Thursday, October 4, 2012

October is Spookey Month: Johnny Craig's "... And All Through the House..."

A few weeks ago we took a hard-hitting look at the 1972 Amicus Productions horror anthology flick Tales from the Crypt, specifically the segment starring Joan Collins, "... And All Through the House...."  It's a piece for which I won several journalism awards and received an offer to pen the film re-adaptation of the Dell Comics adaptation of the classic Andy Griffith service comedy No Time for Sergeants, which itself was an adaption of a stage play drawn from a novel.  Unfortunately, my dedication to this blog forced me to turn down that guaranteed six-figure paycheck in favor of fulfilling a threat-- er--- promise I made to you, my loyal reader.

So to that end, let's revisit Johnny Craig's original story from The Vault of Horror #35 (EC Comics, March 1954).  And here... we... goooo!

The film's version is a very close adaptation (they even kept the daughter's name the same, and the dialogue in scenes with her is almost word-for-word from the comic), but the Craig's story is pretty taut and doesn't lend itself to a lot of padding.  Sure, a few differences crop up here and there.  For example, the comic story is red white and blue in its all-American look at Christmas-related murder.  The movie transplants the story to the UK, where it gains Collins, with Sir Ralph Richardson as the Crypt-Keeper.  In the comic, the protagonist is a blond, while Collins is famously a brunette, a quality that would serve her and her stunt double well on ABC's night time soap opera Dynasty during the infamous Krystle-Alexis fight.  In the movie, the Santa-suit wearing madman throttles the Collins character for a violent comeuppance.  It's a movie and movies rely on action. Otherwise, they might just as well be photographs.  And instead of photographs, drawings.  Which brings us right back to comic books again, where it's just as effective to have un-jolly old St. Nick simply stand there in the final panel.  The reader's imagination supplies the killing.  Or, if you're of a less sanguinary persuasion, the murmured discussion followed by a night of gentle love-making.

Since there's not a lot to say about the story I haven't already written about at great length while blathering on in my usual sub-moronic way about the film, here are some choice moments from the comic.  Get ready to enjoy a little bit of Johnny Craig-style holiday cheer...

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