Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tales From the Crypt: back on tv?

I was in the barber shop yesterday during the shop's peak period and wound up waiting about a half hour for a chair. During this time, the televisions in the shop were broadcasting episodes of a Spike TV program called "1,000 Ways to Die."

The series claims to depict reenactments of actual events, dramatizing instances where someone was purportedly killed by an unusual or unlikely set of circumstances. I mused to myself that Spike probably considered this the more acceptable alternative to broadcasting snuff films.

But as I witnessed more segments from the program a deep realization sunk in; this wasn't a snuff film package, it's Tales From the Crypt with a new name! When I say that I specifically mean the original 1950s comic book incarnation of Tales From the Crypt, the one produced by Al Feldstein, Bill Gaines, et al.

You see, the stereotypical EC horror comic (or really any horror comic book of the early 50s) would introduce a sense of dramatic irony to support the gruesome fates their characters would receive: the man who picks on blind men is trapped in a dark room with grisly death on all sides; attractive women are punished for their vanity by being encased in plastic or burned to death by sun lamps; that sort of drill. "1,000 Ways to Die" takes the same angle, purporting that in each instance the person who dies "had it coming." So the woman dragged to death by dogs on leashes is first established as an animal-hater; the man who annoys people with his RC plane is impaled on the plane's wing; IRONY! In fact, "1,000 Ways to Die" repeatedly uses terms such as "fate" and "karma" in describing the deceased.

But the similarities don't end with the simplistic moralizing; like the EC titles, "1,000 Ways to Die" comes with an overblown narrator who strings groan-inducing puns into the various concussions, dismemberments and asphyxiations. During one segment about a wealthy but foolish young couple the narrator described them as "young, dumb and full of com ...fort." It raised audible groans in the barber shop from staff and customers alike.

I don't have a point to make with this observation, but perhaps the program should give a nod to Felstein & Gaines? Credit where credit is due, I say.

1 comment:

Thad said...

After watching 1000 Ways to Die, I also noticed many similarities to Tales from the Crypt!

I searched the internet for connections between the two shows, and fortunately found this post!