Horror television is something we will probably always see. Shows like The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery helped the genre gain lots of ground, and with current shows like Ash vs Evil Dead, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead and Penny Dreadful, horror lovers still have shows to look forward to on TV. Now, though, it looks like another horror television show, this one from days’ past, is coming to our screens.
TNT has just announced that they’re planning to bring back the HBO phenomenon Tales from the Crypt this fall. The rebooted show will feature all new tales of horror and stories from the original EC Comics imprint, and be part of a newly planned two-hour horror block for the network, which the new Tales from the Crypt will lead. The show is being curated and executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan.
In case your memory of the show is fuzzy, each episode of the anthology series was lead by the Crypt Keeper (voiced by John Kassir), a puppet that looked exactly like an animated dead body with the eyeballs still in their sockets. He would introduce the tale featured in the episode and then mock the stupid and/or unfortunate people who got wrapped up in terrible situations during the course of the story at the end of the episode.
A wide variety of well-known, or soon to be well-known stars appeared in or worked behind the scenes. Stars of some of the episodes include Adam Ant, Patricia Arquette, Dan Aykroyd, Daniel Craig, Benicio del Toro, Kirk Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Demi Moore, John Stamos and Katey Sagal. Directors included Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Zemeckis.
Tales from the Crypt was based on the EC Comics title that ran on a bi-monthly basis from 1950 to 1955, producing 27 issues. The comic also had six sister publications that stories for the show were pulled from, The Crypt of Terror, Haunt of Fear, Vault of Horror, Crime SuspenSories, Shock SuspenStories and Two-Fisted Tales. The titles were popular, but when comics came under fire in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s for possibly contributing to illiteracy and juvenile delinquency, Tales from the Crypt and two other titles were cancelled.
The show became a major hit for HBO. It ran from the summer of 1989 until the summer of 1996, with a total of 93 episodes. Since it ran on premium cable, it was free from the censorship restrictions traditional networks have. As a result, the show was often filled with graphic violence, gore, nudity and profanity that would have led to a TV-MA rating had it aired today. The show began production in the US, but in the final season was moved to Britain, so the show’s stories then revolved around British characters.
Well, this is grand news for anyone who loved the show in its HBO days. It would be fair to say that the show is probably lovingly remembered by any horror fan who came across it, especially if you were a kid at the time. There was no more adult horror or anthology show on at the time, and if you were allowed to watch it, you were indeed the cool kid at day camp or school the next day.
There are only a few brief months now until we get a look at the new incarnation of Tales from the Crypt, and I only have one request: bring back the Crypt Keeper. The show simply won’t be the same without him.