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"Tales from the Crypt" Surprise Party (1994)

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not too bad but not great.

5/10
Author: Paul Andrews (poolandrews@hotmail.com) from UK
2 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Crypt: Surprise Party starts late one stormy night as Ray Wells (Adam Storke) drives to the burnt out farm house he has just inherited off his father (Rance Howard) who was going to leave the property to charity but Ray had other ideas & murdered his sick father before he could change his will. Despite warnings of the ground being cursed Ray sees nothing but an opportunity to make money & when he hears that squatters may be living on the property from a local in a nearby town he drives out there to investigate & finds a group of teenagers having a party, a party which has a big surprise in store for Ray as the sins of his father's past come back for revenge...

This Tales from the Crypt story was episode 11 from season 6, directed by Elliot Siverstein I have to say while Surprise Party isn't terrible it's not amongst the best although considering how bad certain episodes from season six have been it's perfectly watchable if somewhat forgettable. The script was based on a story from 'The Vault of Horror' comic book & it's a decent enough tale with an average twist, the ending isn't the greatest & there's no real connection between the events of his father's past & Ray to really justify what actually happens although while the twist does work it's not the most amazing or memorable the series has ever offered up. The horror elements are OK, there's some burnt zombies but the majority of Surprise Party doesn't really play like a horror film & the first half of the episode is almost totally devoted to a long flashback scene of Ray & his father arguing over his will & the property. I don't know, I can't say Surprise Party is bad but I can't say it's particularly good either & it's certainly not amongst my favourite Tales from the Crypt episodes.

Although generally well made with good production values as usual there's nothing scary here & there's not much blood or gore either, there's some burnt zombies & the ending features a screaming man doused in petrol & set alight. The Cryptkeeper sequences has him dressed as a skier & there's plenty of ski related puns & the like. The cast member that stands out here is Jake Busey who surely sports the most embarrassing hair do of his career.

Surprise Party is an average Tales from the Crypt episode from a pretty variable season six, I can't say it's that bad but I can't say it's that good either. Worth watching if you can catch it on telly for free I suppose.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Neat episode

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
16 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No-count Ray Wells (a nicely slimy portrayal by Adam Storke) kills his dying father (a brief, but memorable appearance by veteran character actor Rance Howard) so he can inherit an old ruined farmhouse. Unbeknownst to Ray, said farmhouse has a nightmarish legacy attached to it. Director Elliot Silverstein, working from a compelling script by Colman deKay and Tom Lyons, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, does a sound job of creating and sustaining a spooky mysterious atmosphere, and milks the macabre conclusion involving a bunch of hideously burned up vengeful ghosts for maximum skin-crawling impact. Moreover, it's acted with flair by a tip-top cast: Storke positively oozes in the lead, the fetching Clare Hoak heats up the screen as the enticing Josie, Jake Busey registers strongly as the jealous Frank, Bette Ford makes a favorable impression in a small part as creepy old lady Mrs. Peterson, and Michele Landry is a flaky delight as the ditsy Emma. Christopher Faloona's slick cinematography gives this episode a cool stylish look. Walter Werzowa's moody score does the brooding trick. An enjoyable show.

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