Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: A L Katz and Gilbert Adler
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, John Lithgow, Isabella Rossellini, Sherilyn Fenn, Robert Sacchi, John Kassir, Julie Ariola, Carl Gilliard, and Jose Rey
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Air Date: 1/25/1995
Undergoing plastic surgery to resemble Humphrey Bogart, criminal Lou Spinelli establishes a new life for himself as a successful businessman. Upon learning of her husband’s past identity, however, Betty Spinelli (Isabella Rossellini) collaborates with Oscar Charles (John Lithgow)—the doctor responsible for changing Lou’s face—to murder Lou and frame his death as a suicide.
Combining morbid subject matter with a noir-style format, “You, Murderer” will appeal to horror enthusiasts and fans of the crime thriller genre. Additionally remarkable are the celebrity “cameos” featured in this offering, adding a hint of nostalgia to a relatively modern (mid-1990s) television episode.
Though somewhat primitive, the recreation of Humphrey Bogart’s face (made usable through a blending of early CGI, slick camera angles, and archive footage from Casablanca) maintains an air of credibility due to the realistic, if not uncanny, vocal impressions of Robert Sacchi—a professional Bogart impersonator.
Also praiseworthy is the opening segment of this episode, wherein the Crypt Keeper—sitting next to Alfred Hitchcock on a park bench—makes a variety of horror-related puns inspired by famous lines from Forrest Gump.
“You, Murderer” is marred by an implausible twist in the final scene.
Indicating that brain activity can persist long after death (a concept previously explored in “Abra Cadaver” from season three), “You, Murderer” generates claustrophobia by employing the first-person perspective of a deceased—albeit still fully conscious—individual.
“You, Murderer” is a clever and amusing, although rather bizarre, piece of experimental television. Tales from the Crypt viewers may therefore enjoy this episode, which pays a delightful tribute to the most iconic movie star of the 1940s.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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