Archive for Tales from the Crypt

The Mortuary Collection Returns to the Roots of Anthology Genre

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2020 by bluefall8

Honestly, I am astounded that fright fans are so often forced to defend the anthology genre of horror, because, quite frankly, it is the perfect union of form and function. Vaulted first into America’s mainstream by the equal parts infamous and iconic E.C. Comics, then galvanized through the poignant irony of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, and ultimately enshrined into our collective consciousness by HBO’s Tales From the Crypt, the horror anthology is every bit the survivor of cinema’s most heralded final girl.

What began as a Kickstarter back in 2014 by independent filmmaker Ryan Spindell has shambled onto Shudder as a snarky, tightly-written throwback that will delight us 80’s babies who long ago fostered a nocturnal magnetism with the likes of Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, and Deadtime Stories.

The Mortuary Collection is based in the fictional, New England town of Raven’s End, a place that the viewer will learn, is home to a curious funeral parlor and its peculiar mortician, one Montgomery Dark, a man who knows the story of every soul that has passed through his funeral home. The imposing undertaker is played by the underappreciated Clancy Brown, most memorable to yours truly for his unsettling portrayal of Sheriff Gus Gilbert in 1992’s Pet Sematary Two.

With a grandfatherly disposition, albeit one contrasted against a cutting wit and knowing menace, Brown breathes life into moldy Montgomery through his understated genius as a character actor and serves as the grounding force throughout the film. Joined shortly by Sam, a young woman in search of employment who possesses her own flair for storytelling, the duo’s travels throughout the mortuary comprise the classic wrap-around portion of this horror anthology.

The individual stories are enjoyable in their own right, each a fresh spin on some of the genre’s most tried-and-true yarns, the grave fun comes to a fitting climax with The Babysitter Murders, the original, foundational piece that spurred The Mortuary Collection into existence, it’s a tale concerned with a child murderer who has a taste for tender flesh and is known only as the Tooth Fairy Killer.

Throughout the narrative, the unlikely pair of Sam and Montgomery wax philosophic about the nature of storytelling, playfully nodding to the conventions of the horror genre while ever so respectfully winking at the audience from behind the proverbial fourth wall. Not unlike the carefully sutured wounds of a recent cadaver, the cinematography is sharply stitched and complimented by visual effects that elicit both shrieks of fear and bales of laughter. Indeed, the whole production is delivered with the patience and poise of a well-practiced eulogy, dusted, of course, with the signature twists that remain an indelible hallmark of the genre.

Inspired by the beloved beasts that populate the genre from yesteryear, The Mortuary Collection, like Trick r’ Treat more than a decade ago, will prove to be the latest triumph of the anthology genre over Hollywood naysayers. In doing so, it not only delivers a welcome dose of nostalgia to legions of horror fanatics, but also fills the hearts of those fans and aspiring filmmakers alike with a much needed injection of hope.

Horrorlust Radio Episode #004

Posted in Horrorlust Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by bluefall8

Creator of the Chop Shop and horror hound, Steve, served as co-host for episode #004 of Horrorlust Radio.

In the fourth episode of Horrorlust Radio, Steve and I discuss horror films, the role of sequels and the often blasphemous practice of remakes. We also talk at length about Steve’s childhood and teenage recollections of Halloween which include his involvement in a basement home haunt and a harrowing encounter with a woodland lunatic.

This episode of Horrorlust Radio also features two fresh segments — Cauldron Questions and Pop Horror. In Cauldron Questions my co-host and I answer three burning questions and then in Pop Horror we discuss all things horror in the land of film and television such as The Walking Dead and an independent film titled The Houses October Built. 

Steve and I also explore the the history of his spooky but likable alter-ego, Uncle Dead Guy. And unsurprisingly, we have some fun with speculation regarding potential haunted house visits.

I’m actively seeking sponsors for Horrorlust Radio, if you own or operate a haunted attraction or are otherwise involved or connected to the haunt industry and are interested in such an opportunity you can contact me at the following email address: horrorlust@bluestarproductions.net

Email any questions or comments to the address above or feel welcome to post any reactions to this podcast in the comments section below.

HORRORLUST RADIO: EPISODE 004

SHOW NOTES

The book I referenced on several occasions during the podcast is called Shock Value and was written by Jason Zinoman (Penguin Press, 2011).

Required reading...seriously , go and read it.

Required reading…seriously, go and read it.

Steve and I also discussed a number of old horror comic books which included EC Comics’ most popular title, Tales From the Crypt. In addition to Tales From the Crypt, EC Comics also published The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear and a slew of other non-horror related comics. The company published this style of comic from the 1940’s until the mid-1950’s when it began to focus on the well-known humor magazine, MAD.

In addition to EC Comics’ line of titles we also discussed a pair of titles that Steve was more familiar with from his youth, Creepy and Eerie by Warren PublishingThe former originally had an 18 year run from late 1964 until publication ceased in February 1983; Creepy was resurrected in 2009 and is currently published by New Comic Company LLC in partnership with Dark Horse Comics. Eerie was launched in 1966 and it too ceased publication in February 1983.

For your pleasure, I’ve included a few examples of cover art below.

Tales From the Crypt would later become a hit HBO series from 1989-1996.

Tales From the Crypt would later become a hit HBO series from 1989-1996.

 

Creepy, undoubtedly inspired by its EC Comics forerunners.

Creepy, undoubtedly inspired by its EC Comics forerunners.

 

Eerie, the sister publication to Creepy.

Eerie, the sister publication to Creepy.

The songs and audio clips featured in this episode are listed below in chronological order:

1. “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Cow Finger & Mosquito Pie, 1956)

2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Theatrical Trailer, 1974

3. “Boogie Man” by Mad Sin (Burn & Rise, 2010)

4. Kirk meets Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974

5. “Out of the Dark” by Mad Sin (A Ticket Into Underworld, 1993)

Rank Crypt of Rotting Flesh

Posted in Hallowblog, Word of the Week with tags , , , , on July 15, 2014 by bluefall8

A Word of the Week entry from Monday, October 15, 2007. This one provided a little nod to one of my childhood favorites, Tales from the Crypt.

Another fine Monday in the great month of October, another Halloween themed Word of the Week. This entry is sure to put readers in mind of entombed ghoulies as well as that late night creep with the bone chilling screech and tales of the horror.

cryptnoun: a chamber wholly or partly underground.