The Curse of the Arnold Clan
by Johnny Craig
Tales From the Crypt #22[#6] (1951)
Craig is probably the EC regular whose work it took me the longest to warm up to. He always seemed to me to be a bit more of an "old-school" golden-age style artist. Eventually, mostly thanks to the crime work, I came to appreciate his moody work and storytelling.
This story features Robert Arnold, a man who goes through some family artifacts looking for an outfit for a costume party and discovers a book on his family history, where one brother killed another for an inheritance, earning a curse on him and his descendents so that the oldest Arnold gets buried alive every 50 years. Arnold doesn't believe this, of course, and so when a scavenger hunt that night calls for him to find an old musket he thinks nothing of going to the family vault and climbing into a coffin to hide when he’s in danger of getting caught. What a moron. No surprise he finds himself trapped and dies at midnight, fulfilling the curse.
Buried alive is of course one of the EC staples. Usually, as here, the result of a crazy level of stupidity. It has some clever twists, and I like the high-contrast work in the murder/curse sequence.