Tales from the Crypt (1996)

Season 2 Episode 12

Fitting Punishment

Aired Unknown Jun 19, 1990 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
106 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A nasty Alabama funeral home director, who uses any illegal cost saving means necessary to garner an extra buck, gets an unexpected new addition to his home when his 16-year-old nephew shows up.

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  • Excellent

    One of my absolute favorite episodes! Great all around!
  • Blood thicker than water.

    I'll admit this epsode is just a bit emotionally painful at times to watch, probably because I felt bad for the nefew and well that's the point.

    This is basically a fable about greed and how it can destroy a mans soul. Moses Gunn was brilently cast and acted as the antagonist Ezra in the tale. I really hated the guy we see he's a greed cheap skate mortician who's whole existance seems to revolve around money he litteraly worships it as he states "Like the bible says, every penny saved is every dollar earned" although he's wrong that was from Benjamin Franklin so it sort of tells you Ezra isn't very smart. He's sees the dead as nothing but dollar signs displayed by his filthy grave robbing habbits, how he treats the living he's sees as nothing but assets like how for no reason whatsoever he's treats the pipe organ player disrespectfully (any boss treated me like that I would quit imediately), but most of all how he goes about living, he's so cheep he doesn't allow his nefew to turn on the lights or water freely when needed just to save a mesely amount of bucks. You like the nefew because we can easily see he's a good soul that like any teenager has ambitions, respects his family despite how his uncle treats him (probably hoping like any kid for his guardian to love him), does a good job and he's doesn't ask for much except simple things. I felt sad for what happened to him but like in any "Tales from the Crept" tale felt a sweet sense of relief for the justice he delivers in the end.

    I even like some of the interror construction of the funeral home and the cinamatography of it making the funeral home feel and seem very cramped, unconfortable, as well as falling apart from cheeply painted stain glass windows or the color of the walls that looked a little depressing or just need to be repainted. It really reflected the psyche of Ezra soul showing how poor it truely is. It also has a very clastrophobic feel to it, which has an ironic sensabilty, making it feel as though Erza own funeral home is his own coffin.

    The amount of how greedy one is is the messurment for their own coffin.moreless
  • Ezra is a selfish funeral home director. When his orpahned nephew comes to live with him, he soons begin abusing the young boy verbally and physically; he soon realizes blood is thicker than water.moreless

    This episode concerns a selfish funeral home director named Ezra; he is mean, corrupt, and irreverent towards the dead, doing everything from stealing from the corpses to using cheap chemicals instead of the required product to work on them. One day, his nephew Bobby comes to live with him because his parents were killed in a car crash. Ezra takes Bobby in but in an extremely reluctant manner. He basically makes Bobby do all his dirty work and if Bobby makes the slightest mistake, Ezra punishes him excessively. When Bobby orders the wrong coffin for a man's dead son, Ezra is furious fearing Bobby will mess up his finances, so he whacks Bobby in the legs with a crowbar. Bobby is paralyzed from the waist down and will have to spend the rest of his life on crutches. One day, Ezra kills Bobby in order to make use of the coffin Bobby ordered that would have gone to waste; however, Bobby is too tall to fit in the coffin, so Ezra cuts his feet off to make him fit. But Bobby comes from the dead and shows Ezra blood is thicker than water.moreless
  • This was a very creepy episode.

    This episode is about a boy who is forced to live with his greedy, evil uncle after his parents die. This guy was a total jerk. His saying was water is thicker than blood. He treated his innocent nephew like a very unwelcome guest. The plot thickens when a coffin ordered for a funeral is not correct; he is a mortician. This is where his greedy, evilness turns deadly. The ending is classic.moreless
  • Harrowing tale

    I had seen this episode years ago and treaded to rewatch it now, not exactly sure why. Now I know. This is one of the meanest, grimmest episodes the series has to offer.

    Mostly this is the result of the portrayal of Ezra, the cruel mortician played by Moses Gunn with a complete lack of morals or empathy. He is just mean and greedy, nothing else. One wonders what his purpose in life is. As a stark contrast, his nephew is nothing but pure innocence and those two extremes in good and bad characters make the episode as entertaining as it is.

    Furthermore, the depiction of the mortician\\\'s work is just gross and makes you happy that \\\"Six Feet Under\\\" mostly avoids the gory details. The direction, camera and music all are very good and certainly above the average \\\"Crypt\\\" standards.

    A fine, scary episode that I wouldn\\\'t want to watch in the dark.moreless
Moses Gunn

Moses Gunn

Uncle Ezra Thorntonberry

Guest Star

Jon Clair

Jon Clair


Guest Star

Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • [Spoiler warning]
      Goof: At the end of the episode, Bobby and his sneakers return from the grave, but they were sold earlier by Ezra. Did Bobby track down the new owner and kill him?

    • Running gag: In this episode, Ezra uses many famous quotes, claiming most are from the bible, however, most of what he says aren't full biblical quotes at all, just somewhat reworded ones and a few well known non bibical.

    • Product Placements

      In this episode, the following products and their logos can be seen:

      Wilson Sporting Goods: The well known Chicago-based sporting equipment manufacturer's logo can be seen on Bobby's basketball as it is a Wilson brand.

      Nike Air Jordan: The popular top selling and collectible brand of sports related shoe endorsed by basketball legend, Michael Jordan are worn by Bobby in this episode. They are later sold by his evil uncle Ezra. At the time of this episode's airing, Jordan was still an active NBA player and the shoes were extremely popular, which continued years after Jordan retired from active competition.

    • Music: Composed by Stanley Clarke.

    • Crypt Keeper Wardrobe: In the opening wraparound segment, The Crypt Keeper is wearing a basketball uniform and is shooting baskets with skulls.

      In the closing wraparound segment, the Crypt Keeper is still wearing the basketball uniform and is tying his basketball shoe.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Bobby: Like it says in the Bible, Uncle Ezra, [holding up a crowbar] "Blood is thicker than water". [Staggers over to Ezra, then swings the crowbar].

    • Ezra: You know, a human body is one big cesspool. Food flows in, sh*t flows out, and blood flows all around.

    • [While working on a corpse]
      Bobby: Aren't you supposed to use chemicals or something?
      Ezra: He's dead, you damn fool. He doesn't know the difference.

    • Bobby: Don't you remember me?
      Ezra: Thank the merciful Lord, no.

    • [Opening wraparound segment with the Crypt Keeper wearing a basketball uniform and shooting baskets with skulls.]
      The Crypt Keeper: There you are, sports fiends. You know, dead people like me make excellent point guards. When we can't get off a shot, we simply pass...away, that is! [laughs] Speaking of which, allow me to be your fear leader for tonight's halftime show. It's a putrid playlet about my personal favorite sport: being a mortician. I fittingly call it, 'Fitting Punishment.'

      [Closing wraparound segment with the Crypt Keeper wearing a basketball uniform and tying his basketball shoe.]
      The Crypt Keeper: Well, looks like old Ezra learned raising a teen is no walk in the graveyard. Now he's going to need one of his cheap coffins for himself. That's what he gets for having a name like Ezra. As for poor Bobby, he got a pretty nasty case of athlete's food, didn't he? I mean, I've heard of footloose, but yikes! Oh well, I guess the next best thing to making a goal is becoming a ghoul! Right, kiddies? [laughs]

    • Ezra: You keep messing with that ball, I'll bounce your b*lls right out of here.

    • Ezra: Waste not, want not.

    • Ezra: God helps the mourners for they are blessed. [pulls tooth from corpse] And God also helps those, that help themselves.

    • Ezra: The Righteous need the divine light to see the truth.

    • Ezra: Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This story is a loose adaptation of the H. P. Lovecraft short story "In the Vault" (1925).

    • EC Comic Connection: Story adapted from The Vault Of Horror #16, Dec 1950-Jan 1951. Story by Al Feldstein with art by Graham Ingels.

      In the comic story, the main characters are depicted as caucasian, in this episode, they are depicted as African-American.


    • Matthew 5:4

      Biblical quote, which translates from the King James Bible as "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted".

      In this episode, when Ezra is extracting the gold tooth from the corpse when Bobby first arrives, Ezra says, "God helps the mourners for they are blessed". This could possibly be his take on the Matthew 5:4 verse, as it is somewhat similar but incorrect. This fits in with the rest his so-called biblical quotes which are mostly incorrect or not even biblical at all.

    • Michael Jordan

      In this episode, Bobby wears a pair of Air Jordan's, a popular brand of sneakers, maufactured by Nike and endorsed by basketball legend, Michael Jordan. Also, in the closing wraparound segment, the Crypt Keeper is seen tying a pair as well.

    • Benjamin Franklin

      In this episode, when Ezra is telling Bobby that chemicals cost money, he says, "Like it says in the Bible, "A Penny Saved, Is A Penny Earned". Bobby then corrects him and says, "Didn't Ben Franklin say that". Of course, Bobby was correct, Ezra was wrong, it is not from the Bible, this refers to the famous quote by Ben Franklin meaning that any bit of money you don't have to spend is the same as making it.