The Crypt Keeper has been a longstanding tradition in adaptations of the classic EC Comics book Tales from the Crypt, with his most famous iteration being the one created for HBO in the 1990s.
That version was voiced by John Kassir and really crossed over into popular culture with movie spinoffs, “celebrity appearances,” a Saturday morning cartoon show, and a way underrated Christmas album.
Unfortunately, it does not look like there will be any more appearances from him in the latest TNT Tales from the Crypt that is being spearheaded by M. Night Shyamalan.
But before you go off blaming the guy who perpetrated The Village and The Happening on moviegoing audiences, it is important to note that TNT couldn’t very well use another company’s intellectual property.
While they do now have the rights to film new episodes using the Crypt Keeper character, they cannot take the work of the HBO version’s creators.
Instead of trying to negotiate the deal, Bloody Disgusting reports that an inside source close to the production is claiming that the TNT Crypt Keeper will be more in line with what was seen in the comics and, to a lesser degree, the 1972 Amicus film adaptation brought to the screen by veteran actor Ralph Richardson.
Yes, this time around, the Crypt Keeper will be a withered old man wearing a robe, carrying a cane, and “keeping warm by a fireplace.”
While this is sure to anger some fans of the HBO series, it’s actually a welcome inclusion that TNT would even include a Crypt Keeper since previous reboot attempts that never got off the ground were going to bypass the character altogether.
Unlike with the 1972 film, this Crypt Keeper could also be “dolled up” with some heinous looking makeup that exaggerates some of his more dastardly features and the twisted sense of humor would likely remain intact.
After all, it appears M. Night Shyamalan (who admits the comics had a huge impact on him as a filmmaker) would want the storyteller to be reminiscent of the original version.
To compensate for losing John Kassir, TNT may want to consider bringing out additional characters found in the comics, such as the Old Witch and the Vault Keeper characters.
While the comics — originally published by William Gaines — were known primarily for their stories, the “antics” of the three “GhouLunatics” kept readers entertained beyond the twisty-turny plots as they took mean-spirited (and often hilarious) shots at one another from tale to tale.
The other two kooks were so popular with readers that they spawned horror anthology comics of their own — The Vault of Horror, which ran for 29 issues to Crypt’s 30 and enjoyed its own Amicus film adaptation. The Haunt of Fear, which ran for 28 issues and along with the other two series, inspired many of the HBO episodes.
While the books were initially planned as independent titles, where each GhouLunatic would tell all four of the issue’s stories, they each started appearing together so that it seemed like one continuous series of 87 issues.
Generally, the breakdown would find the Crypt Keeper telling the first and third stories with The Vault Keeper stepping in for number two and the Old Witch closing out the book (in Tales from the Crypt anyway). The order would change in The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear to favor the “starring” GhouLunatic for that particular book.
Translating that to a TV show could be difficult, but with the right amount of dark comedy it could work.
Regardless, every adaptation of Tales from the Crypt needs a Crypt Keeper. Are you willing to give the new one a try? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of Crypt Keeper via Horror Host Magazine]