Tales from the Crypt is one of the great horror shows of all time. Even the two feature films based on the property were fun, though Bordello of Blood can only be embraced as a guilty, guilty pleasure. It was an institution during its run on HBO and was a playground for many filmmakers who’ve since gone on to great success in the industry. Tales from the Crypt was hosted in print and on TV by the pun-spewing Crypt Keeper, whose cackle and maniacal love for the torment of others was somehow charming. During its run, the series embraced the freedom of late night cable television and helped to feed the gore and nudity craved appetites born out of the excesses the 1980s.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the show is coming back. That’s great news, as we definitely need more anthology horror in our lives. The potentially not so good news is that M. Night Shyamalan is going to be “curating” the series for TNT. The E.C. Comics from which the show is based reveled in the cheese and embraced the unpretentious nature of pulp comic books. Shyamalan is sometimes the opposite of that in his approach, favoring a more deliberate and melodramatic means of attaining fear. The filmmaker’s recent The Visit went a good way towards earning him the benefit of the doubt in regards to the type of horror that makes Tales from the Crypt work, but to fans he’s hardly the answer. The brand is king, not any one creator. It’ll be interesting to see how the network and the filmmaker play to their strengths rather than succumb to the limitations inherent in a less freeing television space.
Without a Crypt Keeper and without a loving embrace of the pulpy horror comics that made the brand so seminal it may be a decent show but not exactly what Tales from the Crypt is built upon. Then again, maybe this is the outlet M. Night Shyamalan has been waiting for to really have some fun.