Ho ho ho kiddies: “Tales from the Crypt”‘s “…And All Through The House” will give you Christmas goosebumps

By on December 25, 2015

Ho ho ho kiddies… “…And All Through The House” — a season one episode of HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt” that originally aired in 1989 — is, as the Cryptkeeper tells us, a bit of a Christmas goose story… “goosebumps, that is.” (Okay, that was pretty bad, we admit it.)

We don’t wanna spoil this one for you too much, you’ll just have to watch, but we can tell you this one’s about greedy woman (played by actress Mary Ellen Trainor, who died earlier this past year) who makes the mistake of murdering her husband on Christmas Eve while an escaped mental patient dressed in a Santa Claus outfit is out on the loose.

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Larry Drake plays the psycho Saint Nick, in what become one of the most notable icons of the Tales from the Crypt franchise. Drake was best known at the time for his Emmy-winning portrayal of Benny Stulwitz, a mentally retarded clerk working at the offices Los Angeles-based law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak in TV’s “L.A. Law” (circa 1988-1989), although his IMDB listing shows that he’s been working pretty steadily for several decades.

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“…And All Through the House” — written and illustrated by Johnny Craig — first appeared in the 35th issue of William Gaines’s comic The Vault of Horror (March 1954), one of the sister publications of the more-famous title Tales from the Crypt, published by EC Comics. The “psycho killer at large” radio announcement, incidentally, mentions Gaines County, referencing Gaines.

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This story was first developed for the the original Tales From The Crypt anthology movie, from 1972, with Joan Collins playing the part of the woman.

This episode for HBO’s horror anthology series was written by Fred Decker (writer/director of the 1986 comedic horror film Night of the Creeps), and directed by Robert Zemeckis, who probably needs no introduction. It was one of three that were broadcast on the show’s 90-minute premiere on June 10, 1989, a full half-year before Christmas. The show’s star producers each directed an episode each: The first was directed by Walter Hill, this second chapter was directed by Zemeckis, and the third was directed by Richard Donner.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.