Monday, December 5, 2016

Day 35: Tales from the Crypt, the Television Show

I was just about the right age for this when it came out. I was a teenager who was a huge comic book fan. They even resissued some classics from EC comics when this series came out. The show was produced by names like Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver, Walter Hill and Richard Donner who had hands in some of my favorite movies. With cross-promotion like that, how could I resist?

Plus, there were boobs sometimes.

Anyway, the draw of the series was that they took old stories from the Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror/Haunt of Fear comic anthologies and adapted them for television. These comics led to the creation of the comics code authority (think the equivalent of the parental guidance system) back in the 1950s and they seemed pretty raw in the late 1980s when adapted to TV.

Individual episodes don't stand out in my mind so much as images. The leering insane Santa from the first season, the guy hearing voices who kept shoving stuff in his ears to silence them, and a convict dragging a dead cop across the desert to whom he is handcuffed. Lots of episodes had twist endings and a sense of fun throughout. It was like a weekly celebration of horror.

My hands down favorite episode was season two's Television Terror starring Morton Downey Jr. as a "journalist" who broadcasts from haunted houses and gangster's vaults for the ratings. He enters the house of an old woman who took in elderly gentlemen boarders and murdered them for their social security checks. It works as a haunted house story and as an over the top satire on ratings chasers. By the time an old woman ghost attacks Downey with a chainsaw, I was pretty enthralled. You'll laugh, you'll scream...all in a day's work for this series.

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