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YMMV / Tales from the Crypt

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YMMV for the comic can be found here.

TV series

  • Adaptation Displacement: Most modern audiences are more familiar with the TV series than the original 1950's comics, especially the portrayal of the Crypt Keeper as a wisecracking revenant rather than a large, ghoulish but very much alive old man. It doesn't help that reprinted collections of the original comics are ungodly expensive.
  • Anvilicious: A pretty intentional and self-aware version of it.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Complete Monster: While many killers were played for camp or Black Comedy, only had 1 or 2 victims, or killed deserving people, there were some horrific exceptions:
    • Sebastian Esbrook, from season 3's "Undertaking Palor", is the crooked mortician of a small town who conspires with the local pharmacist, Mr. Grundy, to murder town residents by poisoning them while they split the proceeds from the funerals. Esbrook murders a woman who previously rejected him, assisting in multiple poisonings before turning on and killing Grundy via acid poured down his throat before attempting to murder the teenage boys caught filming him.
    • Howard Prince, from season 4's "None but the Lonely Heart", is a charismatic young man who courts older, richer women and gains their affection. However, once they've tied the knot, Prince poisons them and cruelly leaves them to die as he reaps their riches, all while playing the part of the grieving husband before he starts the process over again. Prince is willing to kill anyone else who might pose a threat to his operations, as even his own partners in the scheme aren't safe when Prince becomes paranoid over someone discovering the truth of his actions.
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    • Gaston, from season 4's "What's Cookin'", is in truth a Serial Killer who has murdered people in other states before arriving at Fred and Erma's eatery. Murdering Fred's landlord to make him into steaks, Gaston murders numerous other people to put them on the menu. When he realizes the heat is upon him, Gaston attempts to murder Fred and Erma before making his escape.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Crypt Keeper, oh so very, very much. His Faux Affably Evil nature and twisted sense of humor certainly help.
  • Designated Villain:
    • The husband from "Collection Completed", while not a genuinely good person, it's quite understandable as to why he'd snap the way that he did. See Jerkass Has a Point for further details.
    • Charlie from "Dead Right" also comes to mind, taken the fact that his wife was a no-good gold digger with little to no sympathetic traits, yet is our viewpoint character for the episode. While Charlie was in the wrong to murder her, his only sins up to that point were being a bit slovenly and a Big Eater.
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  • Draco in Leather Pants: The main character of "The Man Who Was Death" gets this, as lots of people agreed with what he was doing!
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Inverted in "The Switch", where a rich old man spends all his money on a new, youthful body, only to have the woman he was pursuing leave him for the now-wealthy donor who underwent the body exchange operations with him. It's presented as a Downer Ending for him, even though A: his intended lover was an obvious Gold Digger he's much better off without, B: he's essentially purchased a do-over on life itself, something many, many people would happily trade a fortune to have, and C: since he has regained his youth but retained his years of accumulated experience and knowledge, he could potentially still rebuild his fortune.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Yellow" features Kirk Douglas and his son Eric as a general and his cowardly son, the latter being executed for abandoning his fellow men in the field. Sadly, as Eric died in 2004 of an accidental drug overdose, Kirk ended up outliving his son in real life as well.
    • At the end of "Dead Right," Jeffrey Tambor's character going to jail for a crime against a female character is now a bit more uncomfortable due to Tambor suffering from sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Confession," Eddie Izzard's character talks about his new story idea about Satan being reincarnated as a serial killer. The twist? He's a serial killer that only kills other serial killers.
  • It Was His Sled: The twist to "Lower Berth" which shows the origin of the Crypt Keeper was surprising at the time, but not so much anymore. Many episode descriptions reveal the twist so casually, as does the Season 2 documentary featurette on the DVD.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Jon Lovitz's character in "Top Billing".
    • Leo Burns in "As Ye Sow" who, whilst fundamentally a decent person, was driven to insane rage when he suspects his wife (whom he is deeply in love with) is cheating on him. Even if you don't sympathise with him after he crosses the Moral Event Horizon by ordering a hitman to kill the other man in question, by the time it ends you will certainly wish it had turned out differently.
  • Magnificent Bastard: With its heavy twist-based format, some characters in this EC Comics-based series show themselves as truly ingenious masterminds.
    • "The Sacrifice'': Gloria Fielding and her secret lover Jerry Jasper arranged for Gloria to marry rich dullard Sebastian Fielding, while directing the easily-influenced James to Sebastian so Gloria could seduce him. Luring him into murdering her husband, Gloria fakes not knowing Jasper who "blackmails" James to have sex with Gloria whenever he wishes. Consumed by guilt, James eventually kills himself with a note taking the blame that Gloria burns, she and Jasper complimenting one another on his brilliant planning and her brilliant acting before heading off.
    • "Two for the Show": Officer Fine centers in on the ostensible protagonist when he murders his unfaithful wife Emma and places the pieces of her body in a suitcase. Fine manipulates him, making him panic while promising that teams of agents will arrive to search the bags. After he disposes of the suitcase and switches tags, it turns out that Fine left an identical bag on the train with the corpse of his own wife, who was having the affair with Emma, framing someone else for his crime and escaping scott-free.
    • "Comes the Dawn": Corporal Jeri Drumbeater lives a solitary life in Alaska when Colonel Parker and his right-hand Burrows show up, desiring her help for illegal poaching. When she learns Parker unknowingly shelled her unit in Desert Storm, Jeri lures the two into the local nest of vampires who serve her, her own poisonous blood inedible to them. Jeri attempts to turn Burrows against Parker, while also withholding the vital fact that the sun the far north in Alaska will not rise for another two months just in case one believes he has escaped.
    • "Fatal Caper": Fiona Havisham is the beautiful lawyer for the Amberson family. When old Mycroft Amberson has it in his will that his disowned child Frank must be found before he seemingly dies, Fiona plays his sons Justin and Evelyn against one another, clandestinely working with Mycroft to eliminate them. When Mycroft tries to seduce her after, Fiona reveals she is "Frank", actually a transgender woman who transitioned after being disowned, before having Mycroft executed with her partner in crime to inherit the fortune.
    • "A Slight Case of Murder": Mrs. Trask is an aspiring murder writer who bounces ideas off her callous neighbor, bestselling mystery writer Sharon Bannister. To get real life research for her own book, she fakes letters from Sharon to her son to lure the man into falling for her, making it look like Sharon is having an affair to her jealous husband, poisons the cookies she sends her son to take over and sets them all against one another to eliminate themselves while remaining totally free of suspicion, ending by taking Sharon's latest manuscript for herself.
    • "Escape": Major Nicholson is a British officer disgusted by the venal, treacherous POW Luger after Luger leads his own companions into a trap in exchange for reward. Sneaking a British spy into the prison camp and letting Luger see manufactured coffins while also placing a survivor of Luger's treachery nearby to panic him, Nicholson ensures the desperate Luger places himself into his grasp just when the war has ended so Nicholson will not have to endure releasing him, having decided Luger is "definitely worth a bullet".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Once an Episode. When a character crosses this line, you know they're in trouble.
  • Recycled Script:
    • The host segments in Bordello of Blood are almost the same as the ones from "The Assassin" - even reusing guest star William Sadler!
    • Both "Top Billing" and "Beauty Rest" are pretty much the exact same plot and twist- just with the gender of their main protagonists and their goals changed. One was getting the leading role in Hamlet in the former story and the other was becoming a pageant winner.
  • Shocking Swerve: Some of the Mandatory Twist Endings can feel like this, where there is little to no hint for how the ending scene would be like. A good example is Split Second, where no one expected the lumberjacks to become insane murderers. Another lesser example would be None But The Lonely Heart, where many people probably expected a Karmic Twist Ending but there was absolutely no foreshadowing that it would be that of the supernatural.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The Crypt Keeper puppet itself still looks good today, but the slight audio delay required to operate it meant that John Kassir can sometimes be heard cackling off-stage before the puppet starts talking.
    • At the beginning of Abra Cadaver, you can see the sound mic at the top of the screen.
    • At the end of "Carrion Death", when the vulture kills Diggs by ripping his eye out, while the initial effect still looks pretty good it's clearly a dummy head switched out for Kyle MacLachlan's in the final shot.
  • Seasonal Rot: The last two seasons are not very well liked by fans.
  • Ugly Cute: Baby Crypt Keeper to some while for others, the older Crypt Keeper himself. Must be something about those baby-blue eyes...
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The episode "Three's a Crowd" has a man kill his old friend and his own wife due to be driven mad by what he thought was an affair. It turns out that the old friend and the man's wife were setting up a surprise anniversary party where she would reveal that she was pregnant with his child. The problem is that for all of the episode, the wife and the old friend do nothing but act suspicious when they both know the man is violently paranoid and yet constantly do nothing to dissuade him from his mania. They're less innocents tragically killed than two people Too Dumb to Live. It also didn't help that the two were very flirtatious with each other leading up to it. Which just encourages the husband's paranoia.
  • The Woobie: Quite a few:
    • Bobby in "Fitting Punishment" may be one of the more notable examples.
    • Enoch in "Lower Berth."
    • It takes a lot to make viewers sympathize with someone pulling a verbatim "If I Can't Have You..." moment, but by the time Charlie in "Dead Right" snaps and stabs his cruel, openly spiteful gold-digger of a wife to death, you still can't help but feel sorry for him, especially when he's convicted and executed for the murder itself.
    • Dudley from The Third Pig, being framed for the murder of his brothers and his attempt at revenge against the wolf who really killed them backfiring on him.
    • Patricia Arquette's character in "Four-Sided Triangle." The way she tells old man Yates in a near-cry that she'd rather die than stay on his farm says the most about the way he and his wife abuse her.

The film:

  • The Woobie: Arthur Grimsdyke, a kindly old garbageman and widower who loves to entertain children with toys he made himself out of trash and and takes care of a bunch of stray dogs, who has his life systematically ruined by two rich Jerkasses because they thought he looked scruffy, tot he point of driving him to suicide.


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