TNT is resurrecting the Crypt Keeper! The network is reviving the anthology horror series, Tales from the Crypt, with writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, Variety reports. The project will lead a new, two-hour block of horror-themed programming for the network. Plots for the series will be based on the original EC Comics along with new stories curated by Oscar-nominated Shyamalan and his partner at Binding Edge Pictures, Ashwin Rajan.
“This is a new genre for us in our series efforts and a great chance to partner with M. Night Shyamalan, whose blockbuster hit ‘The Visit’ reminded movie audiences and critics this past summer that he truly is a master of horror,” said Sarah Aubrey, TNT’s EVP of original programming. “This two-hour horror block demonstrates not only TNT’s commitment to working with today’s top talents, but also our strategy to stand out in today’s marketplace by challenging the conventional rules of programming and scheduling.”
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“To be part of such a beloved brand like Tales From the Crypt, something I grew up watching, and to also have the chance to push the boundaries of genre television as a whole, is an inspiring opportunity that I can’t wait to dive into,” Shyamalan said.
TNT’s Kevin Reilly offered some insight on how the two-hour, R-rated Tales block would work.
“It’s not a show, it’s an umbrella for what will hopefully be many shows. We’re going to put a variety of different genre shows…all united under the Tales from the Crypt brand. Night is definitely going to direct the first one and we’ll see how that evolves. And we’re definitely going to utilize the underlying comics.”
Tales from The Crypt is based on a 1950’s EC Comics series created by William Gaines. Hosted by the Crypt Keeper (see photo above), the show ran for seven seasons on HBO in the 1990s. As Daily Dead notes, many of the macabre tales were helmed by talented filmmakers such as Robert Zemeckis, William Friedkin, Tobe Hooper, and more.
TNT’s new horror block will premiere in the fall. Additional shows will be announced in the coming months.
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Horror and suspense is certainly a style the Sixth Sense director is familiar with. Shyamalan’s most recent mystery-thriller, Wayward Pines, has been picked up for a second season on FOX. He will still serve as executive producer of the show. The series tells the story of Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), a secret service agent trying to investigate the disappearance of his fellow agents in Wayward Pines, Idaho.
Shyamalan is best known for his science fiction and supernatural-themed movies, including Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water and the critically-panned natural horror thriller, The Happening. In 2013, he directed the ill-received film After Earth starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith. M. Night films most of his work in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was raised, and audiences have come to expect his films to include a memorable plot twist.
The Indian-American filmmaker quickly gained international recognition with 1999’s The Sixth Sense. It was the second highest grossing film of the year, (behind Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace), grossing $293 million domestically and $672 million worldwide. The film was also nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
Shyamalan’s 2015 horror The Visit follows the found footage genre and centers on two children who are sent by their mom to spend a week with their creepy grandma. The film was made on a $5 million budget and banked nearly $100 million globally. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD January 5.
M. Night Shyamalan currently has two other television projects in production at varied stages of development. The first, titled Proof, has been sold to Syfy, and the second is reportedly being developed with NBC and is titled Lost Horizon.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]