Starring both Jon Lovitz AND John Astin (with a cameo from Sandra Bernhard on the day that I was just thinking, “Whatever happened to her?”), this ended up being one of my favourites, not least because its creepy undertone and series of reveals reminds me of about a dozen cheesy horror stories and urban legends I voraciously consumed when I was a teen.
In “Top Billing“, episode 5 of season 3 of Tales from the Crypt, the former – a curious mix of a smug, pretentious yet failing and mediocre actor – answers the latter’s ad for an amateur production of Hamlet. Marginally more successful fellow actor Winton (Bruce Boxleitner, a name I’ve always enjoyed reading) shows up to audition just to try piss Lovitz’s character off, and piss him off he does.
Events take a predictable turn – then…
(SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP)
…a third-act reveal I wasn’t expecting – and then more and more, until all the gore. I haven’t had so much fun watching a Crypt since “Abra Cadaver” (funnily enough, one episode before this one, but my friend and I were picking these at random). Lovitz is suitably whiny, pretentious and thoroughly unsympathetic; and, wreaking more colourful fun than a clown puking silk scarves, Astin hams it up as the bug-eyed amdram director. I’ve yet to work my way through every Crypt episode, but it’ll be hard to top (pun not intended) this one.