American Horror Story recreated an episode of Tales from the Crypt
American Horror Stories’ “The Naughty List” draws heavily on Tales From the Crypt, but this isn’t the first time AHS has paid tribute.
american horror story has always been a geek series, with artful nods to horror film classics generously scattered throughout its airing. His series of derivative anthologies American Horror Stories is no different, and Season 1 Episode 4 “The Naughty List” openly references another horror anthology series – Tales from the Crypt. However, this isn’t the first time the franchise has paid homage to this Tales from the Crypt story.
“The Naughty List” features a killer clad in a Santa costume stalking a quartet of arrogant young influencers desperate to win back lost followers. This echoes a similar story titled “And All Through The House,” which appeared in the 1972 film version of Tales from the Crypt and the remake that launched the famous’ 90s horror anthology series on HBO. It’s a fitting homage not only to the psychotic idea of Santa Claus, but the kind of gruesome twist that every version of the story is devoted to. While American Horror Stories put your own spin on the episode, American Horror Story: Apocalypse winked at “And Everything Across The House” and even brought in the same actor to clarify the point.
Tales from the Crypt was an EC Comics line, one of the infamous horror titles that ran in the 1950s. The relatively graphic nature of its stories helped fuel the censorship movement against comics in the 1950s and ultimately led to the creation of the comic book code. However, EC had the final say. Amicus Productions, a UK horror film company that often competed with Hammer, produced a feature film version of Tales from the Crypt in 1972, with five different stories from various EC titles. In 1989, a collection of high-end producers and directors relaunched it as an anthology series on HBO. It spanned seven seasons and produced a pair of films and a number of spinoff series.
Both versions included an adaptation of “And Everything Through the House”. The comic book story it was based on did not appear in Tales from the Crypt, but its sister title Vault of Horror # 35, first published in 1954. The story involves a woman being stalked by a maniac in a Santa costume after murdering her husband on Christmas Eve. She feverishly barricades all the entrances to the house, only for her young daughter to unlock the front door for the killer, thinking he is Saint Nick. Both adaptations featured notable names. Joan Collins and Ralph Richardson starred in the 1972 film, while the 1989 adaptation was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who remained one of the show’s executive producers throughout its airing.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse winked at him in an extremely conscious way. Season 8, Episode 7, “Traitor,” involves a member of the franchise’s New Orleans witch clan named Bubbles McGee, who gave up a life of practicing magic to become a star. “Traitor” depicts her filming a fictional film titled A Christmas to be dismembered, in which she plays a woman who murders her husband on Christmas Eve before being harassed by a maniac disguised as Santa Claus. Joan Collins plays McGee, and “A Christmas to Dismember” is almost a shot-for-shot remake of her turn in Tales from the Crypt.
“The Naughty List” removes the meta-reference while updating the notion for the age of social media. But it still carries the same sense of karmic growth that the different past versions have relied on. Like the murderous woman in the previous stories, her four influencers are uniformly narcissistic, materialistic, and selfish. In an effort to outwit the heinous pranks that drive traffic to their channel, they tape a man’s suicide days before Christmas and post. The ensuing backlash threatens to destroy their careers, so they attempt a video comeback by pranking Santa at a local mall, who turns out to be the exact same kind of maniac from “And All Through the. House “.
Once the script is set up, it uses the same gain as “And All Through the House”, with the quartet trapped in their luxurious house by the madman on Christmas Eve and trying, unsuccessfully, to find a way out. The difference is the presence of social media, which literally did not exist when no version of the Tales from the Crypt the story is out. In this case, the four victims finally regain the traffic they so desperately wanted when their killer in the red suit uploads footage of their murders to their own site.
For all of the Christmas ties between the two stories, it’s this shared dark irony that ties them most closely together. “The Naughty List” sticks to that tradition, and the social media upgrade covers the same old sins of greed and self-esteem that “Santa” is happy to punish. american horror story always wore that spirit, but his bows throughout the season weren’t always compatible with the types of one-off bunny punches that Tales from the Crypt excelled in. He pulled a clever reference in apocalypse, but the one-shot format of American Horror Stories gave him the opportunity to revisit the notion as a stand-alone story.
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