Tag Archives: horror lists

Horror Heroes: 5 Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Crypt Keeper

I remember quite distinctly the first time an eight-year-old version of myself, had snuck into the hallway of my childhood home upon hearing some hauntingly delightful music blaring from the television well past my bedtime. Being the nosy little fucker I am, I ninja-ed my way out my bedroom door and into our hallway where I peeked around a corner that held a slightly obstructed, yet palatable view of our living room- but most importantly here, the television set. In which I had a great view of in my little corner of secrecy. I spotted my parents snuggled up on our Roseanne-esque sofa, eyes fixed at our beastly Sony TV that sat heavily on the shag carpet where visions of thunder, lightning, an obvious haunted house, and cackling laughter filled the screen. And that’s when I caught my first glimpse of one of THEE most important staples of any ’90s kid’s childhood- The Crypt Keeper.

 

Of course, I wasn’t the greatest sneakster, so I was spotted pretty quickly during the first few minutes of the program. Although, much to my delight and having the coolest dad ever, he invited me to join in to watch alongside and thus begun a Saturday night ritual of tits, gore, and the most awfully awesome puns from the Crypt Keeper that I repeated to friends the following Monday before the school bell rang. Parenting at it’s finest, am I right?! I guess I was pretty lucky to have the sort of father who had no shame in lying to my mother saying he was taking me to the movies to see Lady and the Tramp when what he really meant to say was he was taking his ten-year-old daughter to the cinema to watch The Exorcist III, (and yes, I loved every second of being scared shitless from the articulate Gemini Killer.) Anyway, twenty some odd years later and episodes via Tales From the Crypt remains a beloved staple in my rotation slot, as I’m sure with many of you boils and ghouls as well. On that note, I figured I’d tip my hat to the putrid host with the most and drop a few HAXILERATING fun facts about the gangly little puppet we all fell in love with his first appearance back in 1989.

 

5. Jeepers Keeper, Where’d You Get Those Eyes?

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Yep, if you ever thought to yourself, “Hey self, ole’ Crypty boy’s eyes look a tad familiar,” then you are right about that young padawan.  Infamous creature designer Kevin Yagher used a clear pair of his previous creation’s baby blues’ Chucky, as part of the design for the animatronic Crypt Keeper. Also, much like with the little Lake Shore Strangler, it also took a skilled team of six people to operate the Keeper’s animatronics.

 

5. The Crypt Keeper Actually Has an Origins Story

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In case it has been some time since you’ve revisited the series or perhaps missed this one entirely, season two intentionally gave us a surprise origin story of our favorite undead master of bad puns and shock tales. Episode 14 appropriately titled Lower Berth brings us to Feeley’s Fantastic Fairway of Freaks, where we meet a rather sensitive two-headed mutant corpse named Enoch who has a boner for an ancient mummy named Myrna. Enoch escapes the freak show and the hands of his abusive owner with Myrna and they have an ummm, interesting night in a dank cave before they are discovered a year later and taken back to the carnival prison. That is, however, not before a hellish offspring is birthed by Myrna- the Crypt Keeper. And he’s totally kind of cute! In the post discussion of the story with the Keeper, he states his parents are still at the carnival today, 80 years later. So, I suppose that makes the Keeper 80 years old at the time of the tale.

 

3. There Are Two Versions Out There Of Each Episode

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Robert Zemeckis and fellow producers knew they had syndication gold on their hands, so they wanted to plan ahead for Tales to maybe be eventually broadcast on other stations that weren’t so shall we say, lenient when it comes to sex, language, and gore. and that’s exactly what happened in the Summer of 1994 over at FOX as they picked up the series as part of their late-night programming. The episodes were re-edited with alternate scenes that cut out all the naughty fun stuff, and actors were instructed to loop those hilarious dubs of non-foul language into scenes while shooting. Fuckin’ became friggin’ and so on. It was nice for those who didn’t have a subscription to HBO or if you some serious uptight parents that allowed this version to be seen. There’s always a silver lining.

 

2. The Series Got Reworked As a Game Show

The 90’s were the prime era for kids and weirdly fun game shows. With gems like Legends of the Hidden Temple and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, why not base a kid-friendly game show on a series known for tits and blood?! Although it only lasted one season, Secrets of the Crypt Keeper’s Haunted House came to Universal Orlando and syndicated into CBS Saturday mornings in 1996 featuring John Kassir and his puppet alter ego. Two teams with team names of “scary creatures” of a pair of kiddies competed for the glorious and coveted prize of a brand new Apple computer by answering questions from a giant floating head and successfully completing obstacles such as Fireball Alley and The Swamp From Hell. All while CK is taunting them in the process, because hey, that’s what he does right? Even with just one season under their belt, the program did somehow get nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Game Show category. Of course, that win went to The Price is Right but it’s kind of cool it got some recognition!

 

1. The Crypt Keeper Released a Christmas Album

Tales From the Crypt Christmas

Oh yes, we’re decking the halls with parts of Charlie with this pun-tastic holiday album featuring the Crypt Keeper! Released in 1994 by Warner Bros., the horror holiday affair with the late night ghoul of fright including such national treasure tracks as “We Wish You’d Bury The Missus”, “Twelve Days of Cryptmas”, and the all-important rap song featuring the horror icon! I mean, Freddy had the Fat Boys and Maniac Cop got into the rap game. It only seems appropriate for the king of wordplay to hop on that bandwagon and drop some sick rhymes too!

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: 10 Best Tales From the Series

If you clicked on this little list I’ve put together, then chances are you’re quite familiar with the paperback trilogy of nightmare nostalgia we’re about to dive deep into the rabbit hole with. Also, I’m willing to bet a good portion of you still have these books. In which you most likely bought with your lunch money at your third-grade book fair. I myself, unfortunately, don’t possess a lot of my childhood treasures from my youth due to a nasty fire that demolished a good portion of my materialistic belongings. However, one of the things I managed to hold onto despite disasters, multiple moving vans, and the entrance of adulthood is, of course, all three 1986 Harper Trophy Editions of “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”.

The urban legends that were revised and compiled into an anthology of books by Alvin Schwartz paired with haunting illustrations by Stephen Gammell, were the ultimate trophy on our bookshelves. And an absolute necessity for those Friday night slumber parties or weekend camping trips. Not much has changed, at least in my household anyway, as these books have stood the test of time and continue to encourage reading to now my own two little ones. Just as I would grab one of my books, and read to my own father in his chair when I was a much smaller Patti, I continue with the “Scary Stories” tradition as my kids now read to me. It’s wonderful and refreshing to know that I’m not the only parent who has passed down these nostalgic tales to their spawns and that the trio of books that parents once hated, has overcome the odds and still holds a near and dear place within our hearts.

37 years ago, the first installment of “Scary Stories” was published and is listed as being the seventh most challenged series of books for its violence and surreal, spine-tingling illustrations. Cool huh? Schwartz then followed with two more books, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark in 1984, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones in 1991. In honor of the first books’ 35th anniversary this year, I’ve put together a fun nostalgic list of the 10 best tales from “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” series. This was no easy task thinning a list down to just ten, but I’m pretty satisfied with my final selections. So while we’re all patiently waiting for the highly anticipated Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark documentary to be available for public consumption, let’s celebrate 37 years of real Nightmare Nostalgia.

 

10. “High Beams”

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The tale as old as the ages and that has been told countless times and parodied in film makes number ten. This retelling of the story of a woman who is in very real danger not from who’s following her, but what lurks inside her car is based on a similar story that came out of Waverly, Iowa about a man hiding in the back seat of a woman’s car. She had stopped to get gas, and the attendant noticed the presence of a male figure in the back seat. He did not giver her change, so when she returned to pocket the rest of her money after pumping her gas, the attendant informed her of the situation and called the police.

 

9. “The Wolf Girl”

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This legend that is retold by many cultures throughout (mostly) the Southwest, involves a newly born infant whose mother did not survive childbirth and the baby was nowhere to be found. The father who had made the discovery in the story also took notice of what looked like wolf tracks around the area, so it was assumed the baby had been eaten by wolves. A few years later, people would report sightings of a young girl running around naked with long hair in the company of wolves. Numerous legends of children raised by wild animals or left to fend for themselves have inspired such books as The Jungle Book and Island Of The Blue Dolphins. However, Schwartz’s version is my favorite.

 

8. “Such Things Happen”

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Witches had a pretty bad rep back in the day, and still, in present times, are scoffed at by those who don’t understand. Schwartz based this tale from an American legend where a man is believed to be tormented by a nearby witch and takes it upon himself to try to stop her. According to Schwartz’s notes, “I adapted and expanded this theme to point up the conflict between education and superstition that may arise when an educated person feels like they are out of control.” And the tale he wrote is a pretty great little story.

 

7. “The Drum”

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This odd tale of two beastly children whose selfish wants become an unimaginable consequence is a cautionary tale told to children through the ages to basically behave or you’re getting a goddamn mother with glass eyes and a wooden tail in place of the one you have now. That’s actually pretty terrifying. The tale seems to have originated from England in the nineteenth century and then migrated to the states.

 

6. “Just Delicious”

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This one made me laugh more than most of the featured comedic tales that were often found towards the end of the book. This tale has been revised in many different countries and the theme stays pretty similar. The stories usually involve a man, while Schwartz swaps gender roles in his story, whose family is starving steal a heart or liver from a nearby funeral home to feed his family. Later that night, the ghost would come looking for said missing organ and take the lives of those who consumed it.

5. “Bess”

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As an avid animal lover, this one hurt the feels a tad when I was young. Based on an old European legend originally called “Oleg’s Death”, the story follows the same structure as in this book. The tale of a man who lived in fear of a horse, for it was foretold the horse would cause his death. Presumably, entering the safety zone after the horse falls victim to old age…. LOL. Yeah, not so much buddy.

 

4. “The Red Spot”

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This irked the shit out of anyone who suffers even the mildest cases of arachnophobia. This creepy story derives from the folklore of foreign entities (such as these eight-legged monsters) invading our bodies and setting up residence. Or you know, laying a thousand eggs inside your cheek while you sleep. Stunning.

 

3. “The Haunted House”

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The legend of a young woman’s murder and the preacher who helped put the spirit at rest by locating the murderer is likely one of the most beloved and remembered stories from Schwartz’s trilogy of terrors. It’s definitely among the most unique of tales found within these books as stories of haunted house resemble one another, this one has a bit of a twist whereas the ghost of the young woman is not threatening whatsoever, but a spirit wanting justice. Of course, justice and revenge run rapid throughout “Scary Stories”. However, this one just hits all the right notes.

 

2. “The Thing”

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Lawdy does that picture give me the beautiful skeevies. The tale is based on a folktale out of Nova Scotia in a book called Bluenose Ghosts where “the thing” is an actual warning of ones own impending death.  I’ll take the guy in the robe over that face any day, thank you.

1. “Harold”

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Oh Harold, you silly scarecrow. Don’t you know laying out skin in the sun too long gives it wrinkles? You need to take some notes from Buffalo Bill. Anywho, the walking menace from the cornfields makes numero uno as the tale remains to this very day, the creepiest tale to come out of these books. The story of Harold is retold from a legend that came out of Switzerland and quite honestly, stories about man creating a life and it ultimately becoming something they can’t control is a tale we’ve heard time and again. From Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to the Jewish tale of the Golem, Harold resembles the outline of such said stories as the creature that has been given life ultimately turns on its master. We all love stories of killer dolls. It is for that reason, this tale tops off this list.

What are some of your favorite stories from the books? Comment below and let’s talk nightmare fuel.

Scary Stories Paperback Box Set: The Complete 3-Book Collection