Tales from the Crypt (TV series)
Tales from the Crypt, also known as, HBO's Tales from the Crypt, is an American horror anthology television series that ran from June 10, 1989 to July 19, 1996, on the premium cable channel HBO, adapting stories from the eponymous 1950s EC Comics series as well as other EC Comics of the time: (The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Crime SuspenStories, Shock SuspenStories, and Two-Fisted Tales).
"The Man Who Was Death" [1.1], (June 10, 1989), written by Robert Reneau and Walter Hill based on a story by Gardner Fox
- Niles Talbot: First thing you got to understand is when it's their time, all these big tough guys go yellow. Crying and hollering and screaming, blubbering, "The Governor's gonna call," and all that. Well, I been here 12 years, and the Governor ain't called yet. People say the damnedest things about electrocutions. They say your eyeballs pop out, they say black blood comes out your mouth. They say you get all foamy like a rabid dog. All that's bullshit. It ain't true at all. Nice thing about electricity is it's clean. Of course, I have seen a few heads smoke after it's all over. A smoking head ain't very pretty.
- Niles Talbot: Fucking guys on TV, what do they know? Let me tell you something. If they put executions on TV it would be the fucking highest-rated show of all time. It'd be Nielsens through the roof. The other networks would start killing people just to compete. Pretty soon, Geraldo Rivera would be pulling that switch.
- Niles Talbot: They canned me from my job because they're afraid of me. They're afraid of death. They don't see it's all around them. It's a disease. You eat it, you drink it, you breathe it, you fuck it. We're all pregnant with it. It's growing inside all of us like them over there. You see those two junkies? Pitiful bastards, ain't they? I'll tell you something, though. In a way, I respect them. They're honest. They spend all their money just to shoot a little death into their arms. Just for a thrill. Just to get a little taste of the grave. See, they know death is coming. They tease it. I like that. Of course, at the same time, junkies are shit. Two-bit criminals.
- Niles Talbot: I got nothing special against bikers. Hell, I used to own a hog myself once upon a time. Bikers believe in freedom. They don't want nobody to lean on them and they don't give a good goddamn what polite society thinks of them. They figure they're throwbacks to real Americans. You know, what the country was about before it all went to hell with big-city lawyers and computers, corporations and time clocks and what all. There's a lot to be said for that. Those ain't bad ideas.
- Niles Talbot: It's easy to be successful with dames. Just don't fall in love and you're okay. You give them what they want, you fall in love, they will kill you. They can't stand you no more, they either dump you and move on or if they let you hang around, they'll cut your balls off. Weird, ain't it? Now, as far as strategies for getting into their panties that's easy, too. The old rule you treat whores like queens and queens like whores then you got no problem.
- Niles Talbot: You all know me! I used to work here, for Christ's sake. Come on, I am telling you, the Governor's going to call. He knows what I've done for him. He knows about all the rats and crumbs that I took care of. All the shit they want me to get rid of! You've gotta let me go, you sons of bitches! That phone is going to ring! I'm telling you, he's going to call. He's gonna call.
"And All Through the House" [1.2], (June 10, 1989); written by Fred Decker
- Husband: Something needs to be done about that fire. Have you got the poker?
- Wife: Yes.
- Husband: Well, let me have it.
- Wife: What did you say?
- Husband: What are you, deaf? I said, let me have it.
- Wife: Merry Christmas, you son of a bitch!
- Carrie Ann: See, Mommy? I told you Santa would come and he didn't even have to come down the chimney. I let him in.
- Wife: NO!
- Santa: Naughty...or nice?
"Dig That Cat... He's Real Gone" [1.3], (June 10, 1989); written by Terry Black
- Dr. Emil Manfred: It's a simple matter, really. Removing a gland from a common cat and surgically grafting it into your brain.
- Ulric: Wait. Into my brain? So I can die nine times. Now you're making sense, Doc!
- Ulric: You tried to kill me!
- Dr. Emil Manfred: I didn't try to kill you, I did kill you. Deader than Kelsey's nuts. You can still die eight more times.
- Ulric: All right, if that's true when do I get my money?
- Dr. Emil Manfred: As I promised, right now. But before you stagger into the nearest bar to slurp down your money how would you like to make hundred times more? A thousand times?
- Ulric: No!
What else do you want to do to me?
- Dr. Emil Manfred: Nothing, dear boy. I just thought perhaps your special talent could make us both lot of money. Enough to finance my years of my longevity research and enough, of course, to buy you an ocean of alcohol.
- Dr. Emil Manfred: Think what a strange machine the human body is, Ulric.
- Ulric: Yeah, how about that.
- Dr. Emil Manfred: You can kill a man by destroying less than 1% of his body. He can be 99% healthy, and dead. Amazing, isn't it? Every human body is like a walking chemistry set. If anything happens to upset that delicate balance Death. That's why you're so amazing, Ulric. Because your body fixes itself. And it is going to make us both a lot of money.
- Ulric: Doc, you're half right about that. See, it's going to make me a lot of money. See, I gotta breach that contract, Doc. You're about to die in a terrible car accident.
- Dr. Emil Manfred: What are you talking about? That's murder.
- Ulric: Yes, but who's gonna suspect me? I mean, after all, I'll die with you.
- Father: Come on, I'm gonna get you a junior membership in the NRA. Some kids kill rabbits, you can kill people.
"Only Sin Deep" [1.4], (June 10, 1989); written by Fred Dekker
Based on Haunt of Fear #24 by William Gaines
- Raven: Oh, well, well, well, well, well! If it isn't Mr. GQ! I tell ya, for the rich, every night's a party night!
Dream on, honey! 'Cos ain't nobody invited you!
- Sylvia Vane: What's she got that I ain't got?
- Raven: Him!
- Sylvia Vane: Not for long, she don't...
- Ronnie Price: Well, I saw you and let's just say something more important came up.
- Sylvia Vane: That sounds like a cheap sexual innuendo to me.
- Ronnie Price: Oh, I'm sorry. It was supposed to sound like an expensive one.
- Pawnbroker: That's the way she used to look... she used to be so beautiful... now I need other women's beauty just to keep her that way... small price to pay, I think...
- Sylvia Vane: Look, I don't know what kinda crazy voodoo shit you're into, and I don't really care! But, but, but, we had a deal, man! Look! All that's worth more than a hundred thousand dollars! Now I want it back! Give it back to me! I want my beauty back!
"Lover Come Hack To Me" [1.5], (June 21, 1989), written by Michael McDowell
Based on Haunt of Fear #19 by William Gaines
- Aunt Edith: Peggy, you'll live to regret this day.
- Peggy: Please don't spoil my happiness, Aunt Edith.
- Aunt Edith: Peggy, I'm only thinking of your happiness. You'll live to regret this day, too.
- Charles: Why would I ever regret marrying the woman I love?
- Aunt Edith: You don't love her. You love the fortune that her mother left her. And you love her stocks and bonds and her real estate and that big house.
- Charles: And you don't love any of that? Give me a break, Aunt Edith.
- Peggy: Are you in bed yet?
- Charles: Yes, I'm in bed, honey.
- Peggy: You know, I'd do anything for you.
- Charles: And I'd do anything for you, too. And your bank account.
- Charles: She never loved me, either. Why did she marry me? It doesn't matter. What matters is, the marriage certificate is real. She is mine. And every goddamn penny she's got in the world is mine, too.
- Peggy: What were you dreaming about?
- Charles: It was about your parents. I dreamt that your mother killed your father on their wedding night.
- Peggy: That's weird. That's exactly what happened on the night I was conceived.
- Charles: What?
- Peggy: And I want what my mother had. A perfect honeymoon. A perfect love that I can make sure that time does not spoil.
- Aunt Edith: How was your wedding night?
- Peggy: It was wonderful. I'm going to have a baby girl.
- Aunt Edith: Really?
- Peggy: Yes and she's only this big.
- Aunt Edith: That's lovely, dear.
- Peggy: You'll love her, won't you?
- Aunt Edith: Well, of course I will. Just as I loved your mother, as I love you. Only no more men, understand?
- Peggy: I promise. Besides, I don't need one anymore, now that I have my little girl. But she's gonna need one, someday.
- Aunt Edith: Of course she will, dear. Of course she will.
"Collection Completed" [1.6], (June 28, 1989), written by Battle Davis & Randolph Davis and A. Whitney Brown
Based on Vault of Horror #25 by William Gaines
- Jonas: Forty-seven years, Suntime hand tools six days a week, 52 weeks a year. Look at that thing. Some thanks. Can't even tell time with it.
- Anita: I think it's beautiful. You should be proud.
- Jonas: Proud? Sure, real proud. Proud to be put out to pasture. Day I hit 65, I'm out of there. Never mind I'm 17-year regional sales leader. Never mind, just throw the old duff away.
- Anita: I'm sure they'll miss you. Anyway, you've done enough for them. This is your time now. So let's start right now.
- Jonas: My first free weekday since I was 17.
- Anita: Why don't you just take the day and do nothing? Just relax. You could pass out in your chair with the TV on.
- Jonas: Damn it, I don't wanna watch TV. I'm a productive citizen. I got mandatory retirement. Mandatory.
- Anita: But I thought you liked to pass out with the TV on.
- Jonas: I was working then. I had a right to pass out.
- Jonas: Are you running some kind of luxury resort for every flea-bitten parasite that trips across my doorstep? What's that dog eating? A steak?
- Anita: These are my friends.
- Jonas: Must be costing a fortune. I can't believe I worked 47 years just to shell out for every mangy cat and dog that's hungry enough to be your friend just because you feed it!
- Anita: They keep me company. They're all I've got.
- Jonas: Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? All right, so I've been a little busy the last 47 years. I just didn't have time to sit and gab with you night and day. I had a living to earn.
- Roy: Listen, old buddy, I know how this must look. But for me these models It's not just about building planes. You want to slow up a bit. Let life pass you by a little.
- Jonas: When you start letting life pass you by that's the day you start to die. No, I don't need to slow down.
- Jonas: What do you think?
- Anita: What is this? What's happening?
- Jonas: He's the prize of my collection. Part of my new hobby: Taxidermy.
- Anita: You can't be serious. How could you do this?
- Jonas: I'm doing this for you. I'm making adjustments so we can share our common interests in our golden years. I mean, you love animals. Now I can learn to love them, too.
About Tales from the Crypt (TV series)
- “These are terrific stories which have survived over several decades,” said HBO’s Chris Albrecht, the programming executive who green-lighted the first six episodes of producer Joel Silver’s “Tales From the Crypt” series. “Strong story material will always make for better films and these stories are very special.”
- “I thought it was well done,” Gaines said. “It doesn’t follow the (story) exactly, but Hollywood never does.”
- Tales From the Crypt premiered on HBO as a half-hour series in June 1989 and ran through the summer of 1996. Viewers embraced it immediately, in part, because of the wide array of actors it featured, with a different cast appearing in each episode. The original run of the series featured appearances by Brad Pitt, Isabella Rossellini, Don Rickles, Dan Aykroyd, Roger Daltrey, Tim Roth and many others. Additionally, Michael J. Fox, Kyle MacLachlan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks and others directed episodes of the series.
- Kory Grow, “M. Night Shyamalan to Revive ‘Tales From the Crypt’”, Rolling Stone, (January 7, 2016).
- Hill, who is old enough to have been a first generation E.C. fan, said he has wanted to adapt the executioner episode for years, but never would have had the chance without the HBO series.
“This would never be a movie--the material is too thin--and it would never be on network TV because it’s too strong,” Hill said. “If it was ever going to be done, this is the only way.”
- [T]he Crypt Keeper is that ride up to the top of the peak before the roller coaster drops you down. Whether the roller coaster ride was the best you’d ever been on, or pretty good, or it sucked, the anticipation of going up is always amazing. It’s the anticipation of it. It’s the fun, giggly part. No matter what the other part is, the fun part makes it okay for you to be doing this. The Crypt Keeper did that.
- John Kassir in “John Kassir, Voice of the Crypt Keeper, Discusses ‘Tales from the Crypt’ Old and New”, by Vinnie Mancuso, The Observer, (01/13/16)
- [Y]ou know, it had some of the biggest producers at the time, and these guys are still going strong. You’re talking Joel Silver, and Richard Donner, Walter Hill, Bob Zemeckis who was making some of the biggest films of all time. David Giler, who produced Alien. Kevin Yagher! He created the Crypt Keeper, was the top of his fraternity of effects and creature making. These were heavyweights running the show.
- John Kassir in “John Kassir, Voice of the Crypt Keeper, Discusses ‘Tales from the Crypt’ Old and New”, by Vinnie Mancuso, The Observer, (01/13/16)
- I saw some of the other people auditioning were looking at the script copy and saying “Oh my God this stuff is terrible.” They didn’t get it. The Crypt Keeper loves saying this stuff. He’s delivering it like it’s the best Shakespeare. I went down to Kevin Yagher’s studio to see what the character would look like, and saw that he had rotting flesh, and holes in his threads…Kevin always described him by saying “You don’t want to get near that mouth, it’s too disgusting.” I decided then to add texture to the character. I wanted him to treat the language like it was important, so I gave him a British accent. I was thinking about who the great hosts of the macabre were. Alfred Hitchcock, but with a faster delivery. I used to love Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the way he would introduce those episodes with such a tongue-in-cheek delivery.
At some point I was laughing at my own jokes, and I was laughing at his jokes. I started giggling, then I went into this bloodcurdling, screaming laugh for Kevin. His face just went blank. I thought he was freaking out, but really he was like “that’s GOT to be in there.”
- Tales From the Crypt connected in a special way. Its simple, dark fables that showed the tables getting turned on unjust individuals or hapless fools is universally relatable.
- Daniel Kurland, ”The Dark Morality of “Tales From the Crypt” and Its 15 Best Episodes”, Bloody Disgusting, (February 20, 2016)
- There is a blithe camp aspect to "Tales From the Crypt." The stories are based on 1950's E. C. Comics, published by William M. Gaines under titles such as "Tales From the Crypt," "The Vault of Horror" and "Shock SuspenStories" The horror is spiked with humor and calculated exaggeration. Setting the tone for the series is the creepy punster called the Crypt-Keeper, an animatronic puppet designed by the special-effects expert Kevin Yagher ("A Nightmare on Elm Street"). One unanticipated hitch: the resemblance of the skeletal puppet to current photographs of starving and deathly ill children in Iraq. Horror is not limited to comic books. Primal nightmares are rooted in reality, and the overlapping of images can be disorienting.
- John J. O'Connor, “Review/Television; 'Tales From the Crypt' Raises Ratings for HBO”, (June 26, 1991).
- “I was raised on D.C. comics myself--Batman, Superman, all those,” said Silver, the 36-year-old producer whose string of 1980s action hits include “48 HRS,” “Die Hard,” “Predator” and “Lethal Weapon.” “I was aware of the E.C. comics, but it wasn’t until they were reissued in bound volumes that I thought about adapting them.”
- Zemeckis, who isn’t old enough to remember the original stories, said the attraction for him was making the sort of film he couldn’t do otherwise.
“To be perfectly frank, with my career at this point, I couldn’t do a feature horror or terror picture,” said Zemeckis, whose recent hits include “Back to the Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” “For me, being able to make something that terrifies people and makes them smile at the same time is great fun.”