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
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 to 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.
Known 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.
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 tension 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.
“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
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.