Tales from the Crypt Episode 66: Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

General Information

Director: Russell Mulcahy

Writer: Ron Finley

Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Peter MacNicol, Joseph Maher, John Kassir, Wesley Mann, Scott Nimerfro, Kevin Cooney, Peter Van Norden, and Sandi Rose

Composer: Vladimir Horunzhy

Air Date: 10/31/1994

 

Overview

Arrested for a license plate violation, Geraldine Ferrett (Catherine O’Hara)—an ambulance-chasing attorney—is taken to a court where citizens areTales from the Crypt Let the Punishment Fit the Crime flogged, pilloried, and even executed for trivial offenses. Additional problems arise when Austin Haggard (Peter MacNicol)—a sniveling, incompetent lawyer—is assigned to Geraldine’s case.

The inaugural entry of season six, “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” benefits from the unnerving cinematography of Rick Bota—a frequent contributor to Tales from the Crypt. Nevertheless, the exaggerated performances of Catherine O’Hara (known for playing Kevin’s mom in the Home Alone series) and Peter MacNicol detract from the subtle, eerie setting of this episode.

 

Pros

“Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” should be commended for its gore and make-up prosthetics (e.g. twisted limbs and decomposing flesh), which add an air of ghoulishness to the zombified corpses of Geraldine’s “victims.”

 

Cons

Despite offering a clever and amusing satire on the litigious nature of modern society, “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” fails to generate the creepy, claustrophobic atmosphere that should naturally stem from Ron Finley’s narrative premise (i.e. the government of a backwards, nightmarish town going out of its way to terrorize one or more helpless characters)—a shortcoming that can likely be attributed to the over-the-top humor and dialogue featured in practically every scene. (The Twilight Zone’s “Shadow Play,” in contrast, maintains a great deal of nuance, surrealism, and solemnity while exploring a related concept.)

 

Analysis

Exposing the petty, draconian, and hypocritical attributes of the American “justice” system, “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” employs tongue-in-cheek subject Tales from the Crypt Let the Punishment Fit the Crimematter to examine a real-life problem—similar to season one’s “The Man Who Was Death,” which presents a compelling critique of capital punishment.

 

Concluding Comments

“Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” is an occasionally spooky, albeit cartoonish, episode of Tales from the Crypt. Series enthusiasts may therefore enjoy this offering, excessive camp factor notwithstanding.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

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