On Saturday June 10, 1989 HBO launched their new horror TV show Tales from the Crypt with the first episode ‘The Man Who Was Death’, which was hosted by our new fright fiend the Cryptkeeper! Who knew the show would run until 1996 with eight wonderful seasons of madness and mayhem? Now almost a decade after the show met its demise Warner Home Video has finally released the first season on DVD, will the show stand the test of time?
Based on the legendary and gruesome EC Comics from publisher William Gaines, this horror anthology featured stories of murder, the super natural, gore and humor and always had a twist ending of sorts. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names took part, either working in front or behind the camera. Hosting duties fell to everyone’s favorite decaying corpse, the Crypt Keeper.
Although the first season is only six episodes, these episodes are easily some of the most memorable in the shows seven seasons. The first episodes are as follows: The Man Who Was Death, And All Through the House, Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone, Only Sin Deep, Love Come Hack to Me and Collection Completed.
After over ten years of having not seen any of these episodes, and having watched them as an early teen, I thought there was no chance this show could still blow my mind- I was wrong. Every episode drew me in like I was in 1989 again- I had to change my pants twice! Obviously the best episode is ‘Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone’ where Ulric (Joe Pantoliano) is given the chance of a lifetime when a mad scientist implants a cat’s gland inside his brain, allowing him to gain the cat’s nine lives. He joins the circus and becomes ‘Ulric the Undying’, being killed onstage and coming back to life right before their very eyes. As I glance through my book, which details every episode of the Crypt, this has easily got to be one of the best, and most memorable.
The show is definitely entertaining, and apparently will never get old (no matter how many decades pass)- but it didn’t completely pass the test of time. The opening theme song gave me chills of excitement when it first blasted out of my speakers, but once the shows ran their course I couldn’t believe how freakin’ cheesy the scores were. I actually found some of the music to be bothersome and irritating and I only wish it kept in the past 15 years. Although the episodes still look well made, I still found that it looked a lot less of quality than shows made today- especially on HBO; but don’t forget Tales from the Crypt paved the path for these new shows!
If you want a better jolt in your memory, click here for details and pics from each episode. This season is worth every penny and I highly recommend taking a trip to the store to pcik it up. After six wonderful episodes I can’t wait until Season 2 makes its way to DVD this October!