15 Favorite Tales From the Crypt episodes: A Primer

tftccover
Tell me you don’t read that title in the Cryptkeeper’s voice

Tales From the Crypt was a half-hour anthology horror show that ran seven seasons, from 1989 to 1996. It featured stories adapted from the EC comics of the 1950s, and was like a gorier, more horror-oriented take on The Twilight Zone. Most episodes ended with a twist and/or the villain of the story getting their appropriately ironic comeuppance. And, of course, the Cryptkeeper was there to guide us with his pun-filled intro and outro to each episode.

I started watching Tales as a young teenager, when NBC would show two episodes late Saturday nights, right after SNL. Still later, the Sci-Fi (now, annoyingly, Syfy) Channel used to have marathons I would watch, and even later than that, I had Netflix send me the entire series, three DVDs at a time (look, I’m old, okay?) to make sure I hadn’t missed a single episode. Now, of course, you only have to search YouTube to find most (all?) episodes for free.

Discovering Tales From the Crypt was very exciting for Tween/Teen Me; I cut my baby horror teeth on it. It helped develop my tastes in horror, giving me stories to explore and discover which themes worked for me and which didn’t. But even the “bad” episodes are still Tales From the fuckin’ Crypt, and I’ll still watch them any day of the week.

So, this list is more a list of personal favorites and episodes I feel added something to the series than a list of the “best” episodes of the series. Many of these are among the top-rated of the series; some aren’t; and many of the highest-rated episodes of all time aren’t included here at all. Everyone has a different opinion; it’s all about what hits you in a certain place at a certain time. All of these episodes hit me just the right way at some point in time.

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Recap #65 – Zodiac Chillers #4: Twisted Taurus by Ellen Steiber

twistedtaurus

Title: Twisted Taurus

Series: Zodiac Chillers

Author: Ellen Steiber

Published: Oct. 1995

Tagline: She gets what she wants – always!

Description: Micaela wants Darci – and her brother . . .

Darci is the new girl. Dying to get a new life. Fast. Enter Micaela, the ultimate Taurus. So loyal, so devoted – her friendship grows into a poisonous obsession. Darci’s dates are ruined. Her brother is seduced. For Micaela was out to possess him from the very start . . . .

Nostalgia Time!


Okay, nope, I was not aware of this series when it was first published. I was clearly aware of the Jahnna N. Malcolm Zodiac series, because I owned the Leo entry, but I’ve never read any from the Zodiac Chillers series. This series only lasted eight books, and one of them is titled “The Thirteenth Sign,” so that means there are only seven books related to the commonly-known zodiac signs. Also, they’re all out of order, and weren’t published anywhere near their corresponding sign. This one, Taurus (April 21 – May 21), was published in October, for fuck sake. That should be either Libra or Scorpio.

I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it does.

Anyway, this one seems to be the easiest to get hold of – it’s the one I’ve heard podcasters talk about, and it’s the only one I’ve seen in any of my local used bookstores. A few of them are available online for more than I’m currently willing to pay (meaning over $20 – not too outlandish, but still more than I’m willing to pay for books that I’m not attached to that retailed for $3.99 originally), and a few are available for more reasonable prices. Still others are out of stock and unavailable every time I check.

So. Let’s see what we’re getting ourselves into, shall we?

Continue reading “Recap #65 – Zodiac Chillers #4: Twisted Taurus by Ellen Steiber”

Curse of Chucky (2013)

Recap #63 – Curse of Chucky (2013)

Curse of Chucky (2013)
Curse of Chucky (2013)

Title: Curse of Chucky (2013)

Tagline: [Dove: Sorry guys, I literally can’t find one. JC?] [JC: All I could find was “Be afraid. Be effing afraid.” Which is pretty effing pathetic, if you ask me.]

Summary: After her mother’s mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.

Initial Thoughts

After the disappointment of Seed (JC, you ok, hun? [JC: Okay about what? There’s just a big blank spot where my memory of that recap should be. Thanks for protecting me, brain!]) I put off watching this. I was so pissed off. I didn’t even read about it. I didn’t believe people who said “Chucky has gone back to his roots.” And, retrospectively, I was right. The Lakeshore Strangler’s roots would be strangulation, which is still absent.

But when I finally did, I was delighted. And had I known what a delight Fiona Dourif was, I’d have watched a lot sooner. (If you don’t love her as Bart in Dirk Gently, I think you’re probably broken. Though I get it if you can’t bring yourself to watch something created by Max Landis.) [JC: That’s not a thing I’ve seen. My introduction to Fiona was on True Blood. I knew she was in it, I had no idea what she looked like, but as soon as I saw her, I was immediately like, “yup, that’s gotta be her.” She looks just like her dad. But while I’m not sure whether or not we would call Brad conventionally attractive (I personally find him attractive, but I gravitate toward people with an interesting look as opposed to your more blandly pretty movie star types), Fiona is fucking gorgeous, and a total badass in this movie. I honestly think she was one of the girl crushes that helped me realize my bi-ness.] [Dove: I would say that he was… *thinks* maybe “delicately beautiful” in Cuckoo’s Nest, and since then has been variations of attractive since then – but you’re right, he has a more interesting look than classically handsome. And Fiona is the same. She’s oddly appealing as Bart, a woman who hasn’t washed or brushed her hair for years and is most often covered in blood. And she’s delightful as Nica too.]

I have only seen this and Cult once, both of them were watched back-to-back, so I remember very little about either of them.

Continue reading “Recap #63 – Curse of Chucky (2013)”

Recap #61 – Fright Night Part 2 (1988)

frightnightpart2

Title: Fright Night Part 2

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Released: May 19, 1989 (US)

Description: Three years after the vampire was destroyed in Fright Night, his sister – in the guise of a mysterious performer – seeks revenge on the heroic duo who carried out the staking.

 

 

Nostalgia Time!


First of all, that description up there doesn’t do this movie the justice it deserves, but it was the best one I could find online. This is a pretty solid horror movie sequel that nobody seems to know about, and I’ll hit some of the reasons for that at the end of this recap.

While I don’t have the same attachment to this one as I do the original Fright Night, I’ve seen it a few times and really enjoy it. In this one, they flip it from Charley screeching about vampires and having no chill, to Peter Vincent being convinced there are vampires and Charley no longer believing. There are some new elements added to the mix, while still keeping the Fright Night vibe going. I can’t say I love this one as much as the original, but it’s still a lot of fun.

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Seed of Chucky (2004) (Recap #58)

Seed_of_chucky

Title: Seed of Chucky

Director/Writer: Don Mancini

Released: Nov. 12, 2004 (US release)

Tagline: Get a load of Chucky/Fear the second coming/Deliver us some evil (I could have sworn it was “The family that slays together stays together,” but apparently I’m imagining that.) [Dove: Nope. That’s the tagline I remember too.] [JC: Maybe it was in promotional stuff, but never made it to official tagline status, then?]

Description: Gentle Glen (Billy Boyd) is a ventriloquist’s dummy, the offspring of evil doll Chucky (Brad Dourif) and his doll bride (Jennifer Tilly), both of whom are now deceased. When the orphaned Glen hears that a film is being made about his parents, he goes to Hollywood and resurrects them in an attempt to get to know them better. He is horrified when Chucky and his lover embark on a new killing spree, and Chucky is equally horrified that his son has no taste for evil. 

Initial Thoughts


You know, before I rewatched this for this recap, I thought my biggest problem was going to be the fear of misgendering Glen/Glenda the doll. Then I rewatched it, and realized I was going to have to recap a scene with a turkey baster full of cum. We recappers lead charmed lives. [Dove: JC texted me that phrase about sixteen times during her recap session.]

So, this movie has a 4.8/10 on IMDb and a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. Interestingly, Child’s Play 3 has a 5.1 on IMDb but a 29% Rotten Tomatoes. Which means that there are people who think this movie is better than Child’s Play 3. I don’t know how that’s possible, but there we have it. (Brad Dourif himself dislikes 3 the most, but now I’m wondering if that quote was from before this movie was made. Because holy shit, dude. Holy shit.) [Dove: Or possibly he was made aware of the tenuous connection I mentioned to the murder of James Bulger? I know it didn’t make major news in the US, but apparently Michael Jackson heard about it and contact the family, so perhaps Dourif was made aware as the lead in the movie in question? If so, that could explain how an average movie is more disliked than a genuinely terrible one.]

Okay, so I said in an earlier recap that I have some affection for this movie, which stems from it being the only Chucky movie I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I’m now thinking of the missed opportunity I had to see the original Child’s Play a few years ago, and getting more and more annoyed about it. Seed doesn’t deserve to have the distinction of being the only Chucky movie I’ve experienced in the movie theater! It’s not fair!

Let me explain. Several years ago, I was online dating. I started talking to a guy we’ll call Major Tom. Now, I liked to (and still do) ask people what their favorite bad movie is as a conversation starter. When I asked Major Tom this question, he hemmed and hawed a bit, at least as much as you can over email, then finally named Child’s Play. Okay, I thought that answer was a little strange since the general consensus on the first movie at least is that it’s pretty good. But whatever; we hadn’t even met yet, and I didn’t see the point in arguing. Cut to us deciding to meet, and trying to decide on an activity for our first meeting/date. It was October, which I basically treat as Halloween all month long, and the local second-run theater (that has since been torn down; there’s a Cracker Barrel there now) was showing Friday and Saturday late night showings of Child’s Play. Now, I would never normally suggest a movie as a first meeting, but this was fucking perfect! It’s Major Tom’s favorite “bad” movie; I would fucking love to get to see it on the big screen (since I was 7 when it was first released, that was never really an option before); let’s go! Right?

So, I text Major Tom and tell him, hey, you said you like Child’s Play, right? The Palace is showing it as their “midnight” movie (they would usually have a showing at 8 or 9 pm, then again at 10 or 11pm), what do you say we do that? And the text I got back was . . . weird. I don’t remember exactly what Major Tom said, but the impression was along the lines of “Um . . . okayyyyyyy . . . why are you suggesting this?” along with a strange emoticon I neither remember nor can describe. (Helpful, I know.) So, confused, I ask him what this reaction is all about, and he responds that, well, when I’d asked about bad movies, he’d thought that was a bad movie. Still confused, I replied that no, I’d asked what his favorite bad movie was and that was what he’d said. FAVORITE. Anyway, he started backpedaling and saying well, it had been a long time since he’d seen it, he didn’t remember it, and we could still go if I wanted to. But since watching something I love with someone who’s hating every minute of it is a thing that makes me horribly uncomfortable and miserable, I declined. We ended up eating sushi and playing pool instead. And then dating for three of the most miserable months of my life. But that trainwreck is another story.

Anyway, that’s how this trainwreck remains to this day the only Chucky movie I’ve caught on the big screen. I’m sure it’s probably someone’s favorite bad movie, but that person is not me.

[Dove: Asking that question also led you to watching Necromentia. This question, while interesting and engaging, is bringing you nothing but bad things.] [JC: I wish I had a brilliant, glowing example to counter this, but the best I’ve got is Shakma – a “killer baboon runs amok in Roddy McDowall’s laboratory while Tina from A Nightmare on Elm Street and her friends have a LARPing game session in this building for some fucking reason” movie. It was recommended to me through that question, and all in all was quite a bit of fun.] [Dove: I can’t remember what the movie was called, but there was a movie on LoveFilm (remember them?) that had a summary along the lines of “Suzy is sick of her abusive father. She comes home from work and he beats her up and steals her money. He storms out and comes back with a BENGAL TIGER. Now she’s home alone, during a storm, with A TIGER.” And Raven and I were just like, “wow”.]

Continue reading “Seed of Chucky (2004) (Recap #58)”

Movie cover for Bride of Chucky (1998)

Bride of Chucky (1998) (Recap #56)

Movie cover for Bride of Chucky (1998)
Bride of Chucky (1998)

Title: Bride of Chucky (1998)

Tagline: Chucky gets lucky!

Summary: Chucky hooks up with another murderous doll, the bridal gown-clad Tiffany, for a Route 66 murder spree with their unwitting hosts, two eloping high-school graduates.

Grade: B-

Initial Thoughts

I actually loved this when it came out. I jumped so hard on the bandwagon of horror movies being witty as well as creepy. The Scream trend was something I appreciated. Of course, witty is subjective, and more often than not it ended up being a lot of irritating people saying a lot of dumb shit that the writers thought was funny, but for me Bride worked. [JC: I had the Fangoria issue with this movie on the cover. I was hyped for this movie . . . and then didn’t end up seeing it until it came to video. For some reason. Anyway, I absolutely loved it when I finally did end up seeing it. And since my thing seems to be providing the critic scores (except I think I forgot to add them into either Child’s Play 2 or 3, oops), this movie has a 5.4/10 on IMDb, and 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which seems criminally low, btw.]

And I’ve adored Jennifer Tilly since the first time I saw Bound. And, this has fuck all to do with the recap, I think she seems like a cool person. Like, if you bumped into her somewhere, she’d be nice to talk to. Please don’t disabuse me of this notion if that’s not true. (Please do if she’s done something so awful I need to reconsider my stance because I will miss stuff. The only celeb I follow with any enthusiasm is Trey Parker.) [JC: As far as I can tell, she’s an absolutely adorable human being.] [Dove: Oh, thank goodness. Raven has a few friends who play poker professionally, and I keep hoping that they level up enough to meet her so they can tell me how awesome she is. So far no luck.]

Continue reading “Bride of Chucky (1998) (Recap #56)”

A Celebration of 90’s Horror: The Decade That’s Better Than You Remember

90sHorror
Look at all of this good horror! LOOK AT IT!

Hey, folks! Lately I’ve been hearing/reading that a lot of people think horror in the nineties sucked. Different people seem to be referring to different things – quality of movies, or the variety of movies available. I’m baffled by this opinion, as the nineties had so many great movies, and a huge variety of horror sub-genres. Seriously, the nineties couldn’t figure out what they wanted to be, so they threw everything at us. And that’s a good thing! It resulted in a decade that assured that no matter your personal horror tastes, there would be something there to please you. It was the decade that either kicked off or continued dozens of huge horror franchises. Hell, it was the decade of the Stephen King miniseries! A terrible decade for horror? I . . . I don’t understand these words coming out of your mouth. (Or your Twitter, or your Reddit, or your . . . well, you get the picture.)

So, take my hand and join me on this journey through the nineties, year by year, as we explore the best the decade had to offer.

Continue reading “A Celebration of 90’s Horror: The Decade That’s Better Than You Remember”

Recap #52 – 99 Fear Street: The Third Horror by R.L. Stine

thirdhorror

Title: 99 Fear Street: The Third Horror

Author: R.L. Stine

Published: October 1994

Description: Lights . . . Camera . . . Murder . . .

Kody Frasier always swore she’d come back to 99 Fear Street. She knows the spirit of her dead sister, Cally, is trapped there, waiting to be set free. Now Kody is starring in a movie about the evil that murdered Cally, set in the very house that destroyed their family. If she can just find Cally, she can help her . . .

But Cally doesn’t want to be saved. She’s been waiting all this time for revenge. And once the movie camera is rolling, Cally is going to give Kody the surprise ending of a lifetime!

Nostalgia Time!


Well, here we are, closing out the 99 Fear Street trilogy. (Recaps of the first and second books can be found at these links.) This is an odd one. I’m tempted to say it’s the weakest of the trilogy, but then I remember how monotonous the second one is in between the random ridiculous shit. This one doesn’t have anything as off-the-rails bonkers as that one (no zombies; no one fights a raccoon), but it does have long stretches of monotony. I dunno, guys. Let’s get into it and see if my opinion crystalizes as I examine this book more closely.

Continue reading “Recap #52 – 99 Fear Street: The Third Horror by R.L. Stine”

Recap #50b – Fright Night (2011)

frightnight2011

Title: Fright Night

Director: Craig Gillespie

Released: August 19, 2011

Description: Meet the sexy new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell). He’s dangerously charming – and utterly lethal. That’s because he just happens to be a vampire, and out for blood . . . buckets of it. After high school senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) makes the connection between Jerry’s suspicious activity and a steadily rising body count, he vows to end the reign of terror next door. But he can’t do it alone. His only hope is Las Vegas magician/vampire-slayer Peter Vincent (David Tennant). Together, this unlikely duo set out to end Jerry’s evil rampage. But Jerry is a ruthless, relentless killer, and he’s not going down without a fight. Get set to sink your teeth into this thrilling re-vamp of the terrifying horror classic. Featuring a star-studded cast and crawling with bonus (sic), Fright Night will captivate you from the very first bite!

Nostalgia Time!


So, like I said in my recap of the original Fright Night, I decided to recap both versions of this movie as a combination of my 50th recap for this site and my birthday recap. I couldn’t think of anything birthday related, and I suddenly got it in my head that this would be fun. So I had to run out to the mall (yep, that’s . . . still a thing) and buy this version, because I didn’t own it and it’s not streaming anywhere. Boyfriend wasn’t even aware this version existed, but when I told him David Tennant and Colin Farrell are in it, he told me, “Ah, okay, that explains why you like it.” I mean . . . he’s not wrong. Anyway, it’s just a happy coincidence that both the OG and this one came out in theaters in August of their respective years. So we’re all celebrating birthdays this month! Yay!

I don’t have the same connection to this one that I have to the original – I saw it once in February of 2012, and didn’t remember it at all. Watching it for this recap was seriously like watching it for the first time – I didn’t remember anything that was going to happen. I didn’t even remember how much I liked it before, but I found the old notebook in which I used to write down every movie I watched (look, I’m very precise about very odd things, okay?) and I found this one listed as such: “2/6/2012: Fright Night 2011 – Pretty great remake. Not as cheesy as the original.” (It was also the 32nd movie I’d watched so far that year. Damn I’ve slowed down my movie-watching since then.)

So, I guess I liked it. And I’m not alone – it has a 6.4 on IMDb, and a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which is a bit higher than I expected, given the tendency of people to shit on remakes just because they can.

Also, real quick: I’m not here to compare and contrast this version with the OG in this recap. Some comparison may be unavoidable, but I’m going to do my best to approach this version on its own merits. Despite being a remake, it’s not really the same story at all, and is very much its own thing, so I’m going to treat it that way.

Oh. Except for this:

20190811_163545
Well, this didn’t clear things up at all. Also, my polls are clearly not very popular. Oh, well, at least nobody chose to call me a dope!

Continue reading “Recap #50b – Fright Night (2011)”

Recap #50a – Fright Night (1985)

frightnightOG

Title: Fright Night

Director: Tom Holland

Released: August 2, 1985

Description: Meet Jerry Dandrige. He’s sweet, sexy, and he likes to sleep in late. You might think he’s the perfect neighbor. But before inviting Jerry in for a nightcap, there’s just one thing you should know. Jerry prefers his drinks warm, red – and straight from the jugular! It’s FRIGHT NIGHT, a horrific howl starring Chris Sarandon as the seductive vampire and William Ragsdale as the frantic teenager struggling to keep Jerry’s deadly fangs out of his neck. Only 17-year-old Charley Brewster knows Jerry’s bloodcurdling secret. When Charley can’t get anybody to believe him, he turns to TV horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), who used to be the “Great Vampire Killer” of the movies. Can these mortals save Charley and his sweetheart Amy (Amanda Bearse) from the wrathful bloodsucker’s toothy embrace? If you love being scared, FRIGHT NIGHT will give you the nightmare of your life!

Nostalgia Time!


So, we’re back around to August, which means it’s time for my birthday again, which also happens to coincide with my 50th recap. This year, I decided to do something I’ve never done before, which is to recap a movie and its remake back-to-back. Hence why this is labeled Recap #50a instead of just 50. The 2011 version of Fright Night will of course be Recap #50b.

This movie was released eleven days before my fourth birthday. I can’t for the life of me remember when I saw it for the first time. I was super obsessed with vampires between the ages of about 16-19, so it was probably sometime in there. This movie is 80s as fuck. The effects are cheesy as hell. But it’s a vampire classic, and deservedly so. I’ve seen it an obscene number of times at this point, and I still love its cheesy, goofy ass.

I also love these back-of-box descriptions that are basically acting as hype man for the movie. Eighties. As. Fuck. (Except the box description for the 2011 version also kind of does this, so I guess I can’t completely blame the 80s. *shrug*)

Continue reading “Recap #50a – Fright Night (1985)”