Tales From The Crypt - The Complete First & Second Seasons DVDs Review

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This review was originally written on September 6, 2005 (updated February 14, 2007)
Bad Security Sticker Placement, Incomplete Episodes

I've been eagerly waiting for Tales From The Crypt to come to DVD in season sets. Unfortunately, there were a few bad decisions that kinda ruins the Season 1 and Season 2 sets for me.

(1) Who's brilliant idea was it to put the security sticker BEHIND the plastic disc holder and right on top of a photo printed on paperboard? Not only was it hard to get off without breaking the case, but the sticker glue ripped off part of the photo.

(2) Each episode is INCOMPLETE, as each episode does not have it's own series intro/title sequence (which featured the journey through the house accompanied by the Danny Elfman theme). They had only one intro/title sequence for all six episodes (at the start of the disc), and they even ruined that with a "Kill Intro" graphic overlay and having it go right into the menu (technically that intro is part of the menu). There is plenty of room for each episode to have it's own intro/title, as they didn't have to cram all six episodes onto Disc 1. They could have put episodes 1-4 on Disc 1, and episodes 4 & 5 on Disc 2, along with the two Disc 2 bonus features (which only total an hour or so).

If you're curious as to why the episodes on Seasons 1 and 2 are missing the title sequence, read this article.
Tales from the Crypt - Missing intro - Studio Explains
Posted by Gord Lacey (8/27/2005)

Some fans were upset with the first season release of Tales from the Crypt because the episodes didn't feature the standard intro to the series; a journey into the creepy house, down the stairs and then an encounter with the Crypt Keeper.

I called Warner Bros to ask about season 2, and whether we'll see the intro returned to the episodes. The second season will not have the intro, so I asked why. The removal of the intro was a specific request from the producers of the series for the season 1 set. Warner went back and asked about season 2, and the producers still wish to have it removed; no further explanation could be obtained.

The intro isn't missing from the set completely; it's featured in the menu for the disc. The intro is the same for each episode as well.

(source)
What the hell were the producers thinking! Why on Earth would they make such an odd request? What benefit could they have from not having the intro at the start of each episode? The same theme and almost all of the same footage appears under the end credits, so it can't be because they don't want to pay Danny Elfman for his theme music.

The series of videotapes released by HBO Home Video and Time-Life in the mid-1990s, featured an intro/title sequence on EACH of the three episodes contained on each tape. If it was done before, there's no reason it can't be done now.

Thankfully, enough fans complained to Warner Bros. to make the producers see the error of their ways. These two problems are now only resigned to Season 1 and Season 2. For Season 3 and onward the crappy Digipak packaging was replaced with slim cases in an outer sleeve, and each episode has its own series intro/title sequence - though it's missing the first two seconds showing the text "Home Box Office Presents" (white text on a black screen) over the low whisperings of the theme song.

Moonlighting - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Review

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This review was originally written on September 6, 2005
Great Episodes, Very Poor Packaging

I'm very disappointed by the cheap packaging used for this Moonlighting - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD set. The last plastic disc page fell out as I opened the factory-sealed item. Obviously the glue wasn't strong enough to hold it to the cardboard. I had to use lots of super glue to fix it. I really hope that Lion's Gate uses better packaging for future Moonlighting sets.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit - Ghostbusters Episode Review

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This review was originally written on July 29, 2005
Worst BS Episode Ever. Didn't Disprove Anything.

[2016 NOTE: When I originally wrote this review back in 2005, the "Ghost Hunters" show was in its infancy, and they actually did attempt to disprove things. The show was not the joke it would later become, which caused me to stop watching many years ago.]

As a fan of the Ghostbusters movies and animated series, and having an interest in the paranormal, I was very interested to see this episode. I was really curious as to how Penn & Teller would try to prove that ghosts/spirits don't exist, when there is lots of hard evidence to the contrary.

First, I was expecting some sort of Ghostbusters reference, especially since that was the episode title. I thought maybe we'd see Penn & Teller wearing Ghostbusters jumpsuits/uniforms or something. I was highly disappointed to find that they mentioned the word/name "ghostbusters" 8 times total, and that was it. None of it was in reference to the movie, but to the "job" itself.

As for this particular episode, I thought it was a little shortsighted of Penn & Teller to simply dismiss all paranormal studies based on the two (count 'em, TWO) groups they got on the show. I wonder if they tried to get any famous paranormal investigators on the show, but couldn't. You know, the ones you frequently see on shows like Sightings, or the two guys from Ghost Hunters. It's very well possible that they just happened to get the worst two groups in the paranormal investigator community. There are no doubt frauds in that community (as in any group of people). Maybe they just happened to get two of them.

There's a famous haunting that (I believe) was shown on Sightings called the "Heartland Ghost" (a tv movie was made based on it). It was about an entity that was leaving actual physical cuts on this guy. They filmed it while it was happening, and the cuts just appeared out of thin air. Why didn't Penn & Teller try to disprove that case? What about any of the other famous hauntings commonly shown on the ghost specials that pop up around Halloween? Winchester House? Hotel del Coronado?

Normally, I agree wholeheartedly on the topics Penn & Teller cover. I mean, really, anyone with common sense knows that the Virgin Mary doesn't REALLY appear in a grilled cheese sandwich. But for this topic, they left so many things out, that they would need much more than a half-hour, and would need to deal with famous cases, in order to prove to me that the entire "world of the paranormal" is fake.

I highly suggest avoiding this particular episode and watching *any* episode of Ghost Hunters instead. Those guys thoroughly investigate supposed hauntings, using science and experimentation, and more often than not, they deem places to NOT be haunted.

If you're interested in seeing this episode for yourself, it is available on The Complete Third Season DVD set.

Rugrats Go Wild DVD Review

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Why No Scratch & Sniff Cards With The DVD?!?

The Scratch & Sniff options on the Rugrats! Go Wild DVD relate to the "Odorama" stunt used during the film's original theatrical release. Special numbered cards, each representing a particular smell, were available with kids' meals at participating Burger King restaurants from 6/2/2003 to 6/29/2003, and separately at Blockbuster Video stores from 6/15/2003 until supplies ran out.

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Participants picked up the cards, then took them to the local movie theater showing the film. When a particular number flashed on the screen, viewers scratched off the scent that had that particular number on it. Numbers flashing in red mean that the viewer should find the corresponding number on their card (glow-in-the-dark for their convenience), and be ready to scratch-and-sniff when the on-screen number turns green.

Sadly, Paramount Home Video decided not to include the cards with the DVD release. So unless you got a card when the film was originally theatrically released, you're out of luck.

Here are the numbers, DVD time codes of when the numbers first appear on screen, and description of the scent.

1 - 05:31 - strawberry
2 - 11:42 - peanut butter
3 - 22:41 - a flower
4 - 39:05 - smelly feet
5 - 48:50 - root beer float
6 - 62:58 - fish

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(image courtesy of Jimmy Tyler)

Really Naughty Dots Books Review

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This review was originally written on May 5, 2005
Fun Books With Annoying Layouts

If you didn't already guess, "Really Naughty Dots: Fun for Adults Only" (RND) and "Really Really Naughty Dots: Explicit Fun for Adults Only" (RRND), both by Eddison Sadd, are connect-the-dots book with the revealed pictures being of guys and girls in rather naughty adult situations (read: having sex). There are 30 puzzles total in each book. Each one has a pun title and caption (adding to the fun). In RND, puzzle #25 contains the least amount of dots (230), while puzzle #8 contains the most (450). In RRND, puzzle #8 contains the least amount of dots (113), while puzzle #17 contains the most (307).

From what I understand, all of the books in the Naughty Dots series were originally released in England many years before they were published in America. I've never seen the original versions, but I hope the layout was better than these. In both books, almost all of the puzzles are spread across two pages, which means that you'll be drawings lots of lines across the inner spine of the book. I don't need to tell you how annoying this is. Connect-the-dot puzzles should always be on one page, not two. To add insult to injury, a few puzzles have dots right on the inner spine which are impossible to connect (so you'll just have to draw your lines as close to them as you can).

On the plus side, the puzzles are very detailed and contain a lot of dots. Often you won't know what the image is supposed to be until you've connected almost all of the dots. The puzzles do have partial photos to give you a hint as to what the revealed image will look like. In some puzzles, there are photos of nipples, with you connecting the dots to draw in the breasts around them. I liked this idea of using photos mixed into the puzzles, but I think that there should have been a section in the back of the book with the complete photographs of the puzzle images.

Before I wrap this up, I should probably take a second to tell you that in RND, puzzle #3 contains two #208 dots (the second one is supposed to be #209). Also, in RRND, puzzle #12 contains a number 136 but there is no dot for it because it shouldn't be there. Also, the woman's hand in puzzle #18 looks strange. So be on the lookout for those quirks.

Overall, the puzzles were fun to do (aside from the two-page annoyance), and I enjoyed these books very much.

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