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Reviews & Ratings for
"Tales from the Crypt" Abra Cadaver (1991)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

So I guess you'll just be...hanging out

Author: mattressman_pdl from Iowa, United States
7 November 2007

Beau Bridges and Tony Goldwyn guest star as bickering med school brothers in Abra Cadaver, a season three highlight. Years ago, Carl (Goldwyn)stages a practical joke which gives Martin (Bridges) a coronary, leaving one of his valuable surgeon's hands paralyzed. Now, Martin is about to get his revenge as Carl is helpless against Martin's pent up vengeance.

Skillfully acted by Bridges, channeling a demented quality I haven't seen from him, and by Goldwyn, who's second act must have been a real pain. Tom Wright even shows up as a Rastafarian. Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 5) does a fine job directing this installment.

The End is brutal and ironic, appropriately a Crypt ending.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The episode had some great plot twists

Author: Juan Sarmiento from Netherlands
24 July 2009

The best episode so far, it was excellent! Some of it's moments were painful to watch and the episode was just traumatic, haunting and gory. It had everything, it was even funny.

The episode is about a younger brother playing a prank on his older, much smarter brother. It causes him to have a heart attack and lose the feeling in one of his hands.

As revenge, he pays his little brother back with a much more dangerous prank, which causes him his life.

The episode had some great plot twists and I ended up feeling bad for the kid, must suck being stuck in your own body and being cut open.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A doctor's twisted sense of humor.

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
10 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Martin Fairbanks (Beau Bridges) is a super-intelligent doctor specialized in the human brain and he even developed a serum that preserves the brain functions for several hours after all other vital organs have died. He's on the verge of a real medical breakthrough when a morbid prank by his irresponsible younger brother Carl causes him a heart attack and a permanent physical handicap. Years later, frustrated Martin still works in his now successful brother's company and he develops another dubious plan that'll both prove his medical theories AND give Carl a taste of his own 'medicine'. Following Martin's treatment, Carl is clinically dead and ready for his autopsy, yet he can still see, hear and suffer everything that happens around him. To my knowledge, "Abra Cadaver" is the most complex and ambitious Tales from the Crypt episode ever penned down. Most episodes simply provide basic frights and a bit of gore, whereas this tale trots out with heavy medical terms and several twists in the plot. It's actually also one of the most frightening installments in the entire series as it brings forward a topic that portrays many people's worst nightmare: being totally paralyzed but alive and unable to call for help. Some of the scenes, like the preparation of Carl's corpse for the freezer, are quite disturbing and atmospherically choreographed by director Stephen Hopkins ("Predator 2"). Beau Bridges is phenomenal as the slightly sadistic doctor and his performance might even be the best one in all seven Tales from the Crypt seasons.

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Abra Cadaver

Author: a_baron from United Kingdom
6 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Boy, is this an original one! The punning title has been used before, but as far as horror goes, "Abra Cadaver" takes some beating. Martin and Carl are brothers who have followed the same career path in medicine, though talent-wise, Martin is far superior to his younger sibling.

One night, Carl plays an amazing prank on his brother in the hospital morgue, which entails a murder victim coming back to life. Martin sees the joke but his heart doesn't, and the resulting cardiac arrest leaves him with a useless left hand, which scuppers his career as a surgeon.

Instead, he goes into research big time, the climax of his work being a cruel experiment which returns the deadly joke in spades. Unfortunately, it has an unpredicted and grisly ending for Carl, who clearly didn't deserve this, but who said life was fair, much less death?

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"Their brains never died..."

Author: Foreverisacastironmess from ukwitchcountry
1 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, I just never get tired of watching that classic magical intro that gets you in the right mood for and takes you into the gleefully macabre world of the show every time. Always loved to watch this series as a kid, which was once a week late Friday night if I remember correctly - it totally blew my mind man! One of the absolute worst nightmares imaginable is realised in this astonishingly suspenseful and frightening tale, which has a certain startling element of realism to it. And rather than the gore that's actually seen which isn't all that much, most of it's done through the power of suggestion. It's kinda morbid and f****d-up, but awesomely scary because it could just be true... I mean who's to say if you can feel or sense anything after you're dead? They've been cases of people on the operating table where the anaesthetic has somehow failed and they've been able to feel the entire experience. And you know one day guys, we're all gonna find out. We're all gonna be like that. But enough of that depressing s**t, this is a review of a Tales From the Crypt episode, so ya know let's lighten up! It's all good!!! This one's all about a brother who enacts a cruel and ruthless revenge on his younger sibling for a twisted practical joke that went horribly wrong years earlier, and let's just say that he one-ups him to say the least! Once again, it's one amazingly chilling plot device, and I could see how some fans view this as the scariest episode, but for me personally I've found that when you've seen it before and you know what the complex twist at the end is, that everything that happens has merely been another sick prank by Marty to get his revenge on Carl, it doesn't have the same level of impact to it, but it doubtless remains a gripping tense blast of an episode that makes you think twice about what practical jokes can lead to. The disorienting camera movements excellently convey the perspective and building dread of the man and the hellish position that he finds himself in. And despite verging on being annoying and corny at points, I thought Tony Goldwyn did a fine job with his role, which must have been some kind of challenge because of course for most of the time he's in a death-like state and his performance is the inner-monologue thoughts in his head, and he was very effective because when you think about it it's really him that sells the concept of the story and keeps you interested. And even though the proceedings turn out to have been faked, it still serves the purpose of adding to the payoff of the very final scene where he really is about to be eviscerated alive. And the ending's the creepiest part, even if you've seen it a hundred times. (That's what you get for hiring a Hispanic mugger to kill Patrick Swayze!) Still a lot of fun and disturbing as hell, Abra Cadaver is a hair-raising experience of a tale that creeps up on you, grabs on and does not let go - not even after the tale's over! Fantastic, and practically guaranteed to make you ~squirm!!!~

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Superior episode

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
22 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Selfish Dr. Carl Fairbanks (an excellent performance by Tony Goldwyn) plays a cruel practical joke on his gifted older brother Dr. Martin Fairbanks (a terrific portrayal by Beau Bridges) which causes Martin to have a heart attack and leaves him slightly paralyzed in one hand. Many years later Martin gets his belated harsh revenge by making Carl the recipient of an equally nasty practical joke by injecting him with an experimental serum that makes Carl appear dead. Director Stephen Hopkins, working from an ingenious script by Jim Birge, offers a cracking tale of sibling rivalry taken to its ultimate savage extreme, ably milks the premise for oodles of morbid and truly nerve-wracking suspense, and delivers a good deal of ghastly gore. Moreover, the edgy tension between the two brothers really crackles and gives this particular episode a very potent extra emotional punch. Best of all, the plot not only has a few pleasingly mean twists and turns, but also gets more increasingly brutal and warped as it unfolds and culminates in one doozy of a startling double twist surprise ending. Kudos are also in order for the outstanding acting by the two leads, with Bridges a total treat to watch thanks to the sadistic relish he brings to his role. Both Alan Silvestri's moody score and Levie Isaacks' polished cinematography are up to par. As a sweet added bonus, lovely "Playboy" Playmate Tina Bockrath (Miss May 1990) provides some tasty gratuitous female nudity in a bit part. One of the third season's strongest half hours.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A nice neat and clever feel good dead treat a twist and turn of fair play!

Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia
20 December 2009

This "TFTC" episode from 1991 titled "Abra Cadaver" is comical and brilliant with a neat and clever twist that was so fitting as revenge was meant! It centers around two brothers who are doctors one the elder and more serious and sharper one Martin(the legendary Beau Bridges)tries to proves by experiments with dead bodies that even though their dead heart wise still, if the brain is not clinically dead and they haven't lost their senses they are not really dead! Younger brother the more carefree and joker Carl(Tony Goldwyn)does not believe so much and he plays a cruel and mean prank on Martin! And this really derails Martin's medical experiments! Only as with so many crypt episodes turnabout is fair play as it twist with so called rightful revenge. Proving that one can still feel pain and hurt when dead! It's neat clever and comically a wicked good tale!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"My bodies dead but my brain... it's alive!" Great tale from the crypt.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
18 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Crypt: Abra Cadaver starts a number of years ago on the birthday of a young trainee surgeon named Martin Fairbanks (Beau Bridges) whose brother Carl (Tony Goldwyn) arranges a surprise party & a cruel practical joke the shock of which gives Martin a heart attack a result of which means Martin has permanent paralyses in his hand, since a surgeon needs two hands Martins career is over. Jump froward to the present day as Carl is now a hotshot doctor & the disabled Martin is a lowly research scientist working on a theory that the human brain remains active for days after the body has died, of course he needs results & Martin has a plan to prove his ideas & he decides to use Carl as the raw material...

This Tales from the Crypt story was episode 4 from season 3, the first of three Tales from the Crypt stories directed by Stephen Hopkins I thought Abra Cadaver was a great episode. The script by Jim Birge was based on a story from the 'Tales from the Crypt' comic book & is much better than the previous episodes from season 3 so far, this is much more like the Tales from the Crypt that I know & love. The story has that macabre darkly comic tone to it as most of the story is told from the point-of-view of a corpse & the things that happen to it, there's not one but two neat twists at the end which round things off nicely, the character's are good & this one might surprise you. It moves along at a good pace & is a fun episode.

This episode looks very good & is well made, there's some gore here including a sliced opened body & a fair amount of blood splatter. There's a nice morbid tone running throughout this episode as well & there's a little nod towards Re-Animator (1985) with some fluorescent green serum in a syringe used in the story. The acting is very good in this one.

Abra Cadaver is a top tale from the crypt & as good as season 3 has been so far, this ones well worth a watch.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Been there, Done that, Not wanting to go there again!!!!

Author: Shadowfox676 from United States
14 December 2008

Having just recently watched at the time back in 1993, little did I know I was going to experience this first hand. Mind you not quite the same circumstances.

I was a patient undergoing surgery, broke my elbow joint in a mountain bike accident a week earlier. Evidentally my anesthetist didn't put me out as we all were hoping he would. I ended up being awake (mentally) while the first cuts were made, I heard the drills and the smack of the hammer as 2 pins and 3 wires were added to my arm. Not to forget the pain of the cuts being made.

After the wonderful event I raised the point that I was awake during surgery. Only thing they would say was "you were dreaming it". I don't feel that it was a dream, and even if it was, why would I dream about the surgery??? Needless to say, an event & an episode I will never forget.

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