“Tales from the Crypt” visits a number of haunted houses throughout its run, but this is definitely the strongest of those outings. Horton Rivers (Morton Downey Jr.), a TV shock journalist, is looking to give his ratings a boost. Thus, he takes his crew, whom he frequently mistreats, to a supposedly haunted house in Los Angeles. Once they’re inside, however, it doesn’t take too long for the cynical Rivers to become a believer in the supernatural. Trapped in the house, Rivers and the crew are subjected to terror after terror, as the ratings take off.
The key to any great haunted house story is the build-up and eventual reveal of the supernatural threat. This episode doesn’t waste any time getting started on this process once the crew is inside the house. All the best tropes are used here, from moving furniture to bloody specters to disturbingly gruesome apparitions. Additionally, we get to see moments of horror shown through characters’ in-universe cameras, which heightens the tension of the entire experience. This could definitely be considered an early example of found footage horror. All in all, this is an eerily excellent episode that proves trying to make it big on television can really be murder.