When HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt” was on the air, we didn’t know how good we had it. The campy anthology horror series frequently featured some of the best talent money could buy—A-list actors, directors, and writers letting loose and having a ball left and right. We didn’t appreciate it for what it was at the time, because we were too distracted by the “brief nudity” warning that proceeded every episode.
If you were a 12-year-old attracted to women growing up before the internet, your entire goal in life was seeing boobs. A single glimpse was worth bragging about at the lunch table for weeks to come.
We’ve channeled our inner 12-year-old (it’s not hard for us) and ranked the top 30 episodes of this iconic series that we stayed up past curfew to watch in the desperate hope of seeing breasts for 5 seconds.
30. People Who Live in Brass Hearses
“Tales from the Crypt” is known for its puns, but you gotta respect putting one right there in the title of the episode. That being said, this one was a letdown, brief nudity-wise. You know there were boobs on set. Bill Paxton and Brad Dourif? They were probably beating off boobies left and right just to get to and fro. I bet they even had a cool nickname for themselves, like the Boobie Brothers or something. Would it have killed you to put just one of those boobs on camera HBO? Our free weekend ends tonight, thanks for nothing!
29. What’s Cookin’
No boobs. Superman is in it, but he doesn’t fly or anything. Zero stars.
28. The Ventriloquist’s Dummy
If you’re gonna have a horror anthology show, you gotta have a couple creepy doll episodes. This particular one features an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent. Directed by Richard Donner, co-written by “The Shawshank Redemption” scribe Frank Darabont, and starring legendary insult comic Don Rickles playing against Bobcat Goldthwait. It’s a stacked episode, except when it comes to stacks. Not a single boob in the whole damn thing. I stayed up past 11 on a school night for this?!
27. None but the Lonely Heart
This was Tom Hanks’ directorial debut, and we have just one note: boobs! Come on man, you were in “Bachelor Party,” you know how this works! It’s a satisfying ‘con-man meets macabre demise’ tale, but since it revolves around a black widower targeting rich old women, it’s almost impossible to masturbate to. 2 stars.
26. Collection Completed
Over the years we’ve come to respect the hell out of character actor M Emmet Walsh’s work. At the age of 12, staying up past bedtime with HBO on mute literally praying to see breasts, we hated him. One look at him and we thought “Great, another boobless episode of “Tales from the Crypt,” why do they even do these?!”
25. Television Terror
There was a time in this country when hard-hitting shock-journalists dominated the media landscape. In this episode, we meet reporter Horton Rivers, who is filming on location at a supposedly haunted house. What does his crew find? Not a single goddamn boob that’s what. Big points for incorporating the found footage horror style years before “The Blair Witch Project” but if there’s one thing a sleazy early ’90s journalist should understand it’s “sex sells.”
Another Richard Donner/Frank Darabont collaboration sees an old west gunslinger confronted by the ghosts of his past. Well, apparently no one in this dude’s past had big ol’ titties. Negative 4 stars.
23. Top Billing
We had high hopes that “top billing” was a trademark Crypt Keeper pun of some kind, and that the episode would feature lots of babes tops. As soon as the name Jon Lovitz came on the screen we knew that could not be the case. Jon plays an annoying actor who can’t get a part because of his looks (big stretch) and decides to murder his competition. We turned it off halfway through to see if we could make out any action from the static on the Spice channel.
22. The Switch
A rich elderly man undergoes an experimental procedure to make himself young again in order to satisfy his much younger girlfriend. Okay, we get that not all of these can have boobs in them, even at 12 we understood it’s a roll of the dice, but this one was directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger! The guy who gave us 3 breasted women in “Total Recall!” Thanks a lot, Governator, how am I supposed to pump my iron to some young bodybuilder with William Hickey’s voice?
21. Two for the Show
This might be the first thing Traci Lords was in where she doesn’t show her boobs. This one hurt.
20. Split Second
Ugh, I don’t know, this one looked like it was gonna have boobs like there was this hot lady on top of this lumberjack guy and they were doing sex stuff in their underwear, but then I heard my mom come down the stairs so I had to change the channel and pretend to be asleep. Thanks mom. Lame.
19. Beauty Rest
A tale of jealousy and murder set in the modeling world that somehow manages to lack even the briefest of nudity. Really dropped the ball here Mr. Crypt Keeper.
18. Easel Kill Ya
Tim Roth stars as Jack Craig, a struggling artist who can still afford a huge studio space because it’s a TV show. When Jack finds that only his most macabre paintings sell he realizes he has no choice but to kill for inspiration. It’s an interesting commentary on our obsession with death and the role of the artist, which raises a lot of questions. Questions like “Why couldn’t he just paint boobies?” This episode could be wall-to-wall boobs, and then like a ghost or whatever, but sadly they went a different way. There is a sex scene where you do see a lady’s butt which is super cool, but her nips stay just out of frame. 2 stars.
17. Four-Sided Triangle
A farmer tries to sleep with a blackmailed semi-captive girl on his farm by exploiting her mental illness. It’s a pretty messed up plot, but when it first aired and we were in middle school we thought the plot was just “Patricia Arquette is in a wet tank top.” Anyway, he gets what’s coming to him.
16. Fitting Punishment
A miserly and abusive funeral home owner takes in his nephew after his parents are killed in an accident. The boy clashes with his uncle over his miserly habits, like stealing the corpse’s gold teeth and embalming them with tap water. When he threatens to go to the police the mortician murders him, which is a big mistake in “Tales from the Crypt” and sure enough his nephew’s ghost comes back for revenge. It’s a thrilling episode and the parts where we weren’t frantically scanning the screen for a nipple had us on the edge of our seat. In other words, at no point were we on the edge of our seats.