Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS-And All Through the House

From VAULT OF HORROR # 35, from the pre-code Christmas of 1953, a seasonal classic that is bound to pop up on a dozen blogs today or tomorrow... In fact, the beautiful black and white version is posted over at the always incredible Golden Age Comic Book Stories, and here (among other places) is the color version. (These scans from Gemstone reprint.) This story was also made into a pretty good 'Tales From The Crypt' TV episode. Story and art by the great Johnny Craig.

Adapted from the E.C. comics story And All Through the House for the Tales from the Crypt movie in the 70s, and again by Robert Zemeckis in the ‘80s when the television series of the same name premiered on HBO, this story is the granddaddy of scary Santa tales, and still remains the very best. When a woman murders her husband in cold blood, she finds herself trapped in the house and unable to alert the police when she is stalked by another killer…who just happens to be conveniently dressed as Santa Claus. Both renditions of this creepy tale of just desserts are extremely atmospheric, and turn the image of Santa creeping around outside in the snow into an image truly ominous and terrifying. Furthermore, this Santa is not above exploiting children’s love and wonderment of holiday magic to get his way…and in the story’s pivotal twist (as is always the case with E.C.), he does so to the utmost and chilling effect. For being the ultimate Claus creepster and laying the groundwork for every scary Santa that has come since, I cannot help but justly award the scariest Santa of all time award to the Santa killer from Tales from the Crypt, and pray that he doesn’t come down my chimney this year to collect his winnings.

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