... and we began a new treatment...
The Cryptkeeper stands at the counter of 'Hearse Rent-A-Car'.
He's in a foul mood because his car died, and won't run
anymore. He never let a little thing like death slow HIM
down! Today's tale of terror comes straight from one of
the most terrifying places on earth, where zombies walk
the halls and the screams of the tormented echo from behind
... As he talks we DISSOLVE TO a dark corridor, shuffling
figures lurching slowly through the murky gloom. Of
course he's describing HIGH SCHOOL! The Cryptkeeper
laughs maniacally as the lights come up to reveal a
typical high school hallway filled with bored kids on
their way to class. Just another day at William M. Gaines
We introduce Kevin, who is attacked by a giant lemming!!!
Fortunately, it just turns out to be his girlfriend
Erin (hey, at this point we were willing to use any
scare, no matter HOW lame). In car shop, Kevin works
diligently on his car, which he treats like a living
being. Meanwhile Eddie and Herman torture Kevin, instead
of working on their own car. They bet Kevin that by
the end of the semester, their car will be faster than
So we see Kevin going about it the right way -- BUYING
car parts, even though he has to work longer hours at
the local fast food joint to earn the money (we see
him slaving in the kitchen, scraping dirty trays of
food into a plastic tub marked "SECRET SAUCE." With
his bigger paycheck, he visits a spooky Auto Graveyard
and buys the parts he needs (a "Frankenstein" grave-robbing
reference -- very hip).
Meanwhile, Eddie and Herman are out removing parts
from neighborhood cars. So the next morning, all of
the cars pull out of their driveways and crash in a
horrible wreck. The owners all climb out, dazed (nobody
LEAPS out - we avoided that).
That day at school, Kevin finally gets his car to start.
"It's alive!" he shouts (another "Frankenstein" reference
- spooky, eh?). He pats it and strokes it like a girlfriend,
and it seems to purr back. Eddie and Herman look on
That night, Eddie and Herman sneak back into class
and sabotage Kevin's car. But Kevin's car is ALIVE!
It straps them into the seats and takes them on a terrifying
Hell ride (okay -- you can't mention Hell on Saturday
morning kids' shows - it's a religious reference - so
it's a HECK ride)! They end up in the Auto graveyard,
where the dead, cobweb-covered cars all come to life
a circle them menacingly. We DISSOLVE TO...
Kevin and Erin driving home from the prom. Eddie and
Herman have been missing for days. They park and snuggle
near the Auto Graveyard, when Kevin sees a part that
he needs on an old junker -- he snaps it off and swears
that he hears an "OW!" Shrugging, he walks back to his
car as we see the name "EDDIE" on the license plate!
Pretty scary, huh?
Okay, it basically blows -- but it's not TOTALLY embarrassing...
Two weeks later we received their changes:
-- We must include dialogue after each car wreck like,
"Are you all right?" "Yeah, I'm okay." "You're lucky."
-- Now Eddie and Herman WILL sabotage Kevin's car. Kevin
races them in the car, which crashes and is totaled
(Kevin of course LEAPS OUT of the car at the last minute
and receives only a small cut on his forehead).
-- Eddie and Herman celebrate at a restaurant, only
to see Kevin's re-born car outside, which will take
them on their terrifying heck ride. Eddie and Herman
escape the graveyard, and will be last seen working
in shop class on old bikes.
Whatever. We needed the money. Quitting at this point
would be as stupid as... well, leaping out of a moving
car. So we plow into the script, and one month later,
we typed in the Crypt Keeper coda:
INT. CRYPTKEEPER'S HEARSE - LIVE ACTION
The Cryptkeeper sits in the driver's seat, wearing
a chauffeur's cap, talking to us through the open window.
Well, kiddies, what do you think of Kevin's car?
DEATH WAGON, wouldn't you say? And poor Eddie
and Herman, why it practically gave them CARdiac
Well, as you can see, I finally got my rental car
-- which is
fortunate because I'm attending a funeral...
We hear MUFFLED CRIES, and now notice a coffin in
the back of the hearse. Someone's hands are trying to
raise the lid from the inside! The Cryptkeeper smiles
Okay, so I'm a little early... Don't you just hate
The Cryptkeeper laughs maniacally as we...
FADE TO BLACK
So we took the money and ran. Hey, it wasn't HORRIBLE
-- we snuck a couple of fun moments in there. Sure,
we heard they had to change a few things: The heck ride
was too scary, so now the car just held them down with
seat belts and drove them around really fast (Apparently
the networks realized that zombies and ghouls were actually
dead people). But all in all, we had escaped without
The show premiered one cold September morning (Nelvana
never bothered to tell us - a friend at Donner's called
us to tell us it would be on). Well, it wasn't the season
premiere slot, but they hadn't buried us, either. So
we (somewhat) eagerly watched that morning...
The first thing we noticed was that the title had changed:
it was now "A Little Body OF Work," which made no sense.
Apparently it was a typo.
Apparently there were LOTS of typos. Now the girlfriend
was gone, and Kevin had practically disappeared from
the story himself. Not bad cuts - if Eddie and Herman
had anything left to do themselves. The only "scary"
moment in the first act was when Eddie and Herman went
to a restaurant ("Donut Burger," we had named it), and
a ghoul was working behind the counter... but unfortunately
Eddie and Herman didn't see the ghoul, and, frankly,
I've seen much scarier PEOPLE working at donut places.
After watching the first act we noticed something else:
There was no SECOND act -- the cartoon was only fifteen
minutes now, instead of half an hour! What was left
wasn't scary - I've had scarier heck rides in taxis
(while they were sitting still).
I was watching EXACTLY the kind of show that I'd HATED
as a kid.
The second fifteen minutes of the show was filled by
a story about a family on a picnic that shrank down
to the size of the ants that were ruining their meal
-- nothing scary happened to them, they just shrank.
In the coda to that story, the Cryptkeeper was fishing
on a boat. I have it on good authority that in the original
script he reeled in his line to reveal a human hand
as bait. The finished show revealed something else...
a PORK CHOP. It was the psychologist's idea. What, you
may ask, is so scary about fishing with a pork chop?
Nothing, other than the creative process that devised
So, "Tales From the Cryptkeeper" changed. It NEVER
had a real ghost on the show, characters were NEVER
in real danger, and, true to form, kids NEVER watched
again. The psychologist had censored himself out of
a job. The show was canceled after one year, to nobody's
regret. Except mine...
... I really wanted that car toy.
the adorable children's book!
C. Hause has been writing professionally (in
a very amateur fashion) for fifteen years. He's
written screenplays at film studios like Warner
Brothers, Disney, Universal, Columbia, and Interscope;
and for producers such as Ivan Reitman, Samuel
Goldwyn Jr. and Ray Stark. Jeff has also written
for comics and entertainers such as Rodney Dangerfield,
Gabe Kaplan, Rick Dees, and Jay Leno.
Here's his résumé.