Tales of the Crypt had many memorable episodes, but “Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone” is by far the most memorable episode of the first season. Given the Crypt-Keeper’s intro to the story you are given the impression that maybe this was the very first episode they filmed and perhaps they aired it out of order, but I am just speculating. “Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone” in a way set the standards for the rest of the series in terms of the show’s macabre and often entertaining death scenes and dark ghoulish humor.
Ulric, a homeless drunk, is given the rare opportunity by a mysterious German doctor to receive a brain gland from a cat through surgery, giving him nine lives. Once Ulric is given the gift of nine lives he immediately goes into the carnival business, subjecting himself to spectacular deaths for profit, but with each death Ulric becomes more greedy and corrupt.
“Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone” is one hell of an entertaining episode, with purposely hammy and fun acting from both Joe Pantoliano as Ulric and Robert Wuhl as the witty and zany carnival show host. What’s even more fun is director Richard Donner’s camera work, which has many kinetic shots, odd close-ups with wide angle lenses, and off-guard elliptical editing. However, the most fun had from this episode of The Crypt isn’t watching your typical body count as we instead watch Ulric die multiple times for profit, each time more fun and macabre then the last, practically poking fun at humanity’s natural bloodlust. To top off it all off the fun ends with an ingenious twist that of course gives our poor Ulric a needed comeuppance. If you’re looking for a Tales from the Crypt episode that is not particularly scary but incredibly fun to watch, look no further than “Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone.”
– James J. Coker