Tales from the Crypt (comics)
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|Tales from the Crypt|
Cover to Tales from the Crypt #24.
Art by Al Feldstein.
|Publication date||October/November 1950 - February/March 1955|
|Number of issues||27|
Tales from the Crypt was a bi-monthly horror comic anthology series published by EC Comics from 1950–1955, producing a total of 27 issues. Along with its sister titles, The Haunt of Fear and The Vault of Horror, Tales From the Crypt was popular, but in the late 1940s and early 1950s comic books came under attack from parents, clergymen, schoolteachers and others who believed the books contributed to illiteracy and juvenile delinquency. In April and June 1954, highly publicized Congressional subcommittee hearings on the effects of comic books upon children left the industry shaken. With the subsequent imposition of a highly restrictive Comics Code, EC Comics publisher Bill Gaines canceled Tales from the Crypt and its two companion horror titles, along with the company's remaining crime and science fiction series in September 1954. All EC titles have been reprinted at various times since their demise, and stories from the horror series have been adapted for television and film.
Horror comics emerged as a distinct comic book genre after World War II when young adult males lost interest in caped crimebusters, and returning GIs wanted titillating sex and violence in their reading. One-shot Eerie Comics (1947) is generally considered the first true horror comic, with its cover depicting a dagger-wielding, red eyed ghoul threatening a rope-bound, scantily clad, voluptuous young woman beneath a full moon. In 1948, Adventures Into the Unknown became the first regularly published horror title, enjoying a nearly two decade life-span.
In 1950, EC publisher Gaines and his editor Al Feldstein discovered they shared similar tastes in horror and began experimenting with horror tales in their crime titles. Tales from the Crypt traces its origin to a Feldstein story, "Return from the Grave!", in EC's Crime Patrol (#15, December 1949/January 1950) with the Crypt-Keeper making his debut as host. Issue #16 featured more horror tales than crime stories, and, with issue #17, the title changed from Crime Patrol to The Crypt of Terror. Due to an attempt to save money on second-class postage permits, the numbering did not change with the title and continued as The Crypt of Terror for the next two issues.
Tales from the Crypt debuted with issue #20 (Oct./Nov. 1950), producing a total of 27 issues (excluding the initial three issues, #17-19, published as The Crypt of Terror), before ceasing publication with its Feb./March 1955 issue (#46).
Early front covers were created by Feldstein, Johnny Craig and Wally Wood, with the remaining covers (1952–55) by Jack Davis. The contributing interior artists were Craig, Feldstein, Wood, Davis, George Evans, Jack Kamen, Graham Ingels, Harvey Kurtzman, Al Williamson, Joe Orlando, Reed Crandall, Bernard Krigstein, Will Elder, Fred Peters and Howard Larsen. Jack Davis took over the art for the Crypt-Keeper stories with (#24, June/July, 1951), and continued as the title's lead artist for the rest of the run. Feldstein devised the Crypt-Keeper's origin story "Lower Berth!" (#33) which was illustrated by Davis. Issue #38 was one of two covers from EC's horror comics censored prior to publication. While The Vault of Horror cover for issue #32 was restored in Russ Cochran's EC Library reprints, the Tales from the Crypt cover remained censored. "Kamen's Kalamity" (#31) starred many members of the EC staff, including Gaines, Feldstein and the story's artist, Kamen. Ingels, Davis and Craig also made cameo appearances in the story in single panels which they drew themselves.
Influences and adaptations
As with the other EC comics edited by Feldstein, the stories in this comic were primarily based on Gaines reading a large number of horror stories and using them to develop "springboards" from which he and Feldstein could launch new stories. Specific story influences that have been identified include the following:
- "Death Must Come" (issue 17) - Ralph Murphy's The Man in Half Moon Street
- "The Maestro's Hand" (issue 18) - Robert Florey's The Beast with Five Fingers
- "The Thing from the Sea" (issue 20) - F. Marion Crawford's "The Upper Berth"
- "Rx Death" (issue 20) - Arthur Machen's "The Novel of the White Powder"
- "Reflection of Death" (issue 23) - H. P. Lovecraft's "The Outsider"
- "The Living Death" (issue 24) - Edgar Allan Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"
- "Judy, You're Not Yourself Tonight" (issue 25) - H. P. Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep"
- "Loved to Death" (issue 25) - John Collier's "The Chaser"
- "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" (issue 34) - H. P. Lovecraft's "The Outsider"
- "Last Laugh" (issue 38) - David H. Keller's "The Doorbell"
- "Shadow of Death" (issue 39) - Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr
After their unauthorized adaptation of one of Ray Bradbury's stories in another magazine, Bradbury contacted EC about their plagiarism of his work. They reached an agreement for EC to do authorized versions of Bradbury's short fiction. These official adaptations include:
- "There Was an Old Woman" (issue 34)
- "The Handler" (issue 36)
Although EC's horror stable consisted of three separate magazines, there was little beyond their titles to distinguish them. Each magazine had its titular host, but the hosting duties for any one issue were typically shared with the hosts of the other two. Thus, a single issue of Tales from the Crypt would contain two stories told by the Crypt-Keeper, one by the Vault-Keeper (of The Vault of Horror) and one by the Old Witch (of The Haunt of Fear). The professional rivalry among these three GhouLunatics was often played for comic effect.
The Crypt-Keeper was the primary host of Tales from the Crypt. He was introduced to the public in Crime Patrol #15, and he continued with that magazine through its changes in title and format. He was a frightening presence in those early issues, a sinister hermit sitting framed in the lightless crypt's half-open door, his face all but hidden by the double curtain of his long white hair. But he soon evolved into a more comedic horror host, delivering an irreverent and pun-filled commentary to lighten the horrific tone of the stories he introduced.
The Crypt-Keeper's duties were not limited to hosting. He would occasionally appear as a character as well, and these appearances give the reader a glimpse of his biography. "The Lower Berth" (Tales from the Crypt #33) gives an account of the circumstances surrounding his birth. "While the Cat's Away" (The Vault of Horror #34) conducts a tour of his house above and below ground. "Horror beneath the Streets" (The Haunt of Fear #17) tells how he and his fellow GhouLunatics got their EC publishing contracts.
The Crypt-Keeper also served as the host of EC's 3-D comic book, Three Dimensional Tales from the Crypt of Terror.
In 1954, Gaines and Feldstein intended to add a fourth book to their horror publications by reactivating an earlier title, The Crypt of Terror. They were stopped dead in their tracks, however. Following the publication of Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent , horror and other violent comics had come under scrutiny by parents, schoolteachers, clergymen, psychologists, and others who viewed the material as dangerous to the well-being of children and a significant contributor to the juvenile delinquency crisis in America. Matters came to a head in April and June 1954 with a highly publicized Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Hearings targeted violent comic books—which fared poorly in the proceedings. While the committee stopped short of blaming the comics industry for juvenile delinquency, they did suggest it tone down the product. Publishers were left reeling.
The industry deftly avoided outside censorship by creating the self-regulatory Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA) and a Comics Code Authority (CCA) that placed severe restrictions on violent comic book genres. Publishers were forbidden from using the words "terror" and "horror" in titles, for example, and forbidden from depicting zombies, werewolves, and other gruesome characters and outrè horror fiction trappings. Gaines was fed up; he believed his titles were being specifically targeted and realized they were doomed to future failure. He threw in the towel, canceling Tales from the Crypt and its companion titles in September 1954. Since an issue of The Crypt of Terror had already been produced, it was published as the final issue of Tales from the Crypt, February/March, 1955.
Tales from the Crypt has been reprinted on numerous occasions. Ballantine Books reprinted selected Crypt stories in a series of paperback EC anthologies in 1964-66. The magazine was fully collected in a series of five black-and-white hardbacks by publisher Russ Cochran as part of The Complete EC Library in 1979. Cochran (in association with Gladstone Publishing and solo) reprinted a handful of single color issues in 1990/91. Between September 1992 and December 1999, Cochran and Gemstone Publishing reprinted the full 30 individual issues. This complete run was later rebound, with covers included, in a series of six softcover EC Annuals. In 2007, Cochran and Gemstone began to publish hardcover, re-colored volumes of Tales from the Crypt as part of the EC Archives series. Three volumes (of a projected five) were published before Gemstone's financial troubles left the project in limbo. But the project may soon be revived under a new publisher. GC Press LLC, a boutique imprint established by Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman, announced in a press release dated September 1, 2011 that it is continuing the EC Archives series, with the first new releases scheduled for November 2011.
The 1972 film from Amicus Productions features five stories from various EC comics. "Reflection of Death" (#23) and "Blind Alleys" (#46) were adapted for the film, the others were adapted from Haunt of Fear and Vault of Horror. A second Amicus film, The Vault of Horror, also used stories from Tales from the Crypt and Shock SuspenStories (despite its title, it didn't use any stories published in the *Vault of Horror* comic). A homage film entitled Creepshow followed, paying tribute to the tone, look, and feel of Tales from the Crypt and other EC comics, without directly adapting any of the stories.
In 1989, the book was adapted into the HBO TV series Tales from the Crypt, which features John Kassir as the Cryptkeeper and included comic book covers designed to look like the original 1950s covers by Mike Vosburg with at least one drawn by Shawn McManus.
The following tales were used in HBO's Tales From The Crypt television series: "The Man Who Was Death" (issue #17), "Mute Witness to Murder" (#18), "Fatal Caper" (#20), "The Thing From The Grave" (#22), "Last Respects" (#23), "Judy, You're Not Yourself Today" (#25), "Loved to Death" (#25), "Well Cooked Hams" (#27), "The Ventriloquist's Dummy" (#28), "Korman's Kalamity" (re-titling of "Kamen's Calamity", issue #31), "Cutting Cards" (#32), "Lower Berth" (#33), "None But The Lonely Heart" (#33), "Oil's Well That Ends Well" (#34), "Curiosity Killed" (#36), "Only Skin Deep" (#38), "Mournin' Mess" (#38), "Undertaking Palor" (#39), "Food For Thought" (#40), "Operation Friendship" (#41), "Cold War" (#43), "Forever Ambergris" (#44), "The Switch" (#45) and "Blind Alleys" (#46). Other episodes were based on the two sister comics as well as Crime SuspenStories and Shock SuspenStories. At least one episode was even based on Two-Fisted Tales (another EC Comic).
In 1993, Tales from the Crypt was adapted into a Saturday morning cartoon series entitled Tales from the Cryptkeeper, based on the series (albeit with none of the violence or other questionable content that was in the original series), with Kassir as the Cryptkeeper again; it ran from September 18, 1993 to December 6, 1997. None of the episodes were based on the comics, or the HBO show; they were all original stories.
In 1996, another adaptation (a Saturday morning game show) called Secrets of the Cryptkeeper's Haunted House ran from September 14 to August 1997, with Kassir once again in the role of the Cryptkeeper as announcer.
Two films by Universal Studios, Demon Knight (1995) and Bordello of Blood (1996), were based on the series, neither of which was particularly successful. A third film, Ritual, was slated for theatrical release in 2001, but was only distributed internationally (without the Tales from the Crypt connection) until 2006 when it was released on DVD in the United States, with the Cryptkeeper bits restored. Unlike the 1970s-era Amicus films, these three films were not based on stories from any of the EC comics.
In 2007, Papercutz, an independent comics publisher managed by former Marvel Comics editor Jim Salicrup, began running a new series of original Tales from the Crypt comics. The new version was announced at the year's New York Comic Con. The first issue was published in June 2007, with a cover drawn by Kyle Baker. All three of EC Comics' horror hosts (The GhouLunatics) appear in the issue, drawn by Rick Parker (artist of Marvel/MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head Comic Book). Contributors to subsequent issues have included well-known horror talents Joe R. Lansdale and his brother John L. Lansdale, Don McGregor, husband and wife team James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, Mort Todd, and Chris Noeth. The new version has a smaller digest size with a graphic novel style book binding. Controversy erupted in 2008 when Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was featured on a cover attacking the horror hosts with a hockey stick, published with a letter from William Gaines' daughter Cathy Gaines Mifsud commenting on censorship.
|#||Date||Cover artist||Story||Story artist||Host||Summary|
|17||April/May 1950||Johnny Craig||Death Must Come!||Al Feldstein||Crypt-Keeper||
Freddy has managed to cheat death for many decades by having his old friend, a surgeon, perform transplants on him to replace his organs with those from a younger man. But he has to steal them from corpses, and now he's finding he has less and less time before he needs another operation.
|The Man Who Was Death||Bill Fraccio||None||
A public executioner decides to take the law into his own hands.
|The Corpse Nobody Knew||George Roussos||None||
A private detective finds himself with a new case to solve when he and his wife rent a hotel room and find an unidentifiable body hidden inside it.
|Curse Of The Full Moon!||Johnny Craig||None||
Convinced that he became a werewolf after a mysterious incident during a trip to Europe, Ralph goes to visit his old friend George for help. But with the full moon rising, he's closer to the truth than he knows.
|18||June/July 1950||Johnny Craig||The Maestro's Hand!||Al Feldstein||Crypt-Keeper||
A surgeon, furious that his fiancee has left him to marry an artistically gifted man, decides to take his revenge by cutting off his love rival's hand. The artist commits suicide, but the severed hand appears to have taken on a life of its own.
|The Living Corpse||Wally Wood||None||
A morgue attendant begins having visions of death which he links to the "Living Corpse"-a performance artist who feigns death during his act.
|Madness At Manderville||Harvey Kurtzman||None||
Marian Mander is convinced she is going insane when she begins to see and hear strange things after her son's death. Her husband is worried about her, but how deep is his own involvement?
|Mute Witness To Murder!||Johnny Craig||None||
A woman becomes mute with shock after witnessing the local doctor murdering his wife. He commits the witness to an insane asylum, but then decides he must kill her before she regains her voice.
|19||Aug/Sept 1950||Johnny Craig||Ghost Ship!||Al Feldstein||Crypt-Keeper||
A couple whose plane went down over the Bermuda Triangle are trapped on a lifeboat in the middle of the sea. They think they're in luck when they come across a ship; until they find a skeleton tied to the helm.
|The Hungry Grave||Graham Ingels||None||
Ida and Jim are plotting to murder Ida's stingy, drunken husband so they can be together. He proves a little harder to kill than they'd like.
|Cave Man||Johnny Craig||None||
The young sub-curator of a museum is angry that his own invention is being ignored in favour of a new exhibit: the body of a Neanderthal encased in ice. The enraged man decides to get even by thawing out the body and leaving it to decompose in the sun, but doesn't think to check that the "caveman" is really dead.
Daniel Richards is staying in Haiti with his wealthy plantation-owning friend. He ignores instructions not to spy on a native voodoo ritual, but then notices something very interesting about the photo he took of the event.
|20||Oct/Nov 1950||Johnny Craig||The Thing From The Sea!||Al Feldstein||Crypt-Keeper||
You are a man on a sea crossing, forced to take a cabin that is supposedly cursed: everyone who slept in it has either gone crazy or mysteriously left the ship.
|A Fatal Caper!||Jack Kamen||None||
Four wealthy, arrogant college students come to bitterly regret playing around with a book of voodoo spells.
|Rx... Death!||Graham Ingels||None||
Janet is worried that her workaholic brother is ruining his health, so she calls in the family doctor to give him a reviving tonic. When he begins going through a monstrous transformation, it's a race against time to find out what was in the tonic.
|Impending Doom!||Johnny Craig||None||
Theodore Warren goes into a trance and draws the face of a terrified-looking man. He's shocked, but not as much as when he meets the man in real life - a man who's carving Warren's own name into a tombstone.
|21||Dec/Jan 1951||Al Feldstein||A Shocking Way To Die!||Al Feldstein||Crypt-Keeper||
A prisoner on death row is visited by a professor who claims to be able to revive him after his death. The prisoner is executed in the electric chair, and the professor brings him back to life. He shoots the professor and goes to take his revenge on the judge who sentenced him to death, but finds that maybe he shouldn't have been quite so hasty ...
|Terror Ride!||Wally Wood||None||
A couple on their honeymoon come across a deserted funfair. Only one ride is open, and as they discover, the owner is a little too obsessed with making sure that his "dummies" look perfectly real.
|House Of Horror||Harvey Kurtzman||None||
A fraternity boy is determined to terrify the new pledges going through a hazing ritual, and makes them go to the top floor of an old house rumoured to be haunted. He gets his comeuppance when the boys disappear and he is sent to find them.
|Death Suited Him!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Larry kills his love rival, John, and as a parting shot is determined to marry John's wife wearing the same tuxedo that John wore at the wedding. Unfortunately, this is what John was buried in, and now Larry has to dig up the body to retrieve it.
|22||Feb/March 1951||Al Feldstein||The Thing From The Grave!||Al Feldstein||Crypt Keeper||
Bill is in love with Laura, but Laura loves only Jim. Bill kills Jim and decides he must kill Laura because she knows about the murder. What Bill doesn't know is that when Jim promised to always protect Laura, he really meant it.
|Blood Type "V"!||Graham Ingels||None||
Jean and her lover Freddie are involved in a car accident. Jean needs a blood transfusion but no one at the scene is a match, until a mysterious stranger appears and volunteers his help. Shortly afterwards, bodies begin turning up in town, drained of their blood ...
|Death's Turn!||Jack Kamen||Old Witch||
The owners of a failing amusement park find themselves in luck when a newcomer agrees to sell them the rights to an amazing new rollercoaster. They decide to save on further costs by not testing the ride for safety, but then when it opens, they're offered the first turn on the new attraction.
|The Curse Of The Arnold Clan!||Johnny Craig||Vault Keeper||
Robert needs a fancy dress costume for a New Year party, and goes to the attic. He discovers there's a curse on his family which means that anyone who uses the old Arnold musket and powder-horn dies at New Year. Robert's confident that curses don't exist, until he takes the items to complete his costume.
|23||April/May 1951||Al Feldstein||Reflection Of Death!||Al Feldstein||Crypt Keeper||
You and your friend Carl are on a long drive. Carl, the driver, falls asleep at the wheel and crashes the car. You wake up, glad to have survived. But why does everyone you meet run away from you?
|Last Respects!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Tony decides to pay his "last respects" to his newly deceased wife, but finds himself trapped in the crypt with her body. He's forced to turn to a shocking method of survival.
|Seance!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A man skeptical about the supernatural is talked into attending a seance. He's sure he can trick the medium into proving herself a fake by asking her to channel the spirit of his wife, who's still alive. Or is she?
|Voodoo Death!||Johnny Craig||Vault Keeper|
|24||June/July 1951||Al Feldstein||Bats In My Belfry!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Harry loses his hearing and with it his job and his wife. An old friend points him in the direction of a man who may be able to help by giving Harry a hearing transplant from a bat.
|The Living Death!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Two old friends are doctors who can't agree whether illness is physical or just in the mind. When one of them is close to death, the other is convinced he can save his old friend through hypnosis - a technique so successful it keeps the patient's heart beating even after his death.
|Midnight Snack!||Johnny Craig||Vault Keeper||
Duncan falls asleep while reading a horror story about a ghoul, and when he wakes up, he finds he has a strange new taste in food ...
|Scared To Death!||Wally Wood||Crypt Keeper||
Ralph wants to give his fragile, sickly wife such a fright that it will cause her fatal heart failure, and he can inherit her money, the money she gained when they murdered her wealthy old uncle together. He decides that making her uncle "reappear" will be just the shock to kill her, not knowing that the corpse is already ahead of him.
|25||Aug/Sept 1951||Al Feldstein||The Trophy!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A man who loves to collect hunting "trophies" discovers that it's not just animals who can be hunted.
|Judy, You're Not Yourself Today!||Wally Wood||Vault Keeper||
A housewife is terrorized by an evil old witch who switches their bodies, leaving the witch alone with the woman's husband.
|Loved To Death!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Eddie is madly in love with a woman who doesn't return his affections. He meets a mysterious stranger claiming to be an alchemist, who gives Eddie a potion to make the woman fall madly in love with him. The stranger says Eddie will soon be back for the antidote, and Eddie laughs, but soon finds out he should have listened.
|The Works... In Wax!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Henri Mataud is the proprietor of a wax museum devoted to figurines of famous murderers. He becomes fed up with his wife "ruining" the exhibits by relieving them of their heavy weapons and awkward poses, so he decides to stop her for good, without realizing just how much the figures appreciated her efforts.
|26||Oct/Nov 1951||Wally Wood||Drawn And Quartered!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
An artist who has been conned out of money goes to a voodoo practitioner in the hope of revenge.
|The Borrowed Body!||Howard Larsen||Vault Keeper||
Sandra and her lover Fred arrange to kill Sandra's husband, but at the same time as she is murdering her husband, Fred is hit by a truck and dies. When Sandra's husband wakes up in Fred's body, he has only one thing on his mind.
|Indian Burial Mound||George Roussos||Crypt Keeper||
A man buys a farm which he plans to turn into a flying school, ignoring the old farmhand's instruction not to bulldoze the Native American burial plot on the site.
|Political Pull!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A corrupt politician poisons his rival so he can become the town mayor. His actions quite literally come back to haunt him.
|27||Dec/Jan 1952||Wally Wood||Well-Cooked Hams!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Two entrepreneurs want to pay off a French stage magician to perform his wondrous magic tricks on stage in the USA. He refuses, so they kill him and steal his manuscript with the intention of staging his horrific "illusions" themselves. There's just one important detail he left out of the script.
|Madam Bluebeard||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
A woman whose husbands have all died in mysterious circumstances gets more than she bargained for when she goes to lay flowers at the grave sites.
|Return!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Myra is devastated after her husband takes off on an unexpected business trip and never comes back. His business partner returns without him, and Myra discovers that maybe her husband isn't quite who she thought he was.
|Horror! Head... It Off!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
During the French Revolution, a corrupt duke makes money by taking bribes to save condemned aristocrats from the guillotine, and then turning them in to the authorities. But if a chicken can survive without its head, why can't a human?
|28||Feb/March 1952||Al Feldstein||Bargain In Death!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Two medical students who are planning to rob a grave so they can save on expenses for their dissection project cross paths with a pair of conmen trying to fake a death.
|Ants In Her Trance!||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
A hypnotist's act includes reducing his wife to a near-death state by using his powers to slow her heart. He decides to use this to kill her so he can marry his new girlfriend; but forgets that there is also a command to revive her.
|A-Corny Story||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Arnold takes over his father's business and fires a loyal employee for being too old. The man returns to his native Haiti and sends Arnold a present: a sapling from a magical tree that prevents old age. It works just a bit too well.
|The Ventriloquist's Dummy!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A seaside resort owner tries to convince his old friend, a once-famous ventriloquist, to come out of retirement and perform there. The dummy is less keen to take part in the act.
|29||April/May 1952||Jack Davis||Grounds... For Horror!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A child whose abusive stepfather keeps locking him in the closet appears to have found an imaginary "friend." He tells his mother that someone really lives inside the closet, someone who wants to punish his stepfather.
|A Rottin' Trick!||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
Clint is on the run and asks an old "friend" to help him escape by boat - a friend whose lover he seduced, crippled in an accident, and then abandoned. The friend agrees to help Clint, but Clint didn't specify exactly where he wanted to be taken.
|Board To Death!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Myrna has a phobia of being buried alive. Now, her worst fear has come true. Can she escape from the coffin before her oxygen runs out?
|A Sucker For A Spider!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A greedy businessman who loves spiders uses one of his pets to kill a business associate who was about to expose his embezzlement. On a trip abroad, he finds himself closer to his fanged friends than he could ever have imagined.
|30||June/July 1952||Jack Davis||Gas-tly Prospects!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A prospector returns from the dead to take revenge on a rival who murdered him to steal his gold.
|A Hollywood Ending!||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
A film producer travels to the Arctic on location and falls in love with a beautiful young girl he meets there. He wants her to come to Hollywood with him and become a star. The girl's guardian angrily opposes this, and the producer convinces her to run away with him anyway. But once they arrive he discovers a very good reason why she should have stayed at home.
|Auntie, It's Coal Inside!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Seven-year-old Toby lives with his abusive aunt, who beats him for stealing coal from the shed. She eventually decides to put a lock on the coal-bin to keep him out, which backfires when she becomes trapped there herself.
|Mournin', Ambrose...||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Andrew goes to stay with his wealthy uncle Ambrose, whose other heirs have all mysteriously died after coming to live at Ambrose's mansion. Ambrose seems like a kindly old man but his wife warns Andrew that something far more sinister is afoot.
|31||Aug/Sept 1952||Jack Davis||Survival... Or Death!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
The owners of a cargo vessel build a complicated rat trap to catch rodents on their ship, resulting in a device that traps the rats and forces them to kill each other for survival. Luckily, humans are more advanced than this - or so the men think, until their own boat begins to sink.
|The Thing In The 'Glades!||Al Williamson||Vault Keeper||
A sheriff investigates a series of strange murders in the Everglades. The bodies have been completely ripped apart, but he knows the killings are the work of no ordinary creature ...
|Kamen's Kalamity!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Jack Kamen gets his own taste of fear when he joins the staff at Tales From the Crypt and has to start illustrating horror stories instead of romances.
|Buried Treasure!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Villagers take revenge on a greedy feudal duke who tortures his subjects to feed his love of jewels.
|32||Oct/Nov 1952||Jack Davis||Tain't The Meat... It's The Humanity!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
During World War II, a butcher decides to make money on the black market by selling rotted horse meat as steak, with horrific consequences when townspeople start falling sick because of it.
|Roped In!||George Evans||Vault Keeper||
A group of men frame their business partner to cover their own misdeeds, but soon find themselves trapped in a "web" of more than just false evidence.
|Cutting Cards!||Fred Peters||Crypt Keeper||
Two obsessive gamblers face off in a "game" to the death.
|Squash... Anyone?||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A circus elephant trainer decides to use his act as a cover to kill his wife so he can marry his new girlfriend. He's not counting on his wife, or the elephant, making a reappearance in the ring - even after they're dead.
|33||Dec/Jan 1953||Jack Davis||Lower Berth!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
The Crypt Keeper recounts his own origins, born to a 4000-year-old Egyptian mummy and a dead sideshow freak with two heads.
|This Trick'll Kill You!||Jack Kamen & George Evans||Vault Keeper||
A greedy couple in India kill a young peasant girl who refuses to tell them the secret of her magic rope trick. They're sure they can work out how to perform it themselves and make their fortune, but didn't listen to her warnings that the rope will take orders from no one but her.
|The Funeral||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A spoiled young prince loves his elderly nursemaid. When she dies suddenly, the king and queen promise to hold a splendid state funeral for her. The boy is looking forward to the event, until he discovers the old woman isn't dead at all, and decides to take matters into his own hands.
|None But The Lonely Heart!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A conman who seduces elderly women so he can kill them and inherit their money meets his match in a new conquest.
|34||Feb/March 1953||Jack Davis||Mirror, Mirror On The Wall!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
You are the protagonist in a story where you take the place of Frankenstein's monster.
|Oil's Well That Ends Well!||George Evans||Vault Keeper||
Conmen try to scam a town into believing there is oil buried underneath an old cemetery.
|Attacks Of Horror!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A selfish king forces his subjects to pay all kinds of exorbitant taxes to make him rich, until he demands that people lose body parts if they can't pay. Then his subjects come to claim his own unpaid tax contribution ...
|There Was An Old Woman!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A mortician's elderly aunt is very particular about how she wants an embalming to be performed in her house. Namely, the embalming of her own body.
|35||April/May 1953||Jack Davis||By The Fright Of The Silvery Moon!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
In the early 1900s, a Hungarian immigrant family is blamed for a series of werewolf attacks in town.
|Midnight Mess!||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
A man pays a visit to his sister in a deserted town besieged by vampires, but why does no one come out before dark and what does the local restaurant have to do with it?
|Busted Marriage!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A playboy uses bride and groom voodoo dolls to make a rich, elderly woman marry him so he can get his hands on her money. When he meets a new girlfriend, he uses the dolls to kill his wife, unaware that the doll still holds power even after the death of the real bride.
|This Wraps It Up!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
Explorers uncovering the tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh don't believe in the reported curse of the mummy that lies inside the tomb, until they decide to steal the pharaoh's treasures for themselves.
|36||June/July 1953||Jack Davis||Fare Tonight, Followed By Increasing Clottyness...||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A you-are-the-protagonist story. As a taxi driver working in a town where a series of recent murders have been attributed to vampires, you become suspicious of a passenger who seems to know a few too many details about the deaths.
|Curiosity Killed...||George Evans||Vault Keeper||
A shrewish housewife investigates when, after her friend suddenly goes on a long trip without warning, the friend's husband takes up a new interest in carrier pigeons.
|How Green Was My Alley||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A bigamist has been living with two separate wives, one of whom loves bowling and the other loves to play golf. They discover this ruse when they meet in a hotel where their respective tournaments are being held; and decide to take their revenge in a most sporting fashion.
|The Handler||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A vengeful old mortician loves to desecrate the corpses he buries. But one of them turns out to be not so dead, and calls on the others for help ...
|37||Aug/Sept 1953||Jack Davis||Dead Right!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A doctor goes to extreme lengths to convince a colleague of his medical theories about death.
|Pleasant Screams!||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
You are a man caught in an endless nightmare: attacked by werewolves, vampires and zombies, buried alive, and more. Can you work out why you're here and find a way out of this torment?
|Strop! You're Killing Me!||Bill Elder||Crypt Keeper||
An arrogant young man takes over a small-town fire department. He decides to kill the only other town fireman, an old man who refuses to retire. The old man isn't so eager to give up his job.
|The Rover Boys||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A doctor swears vengeance when he is disbarred from practicing. He imprisons the committee members and transplants their brains into dogs, using the animals to make him rich as a sideshow performer. However, their survival instinct is stronger than he thought.
|38||Oct/Nov 1953||Jack Davis||Tight Grip!||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A swindler marries a wealthy woman for her money and then kills her, disposing of her body in the faithful old trunk that she carries while travelling. The trunk is determined not to let him get away with the murder.
|...Only Skin Deep!||Reed Crandall||Vault Keeper||
A man falls in love with a woman he met at a masquerade ball, despite never having seen her real face. They agree to unmask each other on their wedding night but the groom may not be so keen on what he finds under the mask.
|Last Laugh!||Bill Elder||Crypt Keeper||
A practical joker visits the doctor for aches and pains caused by constant laughing, little knowing that the doctor was the victim in a prank that went fatally wrong.
|Mournin' Mess||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A reporter investigates a series of deaths of homeless people, which he believes are linked to a mysterious charity in aid of street-dwellers.
|39||Dec/Jan 1954||Jack Davis||Undertaking Palor||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Children overhear a plot between the local doctor and undertaker to make money by poisoning the wealthiest people in town and then charging their families for elaborate funerals. When their latest victim turns out to be the father of one of the boys, the children devise a little scheme of their own.
|The Craving Grave||Joe Orlando||Vault Keeper||
A lonely grave is filled with the body of an equally lonely woman who was murdered by her niece and nephew. She returns from the grave, which doesn't want to let her go, but she repays it by filling it with two new corpses.
|The Sleeping Beauty!||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A macabre twist on the tale of Sleeping Beauty.
|Shadow Of Death||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
An elderly, paraplegic newspaper seller loses his livelihood when a rival takes over his pitch. He isn't able to physically do anything to stop this but his shadow has no such limitations.
|40||Feb/March 1954||Jack Davis||Food For Thought||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Carla is terrorized by her husband, a sadistic sideshow freak with the power of telepathy. He learns that she is having an affair and settles on a plan to kill her lover, using a series of local murders as a cover. But Carla finds a way to settle the score - and whoever or whatever committed the murders is still on the loose.
|Pearly To Dead||George Evans||Vault Keeper||
A diver kills his rival in order to mine an area of abnormally large pearls for himself, but finds a surprise waiting for him down in the depths.
|Prairie Schooner||Bernie Krigstein||Crypt Keeper||
Ezra, an old sea captain, moves in with his sister Mildred. He goes insane, having the house remodelled to look like the inside of his ship, and treating Mildred as a slave. But when the exertion gives her a fatal heart attack, Ezra finds himself all at sea.
|Half-Baked!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
The proprietor of a seafood restaurant, who loves to torture the lobsters he serves, finds out what it's like to be in their place after he kills an associate he had ripped off.
|41||April/May 1954||Jack Davis||Operation Friendship||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Geniuses Andrew and Philip have been best friends all their lives, until Philip marries an unscholarly woman and stops spending time with Andrew. Lucky for Andrew, he has devised a way to keep Philip with him forever.
|Come Back, Little Linda!||George Evans||Vault Keeper||
The corrupt director of an insane asylum decides to clean the place up before an inspection, but discovers to his own cost that one inmate may not be so crazy after all.
|Current Attraction||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A circus performer's daughter is seduced by a ruffian knife-thrower who is already married. The father hatches a plot to have the man sent away to jail by killing his wife during their act, but doesn't anticipate a last-minute change of circumstances.
|Mess Call||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A Nazi soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome is relieved from his post and goes to live with a friend, a butcher whose shop is mysteriously full of meat despite wartime rationing.
|42||June/July 1954||Jack Davis||Concerto For Violin And Werewolf||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A violinist undertakes a dangerous journey to visit his old teacher, and becomes determined to kill the werewolves that inhabit the surrounding woods.
|By The Dawn's Early Light||Jack Kamen||Vault Keeper||
Two friends suspect each other of being the vampire who killed their mutual third friend and many other people in the town.
|The Bath||Bernie Krigstein||Crypt Keeper||
The servant to a plantation owner takes revenge for a family his master killed.
|Hoodwinked!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A man whose greedy brother has made constant demands on him throughout their lives can take no more when his brother demands an expensive ornament for the hood of his car.
|43||Aug/Sept 1954||Jack Davis||Four-Way Split||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Roy Dixon committed the perfect murder at Four Corners. All four connecting states have made a bid to send him to Death Row but he walked free. So why are his nightmares of execution becoming all too real?
|Cold War||Jack Kamen||Vault Keeper||
Paul finds himself being threatened at gunpoint by his wife's lover, who doesn't seem to know there is a very special requirement for joining her family ...
|Clots My Line||George Evans||Crypt Keeper||
A man takes part in a game show with a sinister twist.
|Accidents And Old Lace||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A struggling art dealer tries to take advantage of three old ladies who are able to create wonderful tapestries after they have witnessed a violent accidental death.
|44||Oct/Nov 1954||Jack Davis||Forever Ambergris||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
A ship's captain who is in love with a crew member's wife kills her husband by deliberately exposing him to a flesh-eating virus.
|Burial At Sea||Reed Crandall||Vault Keeper||
In a reader-as-narrator story, you attempt to steal a miser's treasure that he has been bringing up from a shipwreck. You kill him when he gets in your way, but when he said he was ready for you, he was dead right!
|The Proposal||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
Fortune hunter Pearl attempts to seduce a wealthy man and is delighted when he tells her he "wants her for his wife." But what exactly does he mean?
|The Sliceman Cometh||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
An executioner in post-Revolution France is paid by a corrupt noble's brother to expose the man as a monarchist and have him sent to the guillotine. The executioner saves the man's head as a trophy, and finds it harder to dispose of than he expected.
|45||Dec/Jan 1955||Jack Davis||Telescope||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
The survivor of a shipwreck becomes caught up in the "food chain" when he finds himself stranded on an island with nothing to eat but a single rat.
|The Substitute||Jack Kamen||Crypt Keeper||
A man serving time on a penal colony makes a plan to escape by killing the governor and taking the corpse's place in the coffin. If only he'd stayed around to hear the victim's last request.
|Murder Dream||Bernie Krigstein||Crypt Keeper||
Howard has to leave his beloved wife to go on a business trip, but begins to suffer from a recurring dream of her being murdered.
|The Switch||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A man is trying to woo a much younger woman, who rejects him because of his age. He finds a doctor who can give him the body of a young man again - for a hidden price.
|46||Feb/March 1955||Jack Davis||Upon Reflection||Jack Davis||Crypt Keeper||
Local men turn vigilante when the mayor won't help them rid the town of the werewolf that is killing people. The mayor, however, has his own reasons not to get involved.
|Blind Alleys||George Evans||Crypt Keeper||
Inmates at a home for the blind turn the tables on the sadistic overseer.
|Success Story||Joe Orlando||Crypt Keeper||
Elmer's selfish wife and her freeloading parents have always criticized him for his failure to "get ahead" in life, not realizing how literally he would take their words.
|Tatter Up!||Graham Ingels||Old Witch||
A conman marries a sick old woman for her money, but finds out she has a very strange relationship with the local "rag man".
- Goulart, Ron. Great American Comic Books (Contemporary Books : Chicago, Illinois, 1986), ISBN 0-8092-5045-4, p.255
- Goulart, Great History of Comic Books, p. 256.
- Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, September 1, 2011. Accessed September 2, 2011
- Tales from the Cryptkeeper on TV.com. Retrieved on 2008-12-31.
- Tales form the Crypt at the Internet Pinball Database.
- Steve Stiles' history of Tales from the Crypt
- Chris Noeth Papercutz comic artist on issue #4 and #7 of the new Tales from the Crypt comic series
- Tales from the Crypt audio adaptations