First posted on October 12th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link
It’s not mystery that I make a lot of money blogging. I mean a LOT of money. I have been in this game for a long time and over the years have become not just an icon in the entertainment world but an actual titan of mythological scale. I have witnessed so many things over the years, so many changes in television, books, cartoon….nearly every aspect of pop culture and I have documented it to bring these stories to the masses so that they can, in some way, keep track of a world that sometimes seems to move at the speed of light.
Of all the exSCREAM makeovers I have done over the years…I would have to say the most enjoyable had to be the Crypt Keeper! Who doesn’t remember this loveably rotten character from 1989-1996 (1993) HBO’s Tales From The Crypt. The show started in 1989 to howls of approval. The audience seemed to devour every episode that came out but by the end of its third year in 1992 things had started to wind down a bit. The numbers were going down and the Crypt Keeper had began to worry that his show was headed for the television morgue. So like many others be-gore him…he called me.
I met him (surprise surprise) in the basement of his big dark scary mansion. I walked down the dusty stone steps and was met with a cavernous chamber…some kind of crazy combination of a laboratory and a dungeon…lit with candles…covered with cobwebs. I walked up to an obviously placed coffin ,crossed my arms and waited. Suddenly the mood music rose to a crescendo and the coffin flew open, up popped the good old Crypt Keeper. I waited patiently for him to finish cackling…and introduced myself. I’ll try to present the consultation to you as best as I can remember it.
Like I said, I introduced myself and asked if he would mind if I called him Cryptie!
“Actually”, he said. “I would prefer if you don…”
“Cryptie” I said, “what you need is a total remake…you need to take your entire image in a whole new direction!”
He resisted at first.
"This schtick has brought me coffins full of money! Why I could make huge withdraws in every bank and blood bank in this city! I am known for this act. It has revolutionized terror-vision!”
“Oh yes” I said, “completely revolutionary!! I have always loved your act. Sarcasm, murderous props and tons of ghoulish puns; it’s always been creative especially when Hitchcock was doing it 30 years ago!”
“Granted…Alfred may have introduced films and waved a noose around but I have so much…scare-flare!! Costumes and everything!”
“Oh! No argument here!! You are truly the monster of a thousand faces…why I’ve seen you come out in everything from a Hawaiian shirt and a straw hat, to a fake beach scene with a death guard costume and some white sun-cream where your nose should be…or a black sweater, a beret and a fake mustache…you know…Hipster Cryptster!…But don’t you think there could be more to horror hosting than sitting behind a table in funny outfits and laughing at your own jokes for an hour?”
“Why not? It’s always worked for the grieve-ning news! Ahahahaahah!”
“Yeaaaahhh, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about, Cyptie”
“I asked you not to c…”
“Cryptie, you could really be accomplishing some big things but premium err scream-ium cable isn’t the format for you…You need to go more main…uh…main-scream. No one is ever going to want to watch a TV show on HBO. It doesn’t even make any sense. No, to breathe new life into this whole show…get yourself re-animated!”
“I’ve got news for you!” He gestures at various bubbling vials and electrical equipment. “I’m about as re-animated as they come! Ahah..”
I cut off his laughter….”Yes yes cute but I’m not talking about rising from the dead, champ. I’m talking about ACTUAL animation! Cartoons!”
“Sigh…car-tombs….animated pictures! A cartoon TV show! My friend…I mean fiend!! What you need is more over-exposure! You need network television!
“Cartombs? Like for kids? That would be a waste of my special brand of sKILLS! I’m not sure I would like the look of blood and guts in ink and PAINt.”
“That’s the beauty of it, Cyrptie! There wouldn’t be blood and guts…subdued horror! No gore!”
“No gore… no way! That concept sounds absolutely terrorble! Me without blood is like Sonny without Scare!”
“Listen…I know it might sound strange at first but look at it this way! There are a lot of benefits to re-branding yourself as a cartoon character! You could do all sorts of wild and exotic things. Walk, for instance!”
“Yeah, you know, the thing that every single other horror host does? Where they get up and move from one place to another by themselves?”
“All by themselves…that sounds…unnatural“
“It’s not unnatural, it’s animation. We would give you legs!”
“Ooooohhh I do like the sound of that…Who’s legs would you give me?”
“They would be your own legs! Try to focus! In this new show you could do much more active things…instead of just dressing up like a surfer and making some scary surfing puns; you could actually surf! Just you the murky depths and the sea monsters! Picture it!”
“I like it but what will the audience think of Tales From the Crypt without the ghastly imagery?”
“Believe me, Cryptie! Cartoons are the future of horror. Mild, toned down horror with a heavy dose of adorable comedy is what the people want. The horror fandom is no longer some bordello of blood looking for every piece of sex and violence they can get their hands on. They want heavy censorship and bright vibrant colors (by the way, you’ll be green); everybody knows that!”
“It sounds frightfully promising!”
“Well, let me just tip the scales for you…Imagine you…the Crypt Keeper…Actually appearing in the stories. No more just doing the introduction and the wrap-up!”
“The star…I can see it now me! By myself, Center slayge! I’ll murder ‘em! I’ll kill ‘em! And after I’m done, I’ll do the show!”
“Well you see…You won’t be exactly by yourself….”
“Not by myself?”
“Um…No. You see as part of the animated series contract, we’re going to be bringing in some additional talent….You know the usual thing; more writers, some artists and of course twoextrahosts…and caterers um…”
“Wait wait…Did you say two extra hosts?”
“Well yes but you’ll love them, in fact you already know them. You’ve worked with them in the old print days! The Old Witch and the Vault Keeper!”
At that point, he amazingly stood up and started to walk out.
“Those guys are total creeps and not in the good way…I work alone and I’m more than enough Keeper for this Crypt! There is absolutely nothing you can say to change my mind!”
It was the point that I told him that the contract called for an all-expense-paid world cruise with The Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira! And that unlike everything else in her life, she liked to moon bathe as nature intended!
The deal was signed immediately and production got underway at once on the new show. Within two months the ratings started to fall and by the end of the year, it was cancelled. A new animation company picked up the struggling concept, changed the animation and lightened the tone even further but it was no use. After limping along for two more seasons, Tales from the Crypt-Keeper was cancelled permanently. The Crypt Keeper immediately returned to HBO and the show got higher ratings than at any time in its history. The Crypt Keeper became an international star and went on to unimaginable fame and fortune!
I hope this story goes to serves to illustrate the amazing ability I have…the natural instinct in shaping the world of entertainment. Through my actions, I was able to single-handedly turn around the career of a smalltime celebrity and turn him into a household name. Sure two different animation studios went out of business and people lost millions of dollars. And sure, Cryptie won’t return my calls anymore but the fact remains that I can work magic. And who knows who I might be able to help next!! Why, with the tract record I have with horror hosts, I could really work wonders with our very own Haunted Drive-In Projectionist! Picture it…the Projectionist surrounded by an all-star cast of marionettes. They would watch a marvelously morbid movie…tell some great old jokes… and maybe…yes maybe…learn a little something about friendship along the way.
Just a thought.
See ya next time kiddies!! Ahahahaaaaaaaaa!