What Tales From the Crypt Has Taught Me

Hello Boils and Ghouls!

As a kid (and still today) I enjoyed scary
movies and scary television shows. One of my favorite television shows
growing up was Tales From the Crypt. I would get so excited every time I
heard the Crypt Keeper (voiced by John Kassir) laugh.

The Crypt Keeper always had a terrifying tale to tell, and by the end there was always a lesson to be learned. The Crypt Keeper would give insight about life and
love and death. Here’s what Tales From the Crypt
taught me.
Introductory picture was taken by me.


Crypt Keeper
Are you ready for your dead time stories kiddies?

Nothing Ever Dies, It Just Gets Buried

The idea that death is not permanent is a popular theme in the horror genre. Tales From the Crypt had many episodes that centered around a supposedly dead person not being completely dead. In the episode The Thing From the Grave a man finds out his model girlfriend (played by Teri Hatcher) is cheating on him, so he kills her lover and buries him. After promising to always protect her, her lover digs himself out of his grave and saves her from her abusive boyfriend.


Nothing Ever Stays Buried

so if something dies you should cremate it.

In the episode None But the Lonely Heart, the protagonist marries rich old women and kills them. He gets his comeuppance in the end when they all come back to get their revenge, as they “can’t die without [him].” He wouldn’t have had that problem if he’d had them cremated. That thing you thought was dead and buried? It wasn’t really dead, it found its way out of its grave, and now it’s mad. When you think you’ve killed something, make sure it will stay dead.


You Can’t Trust Anyone

not even a relative, but especially not a sibling.

It’s usually money that corrupts people. In the episode Fatal Caper, a father chooses to withhold an inheritance from his two sons unless they find their long-lost brother. When the arbiter of the will informs one of the brothers that if only one sibling is alive then that person stands to inherit everything, both brothers try to kill each other. There’s always a reason to be extra cautious and protect yourself.


If You’re Alone in a House and Hear Footsteps…

get out of the house!

It might be one of those things you thought you killed, it might be a crazy ax-wielding man dressed like Santa, it might be both. In both the original movie and later in an episode of the television show there was the story And All Through the House, about a murderous man dressed as Santa Claus. The murderer’s victim already committed a murder of her own so she can’t really call the police for help. If you hear footsteps that you shouldn’t hear, don’t wait around to figure out what it is. Just run.


You Always Have One Less Life Than You Counted On

In the episode Dig That Cat … He’s Real Gone, a homeless man has a cat’s nine lives implanted into him. He tells his story of joining the carnival and becoming the man who would not die in order to make money. While he recounts his story from his grave after being buried alive, he realizes that he forgot to count one life lost – the cat’s life when it was killed for the surgery. He realizes that he’s on his last life and there’s nothing he can do. Live for today because you may not get a tomorrow.


Never Make Your Wife Angry

especially if she has access
to a hammer.


There
are plenty of stories of revenge from Tales From the Crypt. In the episode Collection Completed, a recently retired husband has to get used to being home all the time. His wife begins to annoy him so his friend suggests he take up a hobby to have something to do. When building models isn’t exciting enough the husband decides to take up taxidermy…by stuffing all of his wife’s pets. When she discovers this she kills him with a hammer and stuffs him, turning him into a quiet and docile husband. Angering your
spouse always ends bad.


Everybody’s Out to Steal Your Money

so watch your back.



In the episode Death of Some Salesman a greedy salesman happens upon a family (all played by Tim Curry) with a fortune buried in their basement. The family has a history of protecting themselves from greedy salesmen, though, and in the end turn the tables on the unsuspecting man.
 This was a family that understood that whenever someone has a windfall, they can count on the people around them trying to steal their money.


When Making Soap, Alkalinity is Key

Make sure to get the right combination of acid and base.

In the episode 99 & 44/100 Pure Horror, the girlfriend of a soap factory owner decides to get rid of her boyfriend. She destroys the evidence by putting him through the soap machine and turning him into soap. She forgets to add the lye and he gets the last laugh in the end as the soap she made from him burns her skin. Soap-making is chemistry, be sure to pay attention to what you’re doing.


Watch an Organic Chemistry analysis of the episode.


That Which Does Not Kill You Makes You Undead

Death isn’t much to be afraid of in Tales From the Crypt. There’s always a way to come back. In the episode Til Death a man slips a rich woman (Margaret) a love potion so she’ll love him and help him financially. When he realizes what kind of person Margaret is he gives her more of the love potion hoping it will kill her. It does, until she digs her way out of her grave. Eventually her lover sets her on fire and drowns her in quicksand. Margaret comes back again so he tries to kill himself by drinking poison. He wakes up in his scorned ex-lover’s bed (who happens to be the voodoo priestess who gave him the love potion in the first place), brought back from the dead and tied up so that Margaret can have her way with him.


Your Past Always Come Back to Haunt You

Literally


In the episode Showdown a gunslinger from the Old West heads to a saloon after killing the sheriff that was after him. Eventually the bar becomes filled with all of the people he’s shot. He learns that he was shot by his last victim’s posse shortly after his last gunfight and he haunts the old saloon. He relives his death and goes on to spend eternity riding with his victims. Just because you think you “took care” of your problems doesn’t mean that they won’t come back to pester you.


People Taste Good

Christopher Reeve starred in the episode What’s Cookin’ as a cook at a diner whose owner starts serving up people in order to make ends meet. The town sheriff finds out but looks the other way because the steak is just too good to give up. This episode makes you really curious about the taste of human flesh.

Watch the best scenes from What’s Cookin’.


The Quickest Way to a Man’s Heart

is through his ribcage.

Forget cooking and being the picture of domesticity. In the episode Loved to Death a man becomes infatuated with his neighbor so he gives her a love potion. When she falls in love with him he decides she’s too much for him so he tries to poison her. When he accidentally poisons himself she throws herself out of the window in a fit of despair and they get to spend eternity together, much to his chagrin. Men say they know what they want, they get what they want, then they don’t want it anymore. There’s only one true way to a man’s heart.


Watch Tales From the Crypt

If you want to get into the Halloween spirit, then have a Tales From the Crypt marathon.

The entire series is available on DVD. Buy all seven seasons or just choose a couple of your favorites.

                                                                              


Notable Guest Stars

Over its long run, Tales From the Crypt had many famous guest stars

Christopher Reeve starred in the episode “What’s Cookin’.”

Lea Thompson starred in the episode “Only Sin Deep.”

Demi Moore starred in the episode “Dead Right.”

Katey Sagal starred in the episode “For Cryin’ Out Loud.”

Sam Kinison lent his famous voice to the episode “For Cryin’ Out Loud.”

Iggy Pop made a cameo appearance in the episode “For Cryin’ Out Loud.”

Michael J. Fox directed and made a brief appearance in the episode “The Trap.”

Beau Bridges starred in the episode “Abra Cadaver.”

Whoopi Goldberg starred in the episode “Dead Wait.”

Malcolm McDowell starred in the episode “The Reluctant Vampire.”

Tom Hanks directed and starred in the episode “None but the Lonely Heart.”

Dylan McDermott starred in the episode “This’ll Kill Ya.”

Brad Pitt starred in the episode “King of the Road.”

Blythe Danner starred in the episode “Maniac at Large.”

Joe Pesci starred in the episode “Split Personality.”

Tim Curry starred in the episode “Death of Some Salesman.”

Billy Zane starred in the episode “Well Cooked Hams” and the Tales From the Crypt movie Demon Knight.

Martin Sheen starred in the episode “Well Cooked Hams.”

Brooke Shields starred in the episode “Came the Dawn.”

Catherine O’Hara starred in the episode “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime.”

Rita Rudner starred in the episode “Whirlpool.”

Slash made a guest appearance in the episode “In the Groove.”

Natasha Richardson starred in the episode “Fatal Caper.”

Eddie Izzard starred in the episode “Confession.”


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