A few days ago, we took a look at the long and sordid history of the Tales from the Crypt franchise, which began with the line of EC Comics in late 1949-early 1950. The original series only lasted for a total of thirty issues (starting with #17 and ending with #46), but with them averaging three or four stories per issue, these tales of terror added up pretty fast. In those days, comic books were viewed by society at large as strictly kid stuff, but these stories were most definitely not for kids (though surely there were a large number of children stealing glimpses when their parents weren’t watching). Today we’re taking a look at Five Exceptionally Grisly Moments from Tales from the Crypt.
Issue #23: Last Respects
Anthony Colton, chauffeur to the wealthy Mr. Cooper has a secret: he’s not only in love with his boss’ beautiful (and underage) niece Anna, but he is also married to her. When Cooper finds out the secret, he keeps the two apart and has the marriage annulled. After Anna dies from pneumonia, Anthony seeks vengeance against her uncle for keeping them apart even during her final days. He murders the old man, and then visits Anna’s grave in her mausoleum to say his goodbyes. When he finds himself locked inside, he’s worried that he might starve to death. In order to survive, he is forced to feast on the flesh of his beloved. It’s just too bad about the formaldehyde poisoning…
Duncan Reynolds, up far too late reading horror stories, gets a hankering for a midnight snack. He quickly discovers that the prospect of eating actual food sounds so unappealing that it makes him nauseous just thinking about it. He attempts to fight off a bizarre craving, but it is all-consuming and drives him to actions that he can scarcely even fathom. He finds himself at a graveyard, digging up a freshly-buried corpse, and proceeds to dine on the dead man. He awakens, and it all seems to have been a nightmare brought on by reading his spooky tales…until he opens the refrigerator.
Young Artie’s step-father punished him by locking him in the closet for hours on end. Terrified of the dark, his cries and wails eventually give way to laughter. Artie claims that he has made a new friend in the closet, an imaginary fellow named Hozir. As Artie’s punishments worsen, bad things begin to happen to his step-father. First it’s a minor fall, then he slices the tip of his finger off while butchering meat. Soon, it becomes pretty apparent that Hozir isn’t so imaginary after all, though, when ol’ evil step-daddy gets put through the meat grinder.
Professional gamblers Gus Forney and Lou Crebis have a deep hatred for each other, and when it begins to seem that the town isn’t big enough to contain the both of them, rather than strike up a game to see who will leave, they play to see who will commit suicide. After each game they attempt winds up in a draw, they switch to a new one: chop-poker, to the finish! Every time one loses a hand, they wind up losing a limb—fingers first, then toes, and so on. It was intended to carry on this way until one or the other bled out, but instead it continued until there was simply nobody left who could deal the cards.
Handsome Herbert and Sultry Suzanne have a special kind of relationship. They meet up once a year at Mardi Gras, enjoy their time together, and then part. This year, though, Herbert wants something more. He plans to propose to her, even though he hasn’t the faintest idea of what she looks like beneath the rubber old lady mask that she wears. She agrees to marry him, and to unmask…in that order. After the hurried wedding, and a night of passion in a darkened room, he awakens the next morning to discover that his new wife is wearing the mask even as she sleeps. He grabs it and starts to pull despite her protests, only to discover the horrifying truth: there is no mask, and there never was.