20th Century Fox
“Who’s next? Perhaps…you?”
Nowadays, it can be forgiven that the only thing that comes to mind when you mention Tales From The Crypt is the classic HBO horror anthology series, with maybe the classic EC Comics title thrown in as a footnote. And while there has been two spin-off films made, not too many know of the anthology movie Tales From The Crypt that was made in 1972. I know I didn’t for the longest time. I was schooled about that soon enough, let me tell you.
Tales From The Crypt is essentially an anthology film, featuring five different stories based on stories from the comic titles Tales From The Crypt, The Haunt Of Fear, and The Vault Of Horror titles, with a wrap-around story involving a bunch of tourists getting lost in an old catacombs and running into the Crypt Keeper, who tells them the stories.
In “…And All Through The House”, a woman kills her husband on Christmas Eve, only to be not able to dispose of his body properly because a homicidal maniac dressed as Santa is lurking outside the house; “Reflection Of Death” finds an adulterer surviving an accident to find things are a bit odd; “Poetic Justice” shows what happens when you run a smear campaign on an innocent old man and drive him to suicide; “Wish You Were Here” is a take on the whole “be careful what you wish for” trope that ends badly; “Blind Alleys” shows the result of a sadistic director of a home for the blind pushing the tenants too far.
Overall, Tales From The Crypt turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable. I wasn’t too keen going in as far as the quality of the picture; and while the stories may not have the greatest production values going, considering the time it was made, the stories themselves were very decent and interesting. If I were to order the stories by way of enjoyment, I would have to put them with “Reflection Of Death” as my favorite, followed by “Wish You Were Here”, “Poetic Justice” (the one with Peter Cushing as the kindly old man), “…And All Through The House” (this one featuring Joan Collins as the woman with the ironic destiny), with “Blind Alleys” being last, mostly because the torture traps didn’t do it for me. The big twist with the Crypt Keeper revealing the ultimate fate of the tourists he was telling the stories to at the end of the movie…yeah, I had that figured out before they even ran into the guy at the beginning of the film. Again, not because of incompetence on the part of the movie; I just happen to have seen enough of these to have a pseudo-clairvoyance with twists and such.
This Tales From The Crypt is very much worth checking out. Especially for fans of older horror, this movie retains the pulp feel of the stories they’re based on. Light a few candles, pop it in and enjoy.