(It’s just not Cryptmas without a look back at this Ho-rrorday Cl-ass-ic…Submitted by Anton Phibes. Thanks, you festive fella, you!! 😉 xoxo)
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December… That it was time to begin our Ghoultide Celebration! To most fright fans, the festival of Christmas is as sacred as Halloween. After all, this is the time of Grinches, Krampus, and other mythical creatures. We tend to celebrate this time of year in our own inimitable way. ‘Tis the season to be scary, after all! We’ll kick off this slayride by discussing a classic Holiday tale, “…And All Through The House!”
“…And All Through the House” first appeared in “Vault of Horror #35,” and it may just be the single most famous terror tale those GhouLunatics at EC every devised. illustrated by legendary artist Johnny Craig, it is the story of an adulterous murderess and a mental asylum escapee dressed as St. Nick. As always with EC, this putrid shocker ends with a wonderfully morbid punchline. What makes it great is that it builds tension in only a few pages, and ends with a terrific black-as-coal final panel. Not only is it a wonderful chiller, it may also be one of the first horror stories in media to depict a murderous Santa, now a trope in horror fiction. For those who haven’t read this classic, you can read that poisoned chestnut below:
So popular was the story that when Milton Subotsky and Freddie Francis made their adaptation of Tales from the Crypt in 1972, And All Through the House was the first segment. Joan Collins stars as the adulteress who learns that Santa ain’t as jolly as one might think. I have a soft spot for this one. The maniac in this one has almost a melancholic quality and the blood is a wonderfully bright mix that makes me think of my beloved Hammer Horror films. Not bad, but the next version is so good, it’s become a classic to people who have never even read an EC comic…
In 1989, producers Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver, David Geffen and Robert Zemeckis lauched the horror anthology series Tales From the Crypt for HBO, featuring the beloved Cryptkeeper, a creature far removed in appearance to his comic counterpart, but alike in his corn-on-the-macabre attitude. (HA!! Good one!! -D.P.)
The first episode produced was a new version of”…And All Through the House” written by Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad) and directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit).In this take, the great Larry Drake of Darkman and Dr. Giggles fame stars as the Kreep Kringle from the asylum. Unlike the 1972 version, this one feels very much like an EC story, with over-the-top gruesomeness, Hitchcockian suspense, and a gleeful blak humor to it. As it stands, I don’t think anyone could top this small-screen classic.
Any of these takes are just the ticket for the horror fan to start the season with. Merry Christmas, and don’t let anyone in, no matter how rosy his cheeks are.