Tales from the Crypt—Season 1

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice, solid, creepy anthology

Short season leaves you wanting more


Welcome children!

Welcome to the Crypt Keeper’s crypt…he has lots of stories to tell you.  Some are funny, but all are deadly.  When you enter the crypt, don’t expect to leave with your life.

Tales from the Crypt was one of HBO’s early ventures into television shows when it premiered in 1989.  It was an anthology series based on EC Comics from the 1950s and recreated many of the stories from the comic series.

Although it is called Tales from the Crypt, none of the stories in the first season actually came from Tales from the CryptCrypt of Terror, Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear provide the source material for the episodes and episode 2, “And All Through the House” about a deranged Santa stalking a killer wife had already been presented in the old 1972 film Tales from the Crypt (the film version starred Joan Collins).

The first season is unfortunately a short season made up of six half-hour shows.  That means it isn’t much of a commitment.  I say unfortunately because it is over just as you get going on the Crypt Keeper’s spooky journey.  Tales from the Crypt is quite enjoyable and this little taste leaves you wanting more.


Ho, ho,ho…Merry Christmas!

Tales from the Crypt is like lots of anthology shows in that it doesn’t matter if an episode is so-so, since the next episode might be better.  Smartly, Tales from the Crypt always brought in decent actors and great directors to direct their episodes.  The first season directors are Walter Hill (The Man Who Was Death), Robert Zemeckis (And All Through the House), Richard Donner (Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone), Howard Deutch (Only Sin Deep), Tom Holland (Lover Come Hack to Me), and Mary Lambert (Collection Complete).  Today, you might not know all the directors off hand, but at the time they were pretty famous.

Tales from the Crypt is a fun series and you can often pick up seasons 1 & 2 for cheap.  It is worth it.  The show is fast movie quick, and even if you can guess how the twist ending is going to be revealed, it is fun watching how the show gets there.  The Crypt Keeper’s quips at the beginning and end of the show are worth the price of admission by themselves.

Tales from the Crypt—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“The Man Who Was Death”

1.1       The Man Who Was Death Airdate:  06/10/89

A man named Niles Talbot (William Sadler) who runs the electric chair at the hospital tells about how he executes people, and how he likes his job.  When the death penalty is rescinded, Niles finds himself out of a job.  When Niles decides to keep up his work by punishing the guilty, he might get the last laugh.  Adapts Crypt of Terror #17


“And All Through the House”

1.2       And All Through the House Airdate:  06/10/89

A wife (Mary Ellen Trainor) kills her husband (Marshall Bell) on Christmas Eve while her daughter waits for Santa…Unknown to the wife, a mental patient dressed as Santa (Larry Drake) has escaped and is killing women.  When the deranged Santa traps her in the house, her crime might be exposed.  Adapts Vault of Horror #35


“Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone”

1.3       Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone Airdate:  06/10/89

Ulric (Joe Pantoliano) is gifted with the nine-lives of a cat by Dr. Emil Manfred (Gustav Vintas).  When Dr. Manfred and Ulric teams with a barker (Robert Wuhl), Ulric sets to make himself a fortune by dying on stage.  Adapts Haunt of Fear #21


“Only Sin Deep”

1.4       Only Sin Deep Airdate:  06/14/89

A killer prostitute named Sylvia Vane (Lea Thompson) offers to trade her “beauty” to a pawn shop dealer (Britt Leach) for the money she needs to try to get a man, but Sylvia discovers that the pawn shop owner might not be as crazy as she thought when she begins to rapidly age.  Adapts Haunt of Fear #24


“Lover Come Hack to Me”

1.5       Lover Come Hack to Me Airdate:  06/21/89

Peggy (Amanda Plummer) marries Charles (Stephen Shellen) against her family’s wishes and Charles is accused of trying to steal the family fortune.  When their car breaks down on a country road, Peggy and Charles enter what appears to be an abandoned home, but they discover that someone might have planned everything.  As Charles plots to get Peggy’s money, who is playing who?  Adapts Haunt of Fear #19


“Collection Complete”

1.6       Collection Completed Airdate:  06/28/89

Forced to retire at 65, Jonas (M. Emmet Walsh) tries to adjust to his new life of leisure and forced to spend time with his animal-obsessed wife Anita (Audra Lindley).  When the animals get too much for Jonas, he has to find a new hobby.  Adapts Vault of Horror #25

Related Links:

Tales from the Crypt—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Crypt—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Crypt—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Crypt—Season 5 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Crypt—Season 6 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Crypt—Season 7 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Tales from the Crypt (1972)

The Vault of Horror (1973)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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