A compilation of cues from HBO's gruesomely humorous series Tales from the Crypt. Each half-hour segment is based on an EC-style horror story, usually with a twist or two along the way, with each story featuring not only a different cast and director, but also, usually, a different composer (with the main title theme being Danny Elfman's typically spirited composition). This compilation is the first album release for most of this material (Elfman's theme already appeared on Music for a Darkened Theater), and, as might be expected, it's somewhat variable, with Jan Hammer's music for "Three's a Crowd" being amongst the weakest (sounding like Miami Vice outtakes). There are interesting choices here, though -- Ry Cooder, for one, providing the score for "The Man Who Was Death"; Jimmy Webb scoring "Loved to Death" in a fashion that mixes the '50s, his own "MacArthur Park," and the '90s brew of technology; and Elfman orchestrator Steve Bartek providing a distinctive set of cues for "Deadline." The sheer variety of composers and styles is more than enough to keep the album interesting in the first place. There's a major bonus in the fact that much of the music is also excellent, and often interesting -- pocket examples of how to go about creating a score for a piece of film. Added to this is "The Crypt Jam," a Chuckii Booker number that features the Crypt Keeper (played with malevolent glee by John Kassir) rapping -- something that could have been immensely stupid but is instead incredibly funny (no small thanks to Kassir's vocal performance).
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AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald
|Tales from the Crypt, TV score|