Tales From The Crypt
| 92 MINS | COLOUR | AMICUS |
The film begins with five people having a tour of the local catacombs. When they become lost, they are greeted by a mysterious hooded figure who goes by the name of the Crypt Keeper. In a secret chamber, he tells each one the manner of their death. Five stories follow:-
(1.) And All Through The House: Joanne Clayton murders her husband on Christmas Eve. While she tries to dispose of his body, the radio announces that a man has escaped from the lunatic asylum. She sees the maniac outside her house but cannot contact the police because of the dead body.
(2.) Reflection Of Death: Carl Maitland abandons his family to be with his lover. They are subsequently involved in a car accident. Maitland wakes up in the wrecked car and attempts to hitch-hike home, but no one will stop for him. Arriving at his house, he sees his wife with another man.
(3.) Poetic Justice: Arthur Grimsdyke, a retired garbage man, tries the patience of his neighbours by keeping dogs and entertaining children in his house. His snooty neighbours, Edward Elliott and his son James, resent him, James especially so, and they decide to get rid of him. James’ campaign of poison Valentines results in Arthur committing suicide. One year later James gets a surprise.
(4.) Wish You Were Here: Based on the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” this segment shows the businessman Ralph Jason on the edge of financial ruin. His wife discovers a Chinese figurine and wishes on it for monetary reward. When Ralph dies in a car accident, she receives insurance money. She has two wishes left! Will she choose them wisely?
(5.) Blind Alleys: Major William Rogers becomes the new director of a home for the blind. He soon begins to make several cost-cutting changes, and while he lives in relative luxury, the residents experience drastic cuts in their living standards. They decide to exact a terrible revenge.
After telling each story the Crypt Keeper reveals one final shock!
(1.) And All Through The House: The maniac is dressed as Santa, so Joanne’s young daughter unlocks the door and lets him into the house, where he summarily strangles Joanne to death.
(2.) Reflection Of Death: He knocks on the door, but she screams and slams the door. He then goes to see his lover and finds that the accident has left her blind. She says that Carl died two years ago from the crash. He then catches his reflection and sees the face of a corpse. Maitland wakes and finds out that it was a dream but the moment he does, the crash occurs as it did before.
(3.) Poetic Justice: One year later, Grimsdyke comes back from the dead and takes revenge. The following morning, Edward finds his son dead. A note says he was bad and that he had no heart – the word “heart” is represented by James’ heart, torn from his body.
(4.) Wish You Were Here: She uses her second wish to bring him back to the way he was just before the accident but learns that his death was due to a heart attack (caused by fright when he saw the figure of “death” following him on a motorcycle). Her final wish is to bring him back alive and to live forever. She discovers that he was embalmed and thus is now entrapped in eternal pain.
(5.) Blind Alleys: The residents subdue the staff, and trap Major Rogers and his dog in two separate rooms in the basement. The residents then construct a maze of narrow corridors, some of them lined with razor blades. The Major is placed in the maze’s centre, and the lights turned off. As the Major attempts to escape, cutting himself and bleeding, the inmates release the Major’s now starving dog into the maze.
After the final tale, the Crypt Keeper reveals that he was not warning them of what would happen, but telling them what had happened. They are doomed as they have all “died without repentance.”
BritMovie: The film moves quickly, and despite its success for Amicus, the anthologies lack real depth and are seemingly too short to do real justice to the stories and the films overall cohesion.
Allmovie: Tales from the Crypt is certainly not a great horror film, but it has a certain magnetism about it that is hard to resist and which accounts for its enduring popularity.
Britishhorrorfilms: Once you get past the inconsistencies, which most anthology films have in spades anyway, you’re left with five of the best, most horrific tales the genre has to offer, with nasty comeuppances for everyone and strong performances all round.
The Crypt Keeper: Who’s next?[looks at camera] The Crypt Keeper: Perhaps… you?
- Directed by Freddie Francis
- Produced by Max Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky
- Music by Douglas Gamley
- Cinematography Norman Warwick
- Production company Amicus Productions
Joan Collins — Joanne Clayton (All Through The House) | Peter Cushing — Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (Poetic Justice) | Roy Dotrice — Charles Gregory (Wish You Were Here) | Richard Greene — Ralph Jason (Wish You Were Here) | Ian Hendry — Carl Maitland (Reflection of Death) | Patrick Magee — George Carter (Blind Alleys) | Barbara Murray — Enid Jason (Wish You Where Here) | Nigel Patrick — Maj. William Rogers (Blind Alleys) | Robin Phillips — James Elliott (Poetic Justice) | Ralph Richardson — The Crypt Keeper | Geoffrey Bayldon — Guide | David Markham — Father (Poetic Justice) | Robert Hutton — Neighbour (Poetic Justice) | Angela Grant — Susan Blake (Reflection of Death) (as Angie Grant) | Susan Denny — Mrs. Maitland (Reflection of Death)