Good morning fiends, and welcome to the first Saturday Morning Scares of 2021! Every month we take a look at cartoons for all the creepy kids out there. In keeping with this month’s The Return theme here at Nightmare on Film Street, today’s show is a remake of a classic property, Tales From The Cryptkeeper!
The Short Version
Before we get to the show, a little history lesson. Way back in the 1950s, comic book publisher EC Comics made a name for itself with a series of horror comics called Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Each issue featured gruesome stories, often ending in a darkly ironic twist, bookended by appearances of macabre storytellers. These comics were accused of corrupting the youth of America, spawning congressional hearings about how scary they were. Awesome! Anyway, the comics spawned a few movies, but the Cryptkeeper character that we all know and love came into his own in a critically-acclaimed HBO adaptation that premiered in 1989. The success of this anthology show led to a cartoon version for the kids, Tales From The Cryptkeeper.
All this to say, Tales from the Cryptkeeper is one of a long list of Saturday morning cartoon adaptations of R-rated properties. This one fares better than most though, due to the anthology format. Instead of trying to tone Rambo down, showrunners could just make stories that worked for younger audiences.
Cast of Scare-acters
Because of the anthology format, there are few recurring characters in the series. Our ghostly hosts are the most interesting ones anyway!
The Cryptkeeper: the sole host of the first season, the Cryptkeeper is a ghoul who loves a costume change almost as much as he loves puns. The cartoon Cryptkeeper is extra legit because he’s voiced by the same actor as the non-cartoon version, John Kassir! After the first season, Cryptie was joined by two more hosts.
The Vault-keeper: unlike the Cryptkeeper, the Vault-keeper has a pretty close design to his original EC Comics appearance. Instead of being a monster, he’s kinda… just some guy. He is old and creepy though!
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The Old Witch: the Old Witch is an old witch. It’s not just a clever name! Like the Vault-keeper, her design is similar to the 50s comic books.
Hyde and Go Shriek: it’s easy to bully a nerd, especially in the early 90s. But what do you do when that nerd turns himself into a werewolf?!
Fare Tonight: a pair of paranormal investigators make a vampire detector, but the undead threat may be closer than they thought!
Game Over: skipping school to play video games is awesome and fun, but it’s also bad. As punishment, two kids have to deal with their video games getting too real!
Dead Men Don’t Jump!: this episode is like the Aaron Carter song where he talks about playing basketball with Shaq, except instead of Shaq it’s the Grim Reaper and it’s a one-on-one game where the regular joe’s very soul hangs in the balance. Also, if you’re looking for an early start on a Halloween costume, you could do worse than the Rim Reaper.
Theme Song: Does It SLAP Or Is It CRAP?
Friends, the Tales from the Cryptkeeper theme song is like a cover of the Tales from the Crypt theme. Danny Elfman wrote that, and he doesn’t make crap. The Tales from the Cryptkeeper theme is a certified SLAP.
For this month’s Nightmare on Film Street-exclusive Crunch Time cereal pairing, let’s take a look at something that was originally for adults but was remade for kids. If you ask a child what their favorite cereal is and they say Chex, that’s definitely a shapeshifter. However, chocolate Chex? Why, that’s a remake worth considering! Take things up a notch by pairing your chocolate Chex with chocolate milk!
Fun and Games
Like many 90s cartoons, Tales from the Cryptkeeper spawned an action figure line. Fans of the show could pick up the Cryptkeeper (in a couple of different outfits), as well as more generic zombies, vampires, and things of that nature. Additionally, there was a Barbie-sized talking Cryptkeeper decked out in vacation clothes. You could put him in the pink convertible and hit the town in style!
ADS ARE SCARY
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More importantly, the show spawned a spin-off game show that I wasn’t positive was real until I got on the internet and found likeminded souls. I wrote about it for Greedy Guts month last summer, check it out!
Wanna start the new year with a bunch of creepy cartoons? You’re in luck! Tales from the Cryptkeeper is available for free right now on YouTube! (Full disclosure: a lot of the cartoons we cover here are up on YouTube, but this is a legitimate upload.) Get the playlist started and let it wash over you!
Are you a pun-obsessed undead storyteller? Let us know over on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook page! For more reviews, recommendations, remakes, and reimaginings, stay tuned to Nightmare on Film Street.