It’s not the Christmas season or Christmas in July but somehow, we’re going to discuss a Christmas episode from HBO’s Tales from the Crypt today!
I know the later seasons of Crypt are just so random as fuck and off the hinges but the earlier seasons, especially when the show gets its footing are great. There are great, little nuggets of episodes scattered throughout and this is one of them.
So let’s talk about the second episode of season one: And All Through the House.
While I was watching the opening credits to the actual episode, I saw the name Fred Dekker as he had written the screenplay. I thought, this name is so familiar looking… did he do Night of the Creeps as a guess? Google confirmed it as well as The Monster Squad (watched both last year and enjoyed them!). So I’m walking into this episode with fresher, more knowledgeable eyes and right off the bat, I remembered the ending of the episode so clearly and I’m excited to refresh the beginning, middle and of course the end.
And All Through the House (literally), is about a woman named Elizabeth (Mary Ellen Trainor) who is married but is involved in another relationship and on Christmas Eve, murders her husband to get the assets, run away with her other lover and child. The problem is that on the same evening, a man has escaped an institution for the criminally insane, killed and stolen a santa suit and is on the loose and is nearby. How nearby you say? Well, Elizabeth’s daughter mentions that she saw Santa and it makes you wonder how long he might have been lurking around? Was he watching her specifically? It was mentioned that Santa has killed four (??) women prior and later in the episode, Elizabeth does get a phone call from an officer telling her of this dangerous man is around. The rest of the episode is a mix of a few jump scares, some comedic moments but pure terror. I mean the lengths Elizabeth is willing to go through to protect her secret of killing her husband and fighting off Santa is quite amazing. You might have thought, well, she did kill her husband, maybe blame it on Santa? It seemed that Elizabeth had that idea as well but the problem is that Santa preys on women, especially older women… asking if they are naughty or nice.
The tension seems to fluctuate but not in a bad way. For example, the phone continuously rings and and when you think it’s done, as if the caller gives up, from behind, Santa attacks, giving us another jump scare. She does fight back as best as she can but of course she’s ran by survival and greed. Her downfall was truly underestimating Santa but also her daughter. I know she was a kid but she was annoying. Did she not learn that you do not talk to strangers? Did they not have the full Santa talk? Santa represented this darkness that would continually follow Elizabeth and linger in her mind, almost like guilt. Sure, she’s not fully guilty about killing her husband but it’s her comeuppance. Thankfully, the little girl was spared but I can only imagine her trauma and eventual guilt of like “I brought Santa in my house and he killed my mom!”
The gore is great, special effects as little as there were, were also great. The acting, writing, directing (Robert Zemeckis), this is overall a great and fun episode. Fun fact, I just went to wiki and found that he and Trainor were married from 1980 to 2000. Also just found out she passed away in 2015. What.
There is a special Zemeckis collection of Tales from the Crypt on vhs that has And All Through the House, Yellow and You, Murder. All of these episodes are great and iconic if you wanted to experience more of his work on Crypt. This story was also adapted for the original Tales from the Crypt movie (1972, directed by Freddie Francis) starring Joan Collins.
What do you think of this episode? What’s your favorite episode? Let me know!