Tag Archives: tales from the crypt

That Random Car In the Title of ‘Tales From the Darkside’

One of my fondest memories from childhood was staying up late and watching the many glorious horror-themed shows late-night TV had to offer us back in the 80’s. My mom was pretty cool about that back then. I was no more than five and I still recall the greats I spent many nights watching. Twilight Zone, The Hitchhiker, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Unsolved Mysteries – just to name a few, and their themes still ring loud and clear in the shadowy halls of my memory.

One thing these spooktacular shows all shared was a riveting opening title accompanied by a haunting score. You all know what I’m talking about. The Twilight Zone sports a pivotal theme that remains timeless to this day. And who can deny the impact Danny Elfman’s immortal theme from Tales From the Crypt had on our generation? Remarkable!

All of that is to bring us to the subject at hand revolving around one of my favorite creepy shows, Tales From the Darkside!

From horror maestro himself, George Romero came this grizzly collection featuring beloved short horror tales from the mind of Clive Barker and other renowned writers of horror, Tales From the Darkside brought scary stories to life in various comeuppance morality tales.

The opening always gave me the chills as a kid. That eery as Hell music playing over visions of lovely fields, a country farmstead, a rippling brook and a covered bridge. Sights that should convey a welcoming sense of warmth and meditation, something the dark mind of Paw Paw Romero intentionally planned just so he could pull the rug out from underneath our feet. The sights change as the title is revealed and all of a sudden the pleasant world we have been introduced to is malformed into a sinister realm of shadows and dread, just like the genuine dark world which awaits behind the placid world we live in. Darkness is always just only one bad day away.

Right before the title shows, and I mean like a second or so before, we see in the bottom left corner a car that gets swallowed up in the Darkside. It never was anything I gave much of a thought to until an ex of mine mentioned the car was a blooper. Like it was a mistake and wasn’t supposed to be caught on film. Like while the studio was filming the opening shots some random car photobombed the process.

Funny, because I never once got that impression. I told her that too and explained how I always assumed the car was meant to be there. As if whatever family was in that car had just suddenly been sucked into the void. The idea startled her, because that’s how Hell works, right? One moment you’re out enjoying a lovely drive out in the countryside and the next the Darkside consumes you, your day, and possibly you’re entire life.

A flat tire lands you stranded in the middle of the shadowy woods where you can hear a distant banjo playing.

You’re out by yourself hoping to get some sun by the lake when local rapists come zooming by with oogly eyes all over your body.

The Wolfman Cometh
image via The Wolfman Cometh

You get a puzzle box and suddenly awaken the wonders of Hell.

You have a nightmare that lures the dream demon to your helpless state of mind.

That’s what horror has always been about! The normal and everyday world being consumed by the Darkside. That little car in the opening credits epitomizes what we love about horror. I don’t know who was in that car – and that’s part of the charm, it could be anyone of us in it – but I thank them for providing such a wonderful (but underrated) visual for us.

Ok my Nasties, this has been your good pal, Manic Exorcism once again. I’ll be back later to over-analyze even more things no one in their right mind would give a second thought to. But hey, that’s what we do here.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment below? Was it a simple photobomb, or perhaps there was something more sinister afoot?

 

 

 

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?

chucky

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

lower berth

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

crpt keeper director

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!

Valentine’s Day Poetic Justice with Peter Cushing

Happy Valentine’s Day, my lovelies!

We here at Nightmare Nostalgia truly hope you have a bloody good one today! But we know why you’re here. Wherever you find yourself right now: out to eat, on your way home (or tonight’s big date) or whether you’re a single heart with a party of one you have still found yourself here with us in our happy little private asylum of dark wonders.  So huddle up close and join the Nightmare cast on the most romantic day of the year! And oh boy, does your ol’ buddy Manic have a sticky good treat for you all tonight!

Firstly, holiday horror movies are all the rage during the festive times. We have so many to choose from, and although it sometimes feels as if both Halloween (obviously) and Christmas hog all the spotlight we do in fact have some dark little delicacies to pick from every February 14th! Oh I know many will naturally go to the timeless classic My Bloody Valentine – as rightly you should – but today I want to focus on a little lesser known Valentine’s Day atrocity brought to us by the one and the only, the late great Peter Cushing!

giphy
image via giphy

He and Christopher Lee are my two favorite actors of all time! More than once this dastardly duo starred in some of the greatest horror classics of the ages. Anytime the two appeared in a monster classic you could bet it was going to be grander than life itself!

Today Peter Cushing is best known by modern audiences as the cold-blooded Grand Moff Tarkin of Star Wars, a man who gives orders to annihilate entire planets, snuffing out life, erasing cultures and extinguishing entire histories.

vulture
image via vulture

To me, he will always be revered as Baron Frankenstein, who was not above murder to obtain specimens to further his heinous crimes against Life. However, when he wasn’t building monster he was fighting them as the heroic Dr. Van Helsing, a man who was a superhero long before Marvel pooped out their products over-abundantly nearly every month – and his Van Helsing was more kick-ass than the Avengers combined. Dracula ran from him!

A long while ago there was a Tales From the Crypt movie that worked as an anthology horror film, much like Creepshow. This film featured several segments of the comeuppance of some very unpleasant fellows who get to revisit their ungodly crimes right before they are dropped into the flaming horrors of Hell.

YouTube
image via YouTube

One such segment is Poetic Justice. In it, we see our dear Peter Cushing who is a loving man who behaves like the local Santa of sorts. The noble widower finds discarded things among the rubble and makes toys out of their otherwise abandoned parts, giving new life and plenty of joy to the neighboring children. However, hateful eyes are turned against the dear old man and spitefully he is attacked and bullied until he no longer can take it.

The Spooky Isles
image via The Spooky Isles

It’s interesting because I first saw this movie back when I was a kid and had no earthly business watching such gruesome spectacles at such an early age – but I’d not trade it for the world! I couldn’t have been older than five, and this episode of the movie always stood out to me. So much so that I thought it was a nightmare I had dreamt up because anytime I inquired about it, no one knew what I was talking about. Then last year I picked up a VHS copy of Tales From the Crypt and to my surprise HERE IT WAS! Exactly as I remembered it.

So here you go, lovelies! From Manic with Love! Awwww.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and remember it NEVER pays to be heartless to others.

Hehehehe……

Tales From The Crypt / Vault Of Horror [Blu-ray]