7-10 28 Jun 96 About Face
91. 7-11 5 Jul 96 Confession
92. 7-12 12 Jul 96 Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow
93. 7-13 19 Jul 96 The Third Pig
VIDEO: Warner Brothers presents the latest 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. Overall, this presentation looked largely similar to previous sets.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack is just fine, providing crisp dialogue, sound effects and music.
EXTRAS: Virtual comic book version of "Fatal Caper".
Final Thoughts: This final 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 one supplement. Recommended for fans.