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An animated spin-off of Tales from the Crypt that ran for three seasons. The first two were on ABC from 1993 to 1994, the last on CBS from 1999 to 2000. Unlike its live-action counterpart, Cryptkeeper usually had kids as the heroes in its stories; therefore, most of the stories had to lack blood and gore. With the horror factor that were more akin to Goosebumps and usually having an aesop. During the second season, the show brought in Cryptkeeper's co-hosts from the comics, the Old Witch and the Vault Keeper, who would usually try to steal the spotlight away from the Cryptkeeper.

When CBS gained the rights to the show, it commissioned a third season under the title "The New Tales from the Cryptkeeper". However, this season had a much more simplified animation compared to the comic book style of the first two. And the stories toned down on the scares. Not helping matters was the fact that the Cryptkeeper was actually part of the stories rather than leading them in, as he usually does.

Despite this, the show has a cult following and episodes can be found on YouTube.


The show has the following tropes:

  • Animated Adaptation
  • An Aesop: As it was a kids' show, this was pretty mandatory.
    • This was even truer in the third season, to the point where it became Anvilicious.
  • Art Evolution: Happened during the channel hop.
    • Also happened in season two to a lesser extent by dropping one of the [1].
  • Call Back: Three sets of characters got more than one episode in the show: Camille and Mildred in Fare Tonight and The Weeping Woman; Chuck and Melvin in The Sleeping Beauty and Chuck (and Melvin) and the Beanstalker; and Ben and Mike in Ghost Ship and Transylvania Express.
  • The Cameo: During the first season, the Crypt Keeper would sometimes appear briefly during a story. Unlike in the third season, though, these were usually unimportant to the overall plot (one episode simply shows his face on a penny), but the end of "The Cat's Away" reveals that the boys had broken into his spooky house, and they encounter him returning from vacation as they're fleeing in terror.
  • Channel Hop: From ABC to CBS
  • A Dog Ate My Homework: A boy accused a monster instead of a dog. Being an Animated Adaptation of Tales from the Crypt, that episode actually had monsters who ate homeworks. When one showed up at the boy's home, the boy said another monster showed up before and ate it. The monster then took the boy to monster land to find the monster the boy described. When the boy eventually confessed he didn't do the homework, the monster took the boy home and forced him to do two homeworks: one to be eaten and another to be presented at school.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The Chuck and Melvin episodes.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Vault Keeper
  • Gainax Ending: The "Game Over" episode.
  • Guest Host: The Old Witch tells "Cold Blood, Warm Heart", "Dead Men Don't Jump" and "Growing Pains." The Vault Keeper, meanwhile, "All the Gory Details" and "The Haunted Mine". Note that each case is against the Crypt Keeper's will.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: David Hemblen (Magneto)/Lord Dread is the Vault Keeper.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The Old Witch and the Vault Keeper tried this on occasion in Season 2. They rarely succeeded.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: In "Hunted," a Jerkass hunter is poaching in South America and runs afoul of a supposedly mythical beast. Determined to catch this beast and make a profit, the hunter pursues it deeper and deeper into the jungle. Just when he thinks he has it, the beast springs its own trap to capture him instead. Turns out the beast was once a Jerkass hunter himself and had been cursed. Forced him to live in the wild, he learned to respect nature and its creatures. He regains his human form and passes the curse onto his captive to start the cycle over again.
  • Jerkass: a fair number of them.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Usually happened to mean or very greedy characters.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the show obviously had to be toned down for its target audience, the third season definitely took this a step further.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Despite the lack of gore, the show (at least the ABC seasons) did manage to be pretty scary.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Due to Standards & Practices giving them a draconian list of things they could not show on television, (being a kid's show gore was a given, but the list also had vague generalizations like "Eyeballs floating in a pink ooze" and "Nothing overly terrifying"), so the writers were forced to use this trope to great effect.
  • Prince Charmless: Chuck in "The Sleeping Beauty". He even insists on being called "Prince Charming".
  • Retool: Season 1 was pretty faithful to the format of the live-action series - a story bookended by Crypt Keeper segments taking place in his old house. For Season 2, EC Comics' other horror hosts (the Old Witch and the Vault Keeper) were added as antagonists - each bent on stealing the show. This prompted the Crypt Keeper to leave his house and "take the show on the road," with his segments taking place in different locales and him being pestered by the competition. Season 3 dropped the Old Witch and the Vault Keeper and instead had the Crypt Keeper a part of the stories (usually setting them in motion). And while the preceding two seasons contained aesops, Season 3 was arguably more Anvilicious (with one plot revolving around teaching a boy the importance of reading).
  • Sadly Mythtaken: "Myth Conceptions," which changes the story of Medusa, though acknowledges so. Medusa heroically defended her temple lair from the likes of Perseus, who was trying to rob the treasures within. Oh, and Medusa can shapeshift and can't be turned to stone by looking at her reflection.
  • Spin-Off
  • Twist Ending: A few episodes had these.
  • Uncanceled: Though it took a four-year hiatus, and the CBS series wasn't exactly well regarded.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In "The Sleeping Beauty", for all his awareness of the tropes of a "romantic quest", Chuck apparently forgets that the Youngest Child Wins in fairy tales (even if he's only ten seconds younger).

Notes

  1. Funbag was dropped, leaving Wang Film Productions and Bardel Entertainment
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