Wednesday, October 26, 2011
From the Crypt
5 years old. Some of my friends weren't even allowed to watch Looney Tunes. Yet, here I am. Being graced with the cover of a horror themed comic book. Tales From the Crypt. Issue #5. That cover both haunts and comforts me to this day. Knowing how it all started from there. With each page turned, I delved further into the macabre and mischievious. It did what several comedy/horror genre movies have been doing or trying to do. Bringing levity to the horror situation. Yet surprisingly, it wasn't quite Abbott and Costello. It's intentions were a few shades darker.
The boogeyman under the bed and the monster in the closet are no longer scary when you turn them on an evil doer. They are strangely comforting. Revenge has been a factor in storytelling for as long as storytelling has been around. But never has it been done with such gleefully tongue in rotting cheek humor. & that was the formula EC essentially created. If not created then perfected. It's this very formula that has been nearly impossible to duplicate. In both spin off books and movies.
This is why I hold a movie like Creepshow near and dear. Romero and King get it. They understand the material and paint each scene with care. Conversely, this is why a film like Zombieland fails miserably. It's not about some faggotty hipster trying to score with the girl next door. It's about Henry luring Wilma into a laboratory for a special surprise.
Graham Ingels, Johnny Craig and Jack Kamen would become heroes. Their artwork and writing being something I'd always look forward to as my collection grew like the grass on Jordy Verrill's house. Then there was ole' Cryptkeeper. The (g)host with the most. His ghastly presence becoming a nasty treat when Tales From the Crypt would become a TV series. Getting home after school and popping a tape in the VCR to record episodes off the television became a ritual. The episode Television Terror would end up becoming a favorite. & it only made it cooler that some of the names who would executive produce the show and even direct some of the episodes happen to be Robert Zemeckis, Richard Donner and Walter Hill. Not to mention the plethora of stars ranging from Schwarznegger to Brad Pitt to Kirk Douglas.
I'm rambling now because I seriously could go on for hours about my love for these "books of juvenile delinquency." I'll always have William Gaines to thank for creating the EC brand. My gateway drug into horror. Sometimes you love something so much it becomes a part of your soul. That's what EC comics were to me as a youngster and in many ways still are.
And that's the story dear reader! Tune in next time for another gruesome installment.