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Tales from the Crypt Recap #2 ”And All Through The House”

Tales from the Crypt: Season 1 – Episode 2
”And All Through The House” (First aired: June 10 1989)

It’s Christmas Eve! A woman has just killed her husband for his insurance money. It’s unfortunate for her, though, that there is a killer Santa Claus on the loose. Hilarity ensues.

I know I’m in a vast minority here, but I didn’t like this episode one bit. I just don’t get why this is regarded as one of the best episodes of not only Season One, but of the entire series as a whole. So, what exactly is wrong with this episode?

First, let me profess that I understand that Tales from the Crypt is supposed to be a cheesy tribute to old horror stories (It’s based off a comic, after all). So many things such as cheesy dialogue or hokey moments can be forgiven. I can even forgive bad acting (especially in the first season where the star power wasn’t what it was like in the later seasons), but man, the acting in this one is beyond awful. Most of this is from one Mary Allen Trainor. I’ve seen better acting jobs in elementary school plays (legit). Who did she suck off to get this job? (Oh, wait…) But, like I said before, this is Tales from the Crypt; if I complain about the acting in all of these episodes, we will be here for a long time. The bad acting is not my only gripe with this one, though.

How about the fact that not only is this one of the shortest Tales from the Crypt episodes (it just barely makes 20 minutes), but even in that short of amount of time, nothing really happens? It begins with a two minute intro of Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song (cutting down its already short run time) and follows this with the woman killing her husband. This wakes up her daughter, whom she brings back to bed before disposing of her husband. What follows is about another two minutes or so of her chatting to her man on the side, drinking wine, and dragging the body outside. Exciting!

There is one saving grace in this episode, though, and that is a man by the name of Larry Drake. You may know him better as the legendary Dr. Giggles, and he once again plays a great psychopath (this time forgoing his scrubs for a Santa outfit, pillow and all). It should be noted that I never watched L.A. Law, so I wasn’t over exposed to him in that, but what I do know is when he wants to play a creep, very few people can match him in that role.

Unfortunately, one performance can’t save this one from disappointing like a pair of socks on Christmas morning. I can understand people liking it due to the cool premise (which, at the time, wasn’t completely done to death like today) and Larry Drake. But, thanks to the unbearable acting by the lead and the go nowhere story, this one is a present best left wrapped up.

Cryptkeeper Segment
It begins with what is clearly a midget in a Santa suit and then cuts to what is possibly the creepiest image I’ve seen in a while…The Cryptkeeper wearing a Santa mask. He looks exactly like that creepy uncle who molested you when you were 6…No, not him, the other uncle. You know who I mean.

Punny Goodness
Why else would I be in this get up? Unless there as a…Clause in my contract.

Blood and Gore
I’ll give this one credit. It’s not quite as gory as others, but it gets the job done. A poker to the head and an axe to the hand and head certainly delivers on the blood this time.

Obligatory Nudity
Do Larry Drake’s beautiful teeth count?

Scare Factor
There are a few boo scares in this one, and the blood can get to squeamish people. Plus, the thought of being locked in a cabin and being stalked by a killer Santa can be frightening, but honestly, not to me. It’s just not what gets me, but I can definitely see someone being a bit spooked by this one. Or, I would if the acting was better…

Other Interesting Tidbits
Mary Allen Trainor, our wonderful star actress, was actually the (then) wife of executive producer Robert Zemeckis. It might explain why she got the job in the first place. She is also News Anchor Gail Wallens in the movie Ricochet (*ask Cecil about this one; I haven’t seen it) and a much better Christmas story – Die Hard. The daughter didn’t have a very extensive career, but at least she can go around and tell people that she was one of the girls riding the hoverboard Marty steals in Back to the Future 2. That’s got to count for something. This episode was lifted from the first short story in the old Tales from the Crypt movie, but I haven’t seen it. I am aware this is a crying shame; I’ll get right on that. I’d love to compare the two.

Last Words
A cool initial premise and a great psychotic killer can’t make up for a boring execution and one of the worst actresses in the entire series, and that’s saying a lot. Again, I know this is regarded as one of the better episodes, but I think people are just focusing on Larry Drake more than anything. I just don’t see it, but if you like it, more power to you. Me? I think I’ll sleep in this Christmas (Okay, that’s enough Xmas jokes…).

Next Writing: Dig That Cat…He’s Real Gone

*Ricochet is f’ing awesome – Cecil

6 Responses to “Tales from the Crypt Recap #2 ”And All Through The House””

  • I remember watching this as a kid the night it debuted on HBO, and this episode scared the living crap out of me. In June of ’89 I was only 5 years old, but I clearly remember the terror this one episode brought to me that night. I should mention that this is the reason I chose to read this article first instead of your actual first one.

    About ten years later I caught this on some channel, and it I felt something was missing. The terror that I felt as a little kid wasn’t there anymore, and I think I know why. Back when I was 5, I didn’t notice the goofy sounding music that begin (I think) about half way through the episode. The music really took me out of the experience after that, and I will never be able to view the episode with the same terror I had when I was 5.

    I thought the lead actress did pretty well from what I can remember, and you forgot to mention the role that she is best known for (in my opinion, anyway) which is the mom from freakin’ Monster Squad. Geez, man! Just kidding, it happens.

    Oh yeah, I’m like a Nazi when it comes to writing so I picked up on several errors during your article. Nothing big, though. And please don’t take offense. Another thing: You should add some pictures throughout the article to break up your writing. I write a similar column on my site (even though I haven’t done it in a while) and I think it makes one’s writing more visual and stuff.

    Anyway, good read! I’m off now to read your first article and I’m definitely looking forward to more.

  • Keith:

    Sadly I wasn’t able to watch this one until years later since I got into the series starting at season 5 (with Forever Ambergris of all episodes). Not having cable stunk back then. I didn’t catch it until it aired on FOX (sans violence) so it didn’t quite have that impact on me (I was probably 13 and 14).

    I didn’t even catch the goofy music (I was too fixated on Trainor’s over acting and scene chewing), but I did catch it in the first episode (but it works there as I explain in my review). I’ll have to re-watch it and listen to it (which I am not looking forward to lol)

    I had completely forgotten about Monster Squad, I haven’t seen it in over a decade and through most of my teen years I never knew the name of it (I kept getting it confused with the Fred Savage/Howie Mandell vehicle Little Monsters). I definitely have to see if I can find it on Netflix or something.

    I thought about adding more pictures, especially after seeing it on the website itself. In Word it looks fine, but then when the text is shrunken down, it seems all bundled together and, dare I say, lifeless. Not Cecil’s fault and it is only the second write up so we are still experimenting with it. As far as the grammar, I have no excuse for some of those mistakes, I will NEVER claim to be a professional writer, but some of those are just bad. I’ll have to chalk it up to this being only my second write up and me being lazy at the time and not proof reading. Where did you write for? Was it Crypt related?

    I definitely have more coming and I hope you continue reading them. I also love the feedback both positive and negative so I know where to improve.

  • Iren:

    There is also another pun, at the very end, when Keeper speaks:
    “Be very careful what you AXE for the Christmas” 😛

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