The reboot of Tales from the Crypt has stalled at TNT. In 1989, HBO began airing episodes of a horror anthology series based on some comic books from the 1950s. Hosting each episode was the Crypt Keeper, a decaying corpse who did not let his death or rotting body stop him from telling the scariest stories that he knew. The Crypt Keeper was voiced by actor John Kassir and known for his off-color puns and high-pitched cackle. Because the show aired on HBO, it was able to get away with more of the violence, gore, and nudity that most TV shows had to avoid.
The show ran until 1996, and three movies were also released with the Crypt Keeper as host. The third of those films — Ritual –– was initially only released internationally in 2001 and with the Crypt Keeper cut. Five years later, it was finally given a DVD release in the United States, with the Crypt Keeper’s parts intact. There was also an animated spinoff for children called Tales From the Cryptkeeper – which was very toned down, of course. Last year, it was announced that TNT and M. Night Shyamalan were rebooting the series.
Back in December, the reboot was stalled due to issues with the rights. Now Deadline is reporting that the stall is indefinite, and that TNT is moving on to another project — a science-fiction show with Ridley Scott. TNT and TBS President Kevin Reilly explained the reasoning behind the decision:
“That one got really caught up in a complete legal mess unfortunately with a very complicated underlying rights structure. We lost so much time, so I said, ‘Look, I’m not waiting around four years for this thing’. Maybe that will come back around but in the meantime, Ridley Scott had come up, who has so much creative enthusiasm.”
In spite of the stall, things seemed optimistic only a few months ago, when two promotional clips were released. Now it seems as though the issues with who owns the rights to the property have not been solved after so much time and effort has been spent. There is always the possibility that Shyamalan can try to find a new network for the show. Possibly even a channel with less restrictions, such as Netflix or returning the series to HBO so that it can have the adult content that the original series utilized so often. But he may not be able to do so until the situation with the rights is worked out.
The original Tales from the Crypt featured many of the most famous actors and directors in Hollywood at the time. It also made history as the first television show to digitally insert actors into footage. Both Alfred Hitchcock and Humphrey Bogart were a part of an episode called ‘You, Murderer’ even though both men had been dead for decades.
TNT might have moved on from Tales From the Crypt, but it is possible that Shyamalan may continue trying to find a way to make the series work and bring the Crypt Keeper back to our screens one day.