FearNet to Air TALES FROM THE CRYPT Beginning in October

Deadline is reporting that FearNet will begin airing re-runs of the old Tales from the Crypt TV show, which originally ran from 1989-1996. On their cable channel, they’ll air the bowdlerized versions that aired later in syndication, while making the original, sex-and-gore-filled HBO episodes available on demand.

Tales from the Crypt was one of the most interesting and unique shows of its time, featuring episodes directed by heavyweights like Robert Zemeckis, Richard Donner, and Willaim Friedkin, and also an episode directed by future governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. The stories were adapted from the groundbreaking, classic EC Comics stories from the 1950s. The ones that were corrupting America’s youth, and led to a 1954 Senate hearing in which US Senators attempted to find a link between juvenile delinquency and comic books. I’m not making that up, that really happened. Here is a sample of some of the testimony given by EC’s publisher, William Gaines:

Mr. BEASER. Let me get the limits as far as what you put into your magazine. Is the sole test of what you would put into your magazine whether it sells? Is there any limit you can think of that you would not put in a magazine because you thought a child should not see or read about it?

Mr. GAINES. No, I wouldn’t say that there is any limit for the reason you outlined. My only limits are bounds of good taste, what I consider good taste.

Mr. BEASER. Then you think a child cannot in any way, in any way, shape, or manner, be hurt by anything that a child reads or sees?

Mr. GAINES. I don’t believe so.

Mr. BEASER. There would be no limit actually to what you put in the magazines?

Mr. GAINES. Only within the bounds of good taste.

Mr. BEASER. Your own good taste and salability?

Mr. GAINES. Yes.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is your May 22 issue. This seems to be a man with a bloody ax holding a woman’s head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?

Mr. GAINES. Yes, sir; I do, for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.

Senator KEFAUVER. You have blood coming out of her mouth.

Mr. GAINES. A little.

Senator KEFAUVER. Here is blood on the ax. I think most adults are shocked by that.

Isn’t it great that we’ve advanced beyond using works of art to scapegoat criminal behavior?