Tales from the Crypt Episode 59: House of Horror

General Information

Director: Bob Gale

Writer: Bob Gale

Cast: Keith Coogan, Michael DeLuise, Courtney Gains, Brain Krause, Jason London, Meredith Salenger, Wil Wheaton, Kevin Dillon, John Kassir, Bill Kohne, and Shannon Day

Composer: Alan Silvestri

Air Date: 10/27/1993

 

Overview

Led by pledge master Les Wilton (Kevin Dillon), fraternity hopefuls Arling (Wil Wheaton), Henderson (Jason London), and Waters (Keith Coogan) must reach the top floor of a haunted house in order to complete their initiation. Desperate totales-from-the-crypt-house-of-horror win the affections of Delta Omega Alpha Sorority leader Mona (Meredith Salenger), Arling and the others agree to attempt the challenge—unprepared for the horrors that await them.

This season-five entry deserves criticism for its clichéd premise, annoying characters, and overuse of traditional horror tropes. Tales from the Crypt fans may nevertheless enjoy “House of Horror,” which benefits from a variety of elaborate gore effects, an antagonist whom the average person will immediately and thoroughly despise, and a surprising—albeit poorly executed—plot twist involving the aforementioned Delta Omega Alpha Sorority.

 

Pros

tales-from-the-crypt-house-of-horrorKnown for playing punks, bullies, and troublemakers, Kevin Dillon (whom horror enthusiasts will likely recognize from the remake of The Blob) should be commended for his hateful performance in this episode. Worth praising in particular are the taunting, obnoxious tendencies of Dillon’s character, which compel the audience to root for his untimely demise.

 

Cons

In contrast to season one’s “Lover Come Hack to Me” and “Television Terror” from season two, “House of Horror” fails to generate the creepy, atmospheric tales-from-the-crypt-house-of-horrortension that one would typically associate with a haunted house setting—likely a result of the excessive fake-out moments (e.g. characters mistaking strawberry jelly for blood and a crude, cheap-looking dummy for an axe murderer) featured throughout the tour of said haunted house.

Also problematic is the twist ending, which, though somewhat clever, occurs without a prior hint or suggestion that could allow viewers—at least those of an astute nature—to determine the true culprit(s) in advance of the climactic reveal.

 

Analysis

tales-from-the-crypt-house-of-horrorDespite many goofy and exaggerated sequences, “House of Horror” contains a valuable message on the dangers of taking a practical joke too far.

 

Concluding Comments

“House of Horror” is a hackneyed and over-the-top installment of Tales from the Crypt. Certain aspects of this episode may, however, appeal to those in search of a gory, spooky offering to watch during Halloween season.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

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