No matter how much we 90s kids might want it, Tales from the Crypt will likely never get rebooted. According to Bloody Disgusting, last weekend’s Terror Con in Marlborough, MA, saw John Kassir, the infamous Crypt Keeper himself, revealing some insight into the twisted world of Tales from the Crypt and the labyrinthine rights issues that have thwarted attempts at a reboot.
As fans gathered to hear Kassir’s darkly comedic musings, he peeled back the cryptic layers surrounding the beloved horror anthology series and its ongoing struggles to claw its way back to the small screen.
John Kassir, the Crypt Keeper himself, explained to fans at a convention the rights issues stopping a Tales from the Crypt reboot.
Before Tales from the Crypt was a delightfully terrifying television show, it was a comic book. The rights to the story were granted to producers of the show in the late 80s. “We’re talking about Joel Silver, who did all the Lethal Weapons, the Die Hard movies, the Matrix movies,” Kassir said, explaining how powerful the producers in charge of the show were.
“He’s a very big producer, and he also has a reputation of being one of the biggest assholes in the business. You didn’t hear me say that, but you did!” Kassir added at the end, causing the audience to laugh.
In addition to Silver, Tales from the Crypt boasted an impressive roster of producers, including luminaries like Dick Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, and Bob Zemeckis, all eager to breathe life into the Crypt Keeper’s eerie tales. They amassed a legion of stars and directors, with names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael J. Fox, and Tom Hanks all clamoring to be a part of the macabre universe. It was a sickly sweet beginning to what would soon become an iconic series.
Kassir noted that the original Tales from the Crypt was fairly expensive to produce, hinting that it’s probably for the best that the series can’t get renewed.
But the horror began to unravel just as the show was at the peak of its success. Kassir explained that after 93 episodes and a couple of movies, the rights to Tales from the Crypt lapsed with no hope of getting them back as Wiliam Gaines, the publisher of EC Comics, had passed away, sealing away the rights to his creepy stories in his wake.
Sadly, Kassir is convinced that Gaines would grant the rights to renew Tales from the Crypt in a heartbeat if he were here to sign the papers. But unfortunately, the EC publisher is no longer available in the mortal realm to make that decision. “The rights reverted to the family, who probably gave them to a lawyer, who probably doesn’t work in the industry,” Kassir lamented.
“For them to do more, they would have to get the rights back, which they haven’t been able to get EC Comics to grant.”John Kassier discussing Tales from the Crypt’s rights issues
This rights nightmare played out like a true horror story. Kassir explained how the original producers from the 90s show still own the Crypt Keeper but can’t create any new Tales from the Crypt episodes involving him. “For them to do more, they would have to get the rights back, which they haven’t been able to get EC Comics to grant.”
Kassir noted that the original Tales from the Crypt was fairly expensive to produce, hinting that it’s probably for the best that the series can’t get renewed. The Crypt Keeper himself was a major expense as it took five puppeteers to operate him, all of whom had to be paid. To save the expense, producers would probably opt for CGI today, which would probably ruin the gothic charm the original series was known for.
So, for now, it seems that the rights to Tales from the Crypt are locked away. It would take nothing less than a supernatural occurrence to change the minds of Gaines’ legacy holders. Unless that happens, horror enthusiasts can only hope for the original series to rise from the grave on Blu-ray someday, providing a nostalgic chill for those who still long for the Crypt Keeper’s eerie tales.