GREETINGS, BOILS AND GHOULS, AND WELCOME TO CRYPT-OBER! For those of you who don’t know, Tales from the Cryptkeeper is a kid’s version of that classic horror anthology show, Tales from the Crypt. It’s basically a cartoon version of the adult show – minus all the sex and gore, of course. Luckily, we still got the same horror theme and the same iconic host, the Cryptkeeper. They even got the original voice of Cryptie John Kassir, to reprise his role for this show. Today’s terrifying tale is the very pilot episode of the show. So, does the show put it’s best foot forward, or are we tripping from the starting line? Let’s take a look at While the Cat’s Away.
Two brothers, Dwight and Stu are itching to buy a brand new bike. However, their travel agent dad doesn’t seem to have the money to get them one. The good news is, the boys have just overheard that a very rich man, a Mr. T. Charles Kingman, will be out of town for a while with his house just ripe for robbing. The two boys decide to do just that. Unfortunately, Mr. “Kingman” has one monster of a security system.
The story of this episode is your basic monster mash with the boys coming up against ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and such. As a monster mash, it’s pretty good, though the monsters don’t feel very different from each other. They’re all just the “grunt, growl, and chase” type which makes them all seem too similar. I would have liked some variety with maybe one or two of them speaking or something. Still, they were effective as the strong-silent types. The moral of the episode, ei “don’t steal,” was put across pretty well and I would even say the kid’s were written very believably. They had a good comradery together. They weren’t too mean to each other, but they weren’t above the friendly jab as most siblings do. I really liked watching them interact together.
The voice acting was kinda… hit or miss. Cryptie was perfect (even if he did sound like he was toning it back for the kiddies), but the boys did sound a little stiff and unrehearsed at times. Still, they were never distractingly bad for me. They at least FELT like real kids.
The animation for this first episode was decent enough. I can say it DID feel like a comic book coming to life. I really loved the monster designs – though for some reason the vampires all looked exactly the same. What, were the vampires just triplets or something? Either way, there were a few stiff points of animation, especially with a couple of the chase scenes. It felt like the animation team was cutting a few corners at times. And, maybe it was the copy I found, but there were times when the animation became slightly jittery, like the tape skipped or something.
CRYPTIE CAMEO: It’s worth mentioning that the Cryptkeeper tends to make an appearance in some of his stories on this show aside from his book-end scenes introducing and finishing the story. This one is pretty obvious: The kids happen to be robbing his house while he’s on vacation. He comes back just as they’re leaving and give them their final fright.
As a first outing for this kid’s horror anthology show, this is pretty darn good. Sure, it could have been better, but it could have also been a LOT worse. If I had watched this as it first came out, I definitely would have continued watching. I recommend giving it a shot if you can find it. Just try to keep your viewing above the law… Or you might find yourself staring in your own scary story.