Tales from the Crypt (1989 series)

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The Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt (1989 series)...

Summary

"Murder, madness, mayhem - and that's just the fun part! You AXED for it, you got it! A night to DISMEMBER!" Tales of horror based on the gruesome E.C. comic books of the 1950s presented by "The Crypt Keeper", a ghoulish horror host with a fondness for puns. In 1997, the series spun off into the science fiction-themed Perversions of Science, hosted by "Chrome", a female android. The stories generally focused more on tales of crime punished by ironic twists of fate than it did on horror, and the horror episodes tended most often to involve vengeful werewolves, ghosts, zombies, and vampires, with almost no genuinely "Lovecraftian" subject matter....

There were also two spin-off cartoon series (both called Tales from the Cryptkeeper), a series of films (Demon Knight (1995), Bordello of Blood (1996), The Frighteners (1996 film)), and various other media adaptations (games, comic books, etc.)

The Tales from the Crypt (1972 franchise) was a previous incarnation of adaptations from the 1950s comic books, and the Creepshow (1982 franchise) was created as an homage in a similar spirit to the 1950s comics.


Details

  • Release Date: 1989-1996 (Tales from the Crypt series and spin-off films), 1997 (Perversions of Science)
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Crime, Thriller, Horror, Comedy
  • Runtime: (generally formatted for a 30-minute commercial television slot)
  • Starring: (various), hosted by John Kassir as the voice of "The Crypt Keeper", Maureen Teefy as "Chrome"
  • Director: (various)
  • Writer: (various)
  • Producer/Production Co: Home Box Office (HBO), Tales From The Crypt Holdings; Nelvana, ABC; NBC
  • View Trailer: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (not rated) (perhaps comparable to a TV-MA for Violence, Profanity, Adult Content, and sometimes Nudity and/or Sexual Situations depending on the episode)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • s____ (One Half Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian, at best)

This series tended to focus on crime stories, and on stories involving cartoonishly unlikable characters getting punished by ironic twists of fate; the result is that the show has a few moments (usually of vaguely Gothic horror) that might be considered "Lovecraftian" at a stretch, but these are few, far between, and likely to be debatable; see the list of suggested episodes below for some of the least-non-Lovecraftian examples. ("Judy, You're Not Yourself Today" could perhaps be loosely compared to "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (fiction)", but the resemblance is thin, and doesn't get any better than this.)

I'm mostly including this series in the Wiki for the sake of completeness, as this would otherwise be an obvious omission when I've covered most of the other big 1980s horror/fantasy/science-fiction anthology series.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopses of Suggested Episodes

Suggested episodes of Tales from the Crypt:

  • "Lover Come Hack to Me" (Ep. 1x05) - A newlywed couple retreat to the wife's aunt's mansion where the husband plans to kill her for her inheritance but soon learns that his wife's family has a dark past and is not what she seems herself.
  • "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" (Ep. 2x10) - A young ventriloquist wants to improve his craft and seeks out help from his old hero but soon finds out his hidden secret.
  • "Judy, You're Not Yourself Today" (Ep. 2x11) - A old cosmetics saleswoman visits the home of a young vain and eccentric couple and convinces the wife to try on a magic necklace that switches the wife's body with hers.
  • "Television Terror" (Ep. 2x16) - A tabloid news show host and his camera crew investigate a house haunted by the ghost of a woman who killed seven men. The host and the crew get more than they bargained for when a chain of supernatural happenings indeed begin taunting them.
  • "The Secret" (Ep. 2x18) - A 12-year-old orphan is adopted by a rich childless couple who harbor a dark secret.
  • "The New Arrival" (Ep. 4x07) - A psychologist attempts to boost his sagging radio show ratings by doing a series of episodes from the home of a strange woman who wants help for her deeply disturbed child.
  • "Death of Some Salesmen" (Ep. 5x01) - sneaky cemetery plot salesman finds new victims in the form of a strange hillbilly family with a fortune buried in their basement and a burning hatred for conning salesmen.
  • "House of Horror" (Ep. 5x07) - Three fraternity pledges are challenged to get to the top floor of a haunted house as part of their initiation. However when two of the pledges fail to return the sadistic fraternity leader heads to the top floor of the house to look for them only to learn that a local sorority harbors a sinister secret involving the house.
  • "Only Skin Deep" (Ep. 6x02) - A man with a history of domestic abuse towards women meets the wrong woman at a party.
  • "Comes the Dawn" (Ep. 6x13) - Two cheating U.S. Army poachers become the hunted while on a trip in the Arctic.
  • "You, Murderer" (Ep. 6x15) - A corpse with an uncanny resemblance to actor Humphrey Bogart tells the sordid tale of his demise in an homage to film noir.

Suggested episodes of Perversions of Science:

  • "Planely Possible" (Ep. 8x06) - A grieving widower volunteers to be the subject of an experiment where he will be sent to another plane of existence where his wife may still be alive.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • The Frighteners (1996 film) was originally intended to be part of the Tales from the Crypt film series, but was released outside of the franchise on its own merits.


Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO


Keeper Notes