Fear of Santa Claus: Television Edition Pt 2 (And All Through the House, Tales From the Crypt, S1 Ep2, 1989)
EC was the controversial publisher of crime and horror comics in the 1950’s. The comics code kind of killed them. Funny enough, the EC Comics stories were very “moral”. Each story involved people doing evil and getting their comeuppance. In 1972 there was a film based on the comics, adapting the stories. And All Through the House was included in the anthology…it was a very serious affair with Joan Collins. It is extremely serious. In 1989, HBO brought the Crypt Keeper to the television scream, I mean, screen. Using popular actors of the time (episodes featured Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Lithgow, among others). Some were big stars, some were rising stars, some waning and some unknowns who were discovered much later. It was a popular show that was eventually brought to the networks (albeit in an edited format) through syndication.
Written by Monster Squad director Fred Dekker and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the episode is both full of tension and laughs. Mary Ellen Trainor plays the wife of Marshall Bell. She kills him on Christmas Eve, and while disposing of the body, encounters a maniac in a Santa Suit. Much of their initial confrontation gets played for laughs. Especially as the Santa Suited killer is the one getting hurt. Larry Drake offers some comical reactions as he is hurt by Trainor.
But of course, Trainor killed her husband, so the story cannot end well. Bookended by the Crypt Keeper, the story begins and ends with bad puns, This is a very entertaining episode, and one of the series strongest. It is a lot of fun for a tale about a homicidal killer in a Santa suit.