Any fan of the old Tales from the Crypt comic book and subsequent TV series will find something to love in the way the authors of Tales from the Gallery tell their grisly stories.
This slim work of horror unrolls episodically, with ten distinct stories packed into its 86 pages. The tales of spooks, specters and ghouls kick off as a paroled jewel thief and con artist takes a stroll through a vaguely described “gallery.” The building is a museum in an unspecified location full of precious artifacts, and the selection drives the ex-con to get back into the business.
During the ill-fated robbery, he cuts his hand and blood oozes onto an old typewriter. The typewriter then comes to life, tapping out stories of terror that feel like a nod to Rod Serling: When a woman orders an unusual curio off of a home shopping network, it turns out to be an evil machine that transports her and her husband to horrific scenes from history; native monsters haunt a doctor searching the Amazon for a mythical plant; ghosts in a Benedictine monastery in Spain terrorize a young couple.
The ten tales are brief, and the authors share the grim fate of the thief in the book’s epilogue. All of the stories concern a fairly straightforward mix of ghosts terrorizing the living. The best of these offer some genuinely creepy descriptions and twists, while the worst feel formulaic and underdeveloped.
The short length of all of the vignettes doesn’t allow for much investment in character or plot, and the stories would likely have benefitted from expansion. Still, this work is a good bet for fans of comic-book terror looking for a quick fix of gore and ghouls.
Also available as an ebook.