Tales from the Crypt (1996)

Season 4 Episode 6

What's Cookin'

Aired Unknown Jul 22, 1992 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
105 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A couple's failing restaurant gets a huge boost when a drifter gives them a steak recipe to die for.

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  • A tasty treat for all Crypt fans!

    This episode has been my personal favorite since I first saw the show. In fact, if memory serves, it was the first episode I ever saw (because I've always been a huge Meat Loaf fan and he's in this episode). In it, a couple with a struggling oddball restaurant find their literal meal ticket when a drifter introduces them and their customers to a new delicacy: human flesh.

    Masterfully written from beginning to end, with subtle foreshadowing, great characterization, brilliant humor and charm, and enough gut-wrenching horror to sink your teeth into, and a cast as polished as the script with the likes of the late, great Christopher Reeves with his dead-on line delivery, the slimy and conniving performance by Judd Nelson, and even the bit part by a wildly overacting, almost southern preacher-style Meat Loaf, make this a tasty little treat all around. When putting together a buffet of your favorite episodes, make sure this finds its way to the main course.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Crypt Keeper Wardrobe: In the opening wraparound segment, the Crypt Keeper is wearing a tuxedo.

      In the closing wraparound segment, the Crypt Keeper is wearing his traditional brown robe with the hood down and an apron over it.

    • Meat Loaf receives the "and" credit, and Judd Nelson receives the "special appearance by" credit.

    • Music: Composed by Nicholas Pike.

    • At the beginning of the episode, the sign for the restaurant owned by Fred and Erma that is supposed to say "Fred and Erma's" is broken so that the lit letters actually read "Enemas".

  • QUOTES (3)

    • [Erma, holding a cleaver behind Fred's head, about to bring it down on him.]
      Fred: Honey, if you bury that thing in the back of my neck you're just gonna wreck the blade.

    • Gaston: It's a dog-eat-dog world, and we're all just different flavors of Alpo.

    • [Opening Wraparound segment.] The Crypt Keeper: [pulling out a chef's eye] Next time I book a table for 8 o'clock, Wolfgang, I expect to be seated at 8 o'clock! Yes, a good whine. Not a great whine, but locally groan, that's for sure. A pleasant enough boo-que. Almost reminds me of a good scream sherry! I hope you brought your appetites, kiddies, because tonight's tasteless tidbit is something I'm sure you'll savor. It's a real epi-gorian delight about a nice young couple who find the restaurant business a little hard to swallow. I call this adventure in fine dying, "What's Cookin". [Closing wraparound segment.] The Crypt Keeper: I suppose it's a little too late for Gaston to save face! Talk about a flesh in the pan [Laughs]. I guess that's what happens when you butcher money where your mouth is [Laughs]. As for me, kiddies, I say it's time for taps. Mmmm. 'Til next time, restaurateur in peace. [Laughs]

  • NOTES (5)

    • EC Comic Connection: Story adapted from Haunt Of Fear #12, March-April 1952. Story by Al Feldstein with art by Jack Davis.

      In the original comic story, two men owned a chicken cafe, in this episode it is about a couple who own a Calamari cafe.

    • Director Connection: Gilbert Adler also directed the episode, "Death Of Some Salesman".

    • This is one of three episodes that HBO wrote a note on. They complained that the word "homeless" was used ("What do you know, Gaston? You're homeless", said by Fred). Almost reluctantly it was changed to "What do you know, Gaston? You're just a drifter."

    • Before the fight scene between Fred and Gaston was shot, it took a lot of convincing for Christopher Reeve to comply. People had known him as the invincible Superman from his four 70's and 80's Superman films, and he felt that looking like he will lose may ruin his image as Superman. Then it grew late at night, everyone was tired, so Reeve did it anyway.

    • Meatloaf lost weight and had to use padding to look like a fat man for the role. The body on the hook was the a body cast of extra David Horspool.


    • Boston Red Sox

      Major League baseball franchise founded in 1901 and one of the original charter members of the American League. Originating from Boston, Massachusetts, The team has played in Fenway Park since 1912 and in 2004 broke a 86 year World Series losing streak when they finally won the World Series which they hadn't won since 1918. The losing streak, known as the Curse Of The Bambino, was believed to be caused after they traded superstar Babe Ruth in 1920. In 2007, The Boston Red Sox won the World Series once again. Notable Red Sox players through the years are Wade Boggs, Bill Buckner, Dennis Eckersley, Pedro Martinez, Tony Peña, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams among many others. Many fans show their appreciation for the team by wearing the team's cap usually red or blue, with a simple but distinctive "B" logo on the front.

      In this episode, Fred, played by Christopher Reeve, wears a Boston Red Sox cap in most of his scenes.

      Ironically, Christopher Reeve died in October, 2004, the same month the Red Sox broke their 86 year World Series losing streak.

    • Alpo

      Popular and well known U.S. canned or bagged soft dog food. Alpo is manufactured by the Ralston Purina Comapany and is sold in different varities such as Prime Cuts In Gravy, Classic Chunky and also as a dry kibble version.

      In this episode, when Gaston is trying to convince Fred to go along with his method of how he obtained the steak meat, he says, "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and we're all just different flavors of Alpo".