With V/H/S 94, released in October of 2021, serving as one of the most recent examples of a horror anthology, it's safe to say that the subgenre still hasn't fallen out of favor. But whether it's V/H/S or The Twilight Zone, most entries in the genre owe their existence to Tales From The Crypt.
While most casual fans are quick to think of the HBO series, the original was actually a scandalous and successful horror comic series from the 1950s hosted by a trio of ghoulish narrators. Many horror anthologies follow the formula set by Tales From The Crypt, consisting of one or an anthology of over-the-top horror stories with comic-book-like narratives, a message of karmic justice, and united by a creepy host or central character, and they all have some terrifying tales to tell.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
10 Tales From The Crypt (1972)
Those expecting the cackling, one-liner-spewing Crypt Keeper might be a little disappointed at the presence of the mysterious hooded figure leading the events of this British horror classic, but they'll certainly be in for a few scares. When a host of characters finds themselves lost in a graveyard, the Crypt Keeper serves up five different stories that reveal their deaths.
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With all five storylines coming from the Vault of Horror and Tales From the Crypt comic books, this is one of the first true-to-form adaptations of the horror series. Though not as iconic as HBO's version, it's still a delightfully ghoulish collection of tales.
9 The Vault Of Horror (1973)
The spiritual successor to the original Tales From the Crypt adaptation, the only thing that prevents The Vault of Horror from being a literal sequel is the absence of the famous Crypt Keeper, though a Vault Keeper did exist in the original comics. Similar to the previous film, the movie deals with five deceased damned and their twisted tales, but arguably more supernatural than the 1972 original.
With killer magic tricks and a murderous housewife, the anthology maintains the mix of comedic and karmic justice in its horror, although lacks a certain comic-book flair. Even so, the influences of the source material are still keenly felt.
8 Creepshow (1982)
There probably isn't a more blatant tribute to Tales From The Crypt and vintage horror comics in general than Creepshow. Brought to life by horror legends Stephen King, George A. Romero, and Tom Savini, it was designed and sculpted by some of the most talented hands in the industry.
Along with its brightly-colored and darkly comedic anthology of horror tales, the collection is all connected through an overarching narrative hosted by the movie's own variation on the Crypt Keeper, the Creepshow Creep. Intimidation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but this is truly toeing the line.
7 Tales From The Darkside (1990)
Considered by some to be the spiritual successor to Creepshow, Tales From the Darkside has all the trimmings and trappings of a Tales From The Crypt production, though presented in a more contemporary way. Instead of a Crypt Keeper, the film has a child-eating witch who is being told stories by one of her victims, lending the anthology a more connected structure.
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Inspired by the '80s TV series, this anthology does have some familiar flavors. Where other anthologies in the vein might deal in tales of murder, mystery, and the supernatural, Tales from the Darkside has a bigger focus on monsters by featuring stories about an ancient mummy, a killer cat, and a lovesick gargoyle.
6 Tales From The Hood (1995)
This horror-comedy features an anthology of twisted and terrifying tales worthy of any Tales From the Crypt episode. However, its representation of social issues plaguing the Black community and culture is what sets it apart from other anthology films.
Hosted by the eccentric Mr. Simms of Simms Mortuary, the film consists of four tales of murder, mayhem, and all with a poignant message hidden behind the horror. Despite its strange and unusual delivery and urban setting, it was a horror film ahead of its time.
5 Demon Knight (1995)
The '90s saw Tales from the Crypt return to mainstream media in the form of a horror-comedy series on HBO. Hosted by the zombified and zany Crypt Keeper, the series became an icon of the genre, and it wasn't long before it got the full-length motion-picture treatment.
Demon Knight was the first in the film series, and it's essentially an elongated episode of the series with a bigger budget. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since it features Billy Zane as an over-the-top demon looking to unleash the forces of darkness on a house full of potential victims.
4 Bordello Of Blood (1996)
Following in the footsteps of Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood repeats the formula of its predecessor by featuring an outlandish horror story introduced by the Crypt Keeper with a near-perfect blend of comedy and horror. In place of the darkness-dwelling demons seen in the previous tale from the crypt, the film presents a host of ravishing and ravenous vampires luring victims into a hidden brothel.
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The plot is ridiculous, the performances are over-the-top, and the blood flows quicker than lighting. In short, it's everything fans of the series could expect from the Crypt Keeper himself.
3 Ritual (2002)
If there's one thing that the Tales From The Crypt films can attest to, it's consistency. Ritual has a delightfully cheesy and sleazy introduction from a vacationing Crypt Keeper, an over-the-top horror story involving voodoo cult and black magic, and even an appearance from Tim Curry to tie it all together.
The third film in the Tales From the Crypt series features an exiled doctor taking a live-in job in Jamaica treating a man suffering from brain inflammation, supposedly at the hands of a cult's ritual. Zombies, murder, and nefarious plots abound in this weird and wild trip down to the islands.
2 Trick R’ Treat (2007)
Similar to movies like Creepshow, Trick r' Treat wears its horror comic inspirations well on its sleeve, especially in its opening sequences. Although the different stories of serial killers, vampires, and zombies in the anthology are spread a bit differently than others in the genre, the content and plots of the different entries feel right at home in the typical Tales From the Crypt scenario.
The film even has its own unifying character in the form of a mysterious trick-or-treater in the form of Sam. Although he's certainly not as expressive as the Crypt Keeper, he's become something of a horror icon that binds the film together much like his ghoulish ancestor did.
1 Extraordinary Tales (2013)
Although the film takes a more artistic and elegant approach to the horror anthology, this adaptation of some of Edgar Allan Poe's finest ticks nearly all the boxes for a Tales from the Crypt production. Although there's no Crypt-Keeper-esque figure, the role is filled by the ghost of Poe himself in the form of a melancholy raven.
From Fall of the House of Usher to Masque of the Red Death, each is presented in a different animation style with a celebrity voice cast. "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" even pays tribute to the days of the original horror comics with its stylish presentation and comic panels. It's certainly a more classic approach to the familiar formula.
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