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Tales from the Crypt Recap #6 “Collection Completed”

Tales from the Crypt: Season 1 – Episode 6
“Collection Completed” (First aired: June 28, 1989)


A man is forced into retirement by his company, and with his free time home, he discovers that his wife has an interesting hobby: hoarding animals. In an effort to keep his sanity from his wife treating him like a dog and fighting all the creatures in his house, he tries to find a hobby of his own to keep himself occupied.


This is classic Tales from the Crypt. This is one of the episodes I remember vividly from when I was younger, and I was really looking forward to seeing it again. Seeing it as an adult, I can safely say it holds up very well. A lot of this has to do with the chemistry between the two leads, Jonas (M. Emmet Walsh) and Anita (Audra Lindley). The two of them play off each other very well. Jonas, the grumpy retiree, and Anita, the lonely hoarder, create a great dynamic that will surely divide people who see this episode.

Without giving too much away, I can say this: everyone in the episode is nuts. Even the next door neighbor (Martin Garner) has a screw loose. It’s not nuts in a serial killer kind of way; it’s nuts like that old couple who live down the street that you know (Yes, that couple) who just bicker non-stop. It is interesting to see all these elements come alive on screen, and it’s easy to choose sides for vastly different reasons.

I found myself rooting for Jonas, for the most part, since I completely LOATHE people like Anita. The couple is unaware of their own problems and just try to mask their sadness by collecting things (in her case, animals), but that’s not to say Jonas is a hero by any means. What he eventually does is reprehensible. However, in the grand scheme of things, I can see how he was driven to the edge. Unfortunately, after falling off, there was no saving him. On the other hand, Anita was alone for over 30 years, and she had to find something to keep her company, thus her animals. If Jonas had just taken a day or two off to spend time with her, perhaps things wouldn’t have gotten so out of control. I don’t know; I’m just reminded of those people on Hoarders (who are actually real and not characters in a TV show), and they infuriate me to no end. Jonas does what I think most of us want to do to them; we may not want to go that far, but standing up to them definitely has merit.

Is there anything else on the episode? Well, it certainly doesn’t take itself seriously; that’s for sure, but really, how could it when you consider the subject matter? It’s a silly story, and if it was played seriously, it never would’ve worked. At the same time, this is one of, if not the most, unsettling episodes in the entire series. It’s a silly vibe throughout with a terribly dark ending. You’ll find yourself laughing at parts, but then you’ll feel disgusted by what is going on. That’s what a good story is supposed to do; it’s supposed to make you feel. It’s a classic episode to end the very short season.


Cryptkeeper Segment

Who knew the Cryptkeeper was a dog lover? Not much to this one, either, which obviously shows that they didn’t start to get really silly until the second season.

Punny Goodness

This is Peeps; he has a little terror “tail” of his own.

Blood and Gore

Nothing is shown, but a lot is suggested. Hearing Jonas at the end is truly chilling and gory in its own right; nothing needs to be shown in this episode.

Obligatory Nudity

This might be the first time where I am actually thankful everyone kept their clothing on. Hearing Anita say she’s going to take a bath and Jonas saying he needs to poop is more than enough to kill any arousal.

Scare Factor

When I was younger, this was TERRIFYING. I had nightmares from this episode. So, yes, this is easily the scariest episode of the original six. Even now it’s disturbing, though I don’t think I’ll get bad dreams from it now.

Other Interesting Tidbits

M. Emmet Walsh is a legendary character actor whom you may not know the name, but you are sure to know the face when you see it. He is still acting to this day, which is great to see. He is actually one of Roger Ebert’s favorite actors; Ebert even invented a rule based of him called the “Stanton-Walsh Rule,” in which any movie starring Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh has to be good in some way. He later stated this rule was broken by Wild Wild West, in which Walsh starred.

Audra Lindley is another famous character actress who, at least in my eyes, will always be remembered as starring as Helen Roper in the TV Series “The Ropers.” This remembrance is only due to the show’s horrific theme song. Go ahead; look it up. I dare you to find a worse opening song. Believe it or not, she is actually almost 20 years older than Walsh, yet she plays the younger wife. Sadly, she passed away in 1997 at the age of 79.

Mary Lambert directed this episode, which is likely due to her connection with another animal/horror story she directed, Pet Sematary. She really does know how to make animals frightening.

Last Words

This was one of my favorites growing up, and it still holds up today. The season may have started to fade with “Lover,” but “Collection Completed” knocks it out of the park and saves the season from ending on a sour note. If you can handle the subject matter, this is definitely a must see episode!

Next Writing: Dead Right

3 Responses to “Tales from the Crypt Recap #6 “Collection Completed””

  • Keith:

    Here is this weeks episode…definitely a must watch

  • Cristiona:

    Setting aside anything actually in the episode, this one has just the perfect name. “Collection Completed” is like something out of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits. It’s so perfectly bland while at the same time it carries a terrifying weight and sense of finality. There’s just something about that title. Love it.

    Also, Ebert’s wrong. If the rule is just being good IN SOME WAY, then Wild Wild West doesn’t break the rule. Oh, the movie is crap, but it certainly had its amusing parts. And I don’t care how bonkers it is, I actually loved the giant spider. It makes no sense, is impossible, and is fucking stupid, but it’s also awesome in all its glorious stupidity.

    I also giggle like a nut every time I see the scene where Smith and Branagh and trading offensive slurs in their dialogue. I know I probably shouldn’t, but they both seem to be having so much fun, I don’t care if I should be offended by it.

    • Keith:

      Ebert has also given high praise to the Charlie’s Angels movies (something even Roeper had to call him out on “I can’t believe you are defending this piece of garbage) and is the director behind the horrendous Beyond the Valley of Dolls. Meanwhile, completely hates Resident Evil and A Clockwork Orange (two of my favs). His opinion means nothing to me lol…

      I actually enjoyed the first 3 quarters of Wild Wild West for three reasons; I saw it for what it was (a really dumb action film), I enjoyed the chemistry between Smith and Kline, and Kenneth Branagh is just great in anything he does. But once the mechanical spider came out I had to tap out. It went from this is so bad it’s good, to it’s just bad. How can you make a giant mechanical spider firing cannons and blowing shit up so boring? I haven’t seen it since it’s come out so I think I’ll have to check it out again this weekend to see if that ending was as bad as I remembered.

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