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This episode stand out in my memory as one of the greatest and strangest episodes to date. I would have to had seen it once again to recall the details but I believe it uses the same First Person Narration/Perspective as the episode 'Abbra Cadaver' in Season 3 of the series and is in black & white. The plot centers around a Humphrey Bogart style character, following his appearance in Casablanca in the 1940's and those whom he encounters and the events leading up to his demise. John Lithgow also has a stellar role in this episode, but a much more serious role than his typical wacky 3rd Rock From The Sun style. I can't wait for this season to arrive on DVD so i can watch this episode once again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Criminal Lou Spinelli (deftly voiced by Bogie impersonator Robert Sacchi) has shifty plastic surgeon Dr. Oscar Charles (an excellent performance by John Lithgow) transform him into a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart. Lou still winds up getting killed, but isn't exactly dead. Director Robert Zemeckis, working from a witty script by A L Katz and Gilbert Adler, makes ingenious use of vintage Bogart footage from several of his movies that's seamlessly edited into the rest of the show, pays affectionate homage to 40's film noir, and, in an especially inspired touch, relates the whole story from Lou's point of view. Moreover, it's acted with zest by a tip-top cast: Lithgow is in peak slimy form, Isabella Rossellini makes for a terrific femme fatale as the sly and sultry Betty, and Sherilyn Fenn contributes an appealing portrayal as the sweet and chipper Erika. Better still, this episode also boasts cool hard-boiled narration and a wickedly funny sense of sharp sardonic humor that becomes more increasingly twisted as the plot unfolds. The wrap-around segments with the Crypt Keeper offers a spot-on macabre send-up of "Forrest Gump" complete with a surprise cameo from none other than Alfred Hitchcock (!). Both Alan Silvestri's jaunty'n'jazzy score and Rick Bota's gorgeous vibrant cinematography are up to speed. A worthy closer for the sixth season.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tales from the Crypt: You, Murderer starts as rich businessman & wanted
criminal Lou Spinelli (Humphery Bogart) gets a phone call from his wife
Betty (Isabella Rossellini) saying that the goons he sent to kill her
failed. Worried Lou races home & discovers that he has been double
crossed by Betty & his plastic surgeon Oscar Charles (John Lithgow) who
operated on Lou & gave him the same face as famous Hollywood actor
Humphrey Bogart to evade capture by the police. Betty & Oscar are
having an affair & want Lou out of the way but their carefully worked
out plan doesn't quite go according to plan...
Episode 15 from season 5 this Tales from the Crypt story was in fact the final episode of the sixth season & You, Murderer certainly ends it on a highly memorable note. Directed by Robert Zemeckis this has a very unusual & unique story & a unique way of presenting it. The script by A. L. Katz & Gilbert Adler was based on a story from 'The Vault of Horror' comic book & revolves around the odd idea that a criminal would have plastic surgery in order to look exactly like Humphrey Bogart, it actually sounds rather silly but the episode works a treat. There's a distinct film noir feel about it as it's clearly set in the 40's & the entire episode is narrated & told from the point of view of Lou as he witnesses & comments on witnessing his own murder. What starts out like like a crime thriller turns macabre in a Tales from the Crypt sort of way when after Lou is murdered his soul still remains in his dead body, hearing & seeing everything that goes on around it. It's a rather clever episode that is very enjoyable, something a bit different & ultimately very memorable for the right reasons.
Another aspect of You, Murderer that I liked was that the entire programme is seen from the point of view of Lou, we see what he sees as the episode develops as it were & we never go outside of his point of view. Technically it must have been a nightmare to achieve & the production team pull out all the stops with lots of trick photography, there are occasions when Lou looks into mirrors, or a shiny hip flask or the rear view mirror of a car & he looks at 'himself' or sees his own reflection in a window & the makers optically insert real archive footage of Humphrey Bogart into these scenes even though in reality he had been dead for forty odd years. If that wasn't enough the opening & closing Cryptkeeper sequences are a fun homage to director Zemeckis' film Forest Gump (1994) with the Cryptkeeper sat on a bench eating some 'Shocolates' & calling himself Fearest Gump! As well as inserting archive footage of Humphrey Bogart into the main story here the Cryptkeeper gets to talk with Alfred Hitchcock as the production team put footage of him in here during these scenes as well. You, Murderer is just a conceptually & technically very clever Tales from the Crypt episode & rounds the sixth season off in memorable fashion.
You, Murderer is a very unusual Tales from the Crypt episode & at the same time a great one on various levels. Easily one of the most enjoyable episodes of the sixth season & the series as a whole although it's more of an oddball thriller than straight horror.
Again, this is more noir than horror but, all in all, quite a delightful TFTC episode (despite a rather weak title). The Humphrey Bogart credit is obviously an in-joke; actually, look-alike impersonator Robert Sacchi is the real star of this episode which displays a tongue-in-cheek approach to murder (extending to the improbable twist ending) and much use of the genre's traditional hard-boiled dialogue. Isabella Rossellini (daughter of a former co-star of the real Bogart) is perfectly cast as a femme fatale; also in the cast: John Lithgow (slimy as ever) and Sherilyn Fenn (as the "dumb" good-girl type). Following the success of Zemeckis' FORREST GUMP (1994), the punning cryptkeeper host of the series appears dressed-up like him and just as the character in that film is made to interact with long-dead personalities, in this case Alfred Hitchcock!
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