Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


The Crypt-Keeper reads a comic

This gruesome TV show lasted for seven seasons and all of the 93 episodes were based on stories published in E.C.'s horror comics, such as Tales from the Crypt. As many of these stories were only a few pages long and were chiefly interested (in many cases) with just the final twist or shock-gore ending, the telewriters often had to "flesh out" the scripts and plot lines, sometimes felicitously, sometimes not.

Among the most memorable episodes: "And All Through the House," involving a murderess and a Santa Clause on a deadly rampage. "Til Death," with a love potion affecting a wealthy woman who never dies to her lover's extreme consternation. "My Brother's Keeper," in which a Siamese twin's falling in love causes extreme complications. In "The New Arrival," a radio shrink deals with a very weird child in a creepy old house. "Spoiled" features a neglected wife, her lover, and the husband who enacts a diabolical revenge involving a truly grotesque switch in parts. An old magician (a splendid Martin Sheen) gets even with a younger rival  in "Well-Cooked Hams." Arguably the best episode is the extremely gruesome "Split Second," in which a handsome lumberjack dallies with the boss's wife and the highly bloody developments this leads to involving a chainsaw.

Other notable episodes: "House of Horror;" "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime;" "Started in Horror;" "Only Skin Deep;" "Till Death Do We Part;" "Oil's Well that Ends Well;" "Came the Dawn;" "Escape;" "Smoke Wrings;" "Mournin' Mess;" "What's Cookin'"; "Death of Some Salesman;" "The Switch;" "Collection Completed;" "The Ventriloquist's Dummy;" "Television Terror;" "Dig that Cat -- He's Real Gone;" and "The Man Who Was Death."

Tales from the Crypt could be overly campy at times (to say the least) and can be best described as very black comedy. The writers added lots of blatant sexuality to the original stories.The hideous puppet "Crypt-Keeper" was expertly voiced by John Cassir, who somehow managed to make him somewhat lovable [?] despite the atrocious puns. NOTE: See The Horror Comics for more information on these and other horror stories.

Verdict: Only about half of these or less are really worth watching, but the good ones are quite entertaining. **1/2.

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