Appearing on HBO between June 10th 1989 and July 19th 1996, Tales from the Crypt was the classic (some might say cult) TV series based on the EC Comics of the same name. The show’s production may have ended in the mid 1990’s but repeats of episodes regularly air today and continue attracting healthy audience figures on, into the 21st century.
Tales from the Crypt featured stories where bad characters would meet their comeuppance in ironic and gruesome ways, often with a twist ending and a dose of dark humour.
The show also had a canny knack of employing some A-List Hollywood names amongst its cast and crew. So long was the line of stars lining up to get involved, you could say the cast and crew lists appear like a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Tinsel-Town during the time.
Major stars involved in some episodes included:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Tom Hanks
- Brad Pitt
- Michael J. Fox
- Demi Moore
- Joe Pesci
- Dan Aykroyd
- Bill Paxton
- Tim Curry
- and many, many, many more.
Not content with appearing in front of the cameras, some of the special guest stars were even handed the reins and directed an episode or two along the way.
The executive producers of Tales from the Crypt included some of the industry’s biggest hitters too, including; Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver, and Robert Zemeckis.
With so many episodes to choose from, it can be hard to decide which ones are worth watching. That’s why we have compiled a list of the best Tales from the Crypt episodes, according to various sources such as Screen Rant, Collider, IMDb and others. These episodes are not ranked in any particular order, but they are all highly rated and recommended by fans and critics alike. Here are some of the best Tales from the Crypt episodes you should watch.
WARNING! This post may contain spoilers.
1. Dig That Cat… He’s Real Gone (Season 1, Episode 3):
This episode is one of the first and most iconic ones of the series. It stars Joe Pantoliano as Ulric, a homeless man who agrees to undergo an experiment that gives him nine lives. He then becomes a carnival attraction, where he performs death-defying stunts for money. However, he soon realizes that he has miscalculated his remaining lives, and faces a fatal mistake. This episode has a clever premise, a great performance by Pantoliano, and a shocking twist that sets the tone for the rest of the series.
2. And All Through the House (Season 1, Episode 2):
This episode is a remake of a segment from the 1972 film Tales from the Crypt, which was also based on the comic book story. It stars Mary Ellen Trainor as a woman who kills her husband on Christmas Eve, only to be terrorized by an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Claus (Larry Drake). The episode is a tense and suspenseful cat-and-mouse game between the two characters, with some darkly comedic moments and a chilling final scene.
3. Yellow (Season 3, Episode 14):
This episode is one of the few serious and dramatic ones of the series, without any supernatural or comedic elements. It stars Kirk Douglas and his son Eric Douglas as General Kalthrob and Lieutenant Kalthrob, two soldiers serving in World War I. The son is accused of cowardice and faces execution by firing squad, ordered by his own father. The episode is a powerful and emotional exploration of family, honour and war, with superb performances by both Douglas actors.
4. The Reluctant Vampire (Season 3, Episode 7):
This episode is one of the most humorous and light-hearted ones of the series. It stars Malcolm McDowell as Donald Longtooth, a kind-hearted vampire who works at a blood bank, where he takes what he needs without harming anyone. However, when the blood supply runs low, he starts killing criminals and other bad people to replenish it. Things get complicated when he attracts the attention of a vampire hunter named Rupert van Helsing (Michael Berryman). The episode is a fun and witty parody of vampire tropes, with McDowell delivering a charming performance as Longtooth.
5. Forever Ambergris (Season 5, Episode 3):
This episode is one of the most gruesome and gory ones of the series. It stars Roger Daltrey as Dalton Scott, a combat photographer who is jealous of his younger and more talented colleague Isaac Forte (Steve Buscemi). He hatches a plan to kill Isaac and take his place, as well as his wife Bobbi (Lysette Anthony). However, his scheme backfires when he exposes himself to a deadly virus that causes his flesh to rot. The episode is a graphic and disturbing tale of karma, with some impressive special effects and makeup.
Hopefully, if you’re already a fan, this blog post will have made you want to revisit the Crypt Keeper and watch some gloriously spine-chilling episodes again. If you haven’t watched Tales from the Crypt before, what are you waiting for? Do it NOW!
Do you have a favourite episode of your own that wasn’t mentioned here? If so, let us know in the comments below.
© Colin Lawson Books