The new Crypt Keeper planned for TNT’s Tales from the Crypt reboot is already a source of concern among fans of the 1990s HBO series.
At first, there was speculation as to whether there would be a Crypt Keeper at all, but project overseer M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) shut that down over the weekend.
.@slashfilm I’d never make Tales without the CK! Will be a new take on him as the puppet is property of HBO. Promise he’ll be cool and dark!
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) January 9, 2016
Horror news site Bloody-Disgusting, quoting a source close to the project, said that the new Crypt Keeper would be “an old man with a cane, wearing a hood, and keeping warm by a fireplace.”
This interpretation of the character is much closer to Amicus’ 1972 feature film classic as well as the 1950s comic book series on which the new show will be based.
While that may not seem as cool as John Kassir’s darkly comic version of the horror host, there is some comfort that fans can take in the rumored “more authentic” depiction.
For starters, if you go back to the comic books, it is clear that HBO’s CK didn’t have the market cornered on black comedy. The original, as written by (mostly) William Gaines and Al Feldstein had a penchant for the puns.
He began and closed each story with one-liners galore, delightfully in bad taste, and usually making fun of the poor sap at the heart of each tale.
While the adorably gnarled face of the TV Crypt Keeper may be property of HBO, the sense of humor existed long before him, so Shyamalan is free to explore that aspect of the new guy’s personality.
Something else open to Shyamalan that HBO never capitalized on: the additional characters from the horror comics.
EC Comics, the company that Gaines owned which published Tales from the Crypt for 30 issues, knew that it had a good thing. When he saw the success of The Crypt of Terror (the original title), he immediately found ways to expand the line.
The Vault of Horror was next to get the comic book treatment, and that was followed by The Haunt of Fear. Each had a horror host, who would narrate each tale, and for the majority of the run, the three would appear in each others’ books, trading insults and barbs in between stories.
The other two characters were called the Vault Keeper and the Old Witch, the latter of which was an admittedly blatant ripoff of an Old Time Radio character.
Despite Amicus exploring more EC Comics properties with The Vault of Horror anthology film, the other two characters have never been adapted for television or film, though they would later appear in the Tales from the Cryptkeeper animated series as well as a short-lived revival of Tales from the Crypt from Papercutz Comics.
Shyamalan has the opportunity to correct that with the TNT Tales from the Crypt, and since HBO avoided interpretations, he wouldn’t be as limited in how he chooses to portray those characters.
For now, though, fans are just hoping that the new Crypt Keeper lives up to the 1990s version. It is still unclear whether John Kassir, the ’90s voice artist behind CK, will be involved.
If so, it is possible you could see him under layers of makeup, providing the voice directly instead of working the puppet off-screen.
But what would you prefer, readers? Are you understanding of Shyamalan’s Crypt Keeper predicament, or are you writing off the show now that there has been confirmation you’re not getting the HBO version of the character? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of Crypt Keeper via HBO]