The Vault Of Horror
| 83 MINS | COLOUR | AMICUS |
Five men arrive in an elevator in an office block in London. The elevator takes them down to a low-level basement, and when they find what seems to be a gentleman’s room, they sit down and relate their recurring nightmares to one another.
(1.) Midnight Mess: After tracking his sister to a strange town, Harold kills her to claim the inheritance money. Taking a meal at a local restaurant, he finds all the patrons share a deadly secret.
(2.) The Neat Job: Gritchit, an extremely fastidious person, lives with his young wife Eleanor. When he finds that she is not as house-proud as he had hoped for, he drives her mad with his constant nagging, and the consequences are deadly.
(3.) This’ll Trick You: Sebastian, a magician, and his wife are in India looking for new tricks. When he sees a woman perform an impressive basket trick, he invites her to his hotel room to find out how it is done.
(4.) Bargain in Death: Maitland and his friend Alex come up with a plot to scam insurance money. When Maitland is buried alive as part of the plot, he is double-crossed by Alex, who leaves Maitland to suffocate.
(5.) Drawn and Quartered: Moore is a painter living in Haiti. When he gets cheated by the art establishment, he swears vengeance on its members. A voodoo priest gives him a strange power which he wields with aplomb.
The concluding piece tells how the five men came to be there.
(1.) Midnight Mess: The town is a nest of vampires and his sister is one of them. Patrons of the restaurant, his sister included, drink his blood as his jugular vein is tapped as a drinks dispenser.
(2.) The Neat Job: Gritchit shouts to his wife, “Can’t you do anything neatly?” She kills him with a hammer and neatly cuts up his corpse, putting all his organs in labelled jars.
(3.) This’ll Trick You: He asks the woman back to his hotel room to perform the impressive Indian rope-trick. Sebastian kills her, and then tries to perform the trick himself. His wife climbs the rope only to disappear with a scream. The rope then stretches around his neck and hangs him. The original performer of the trick appears outside, alive and well.
(4.) Bargain in Death: Two trainee doctors, Tom and Jerry, bribe a gravedigger to dig up a corpse to help with their studies. When Maitland’s coffin is opened, he jumps up gasping for air, causing Tom and Jerry to run out into the middle of the road in front of Alex’s car, which crashes killing him. The gravedigger kills Maitland by bashing him over the head.
(5.) Drawn and Quartered: Moore paints pictures of his intended victims and then mutilates them. Each man suffers a terrible fate. A self-portrait of Moore’s is destroyed when a careless workman spills paint thinner over it. Meanwhile, Moore’s head is crushed beyond all recognition by a passing truck.
The five ponder the meaning of their nightmares. The lift door opens, and they find themselves looking out onto a graveyard. They walk out and disappear one by one. Sebastian explains that they are damned souls doomed to tell the story of their evil deeds for all eternity.
Britishhorrorfilms: Vault Of Horror is a great anthology – more camp than Asylum or Tales From The Crypt, but infinitely more enjoyable than the turgid Torture Garden.
Mondoesoterica: Vault of Horror is one of the best Amicus anthology pieces, with three very good stories (parts one, two and five) although the first and last could have used a little extending, an interesting story (part three) and only one duff.
Timeout: Paralysingly pedestrian, despite the fact that each of the stories harbours an ingeniously ghoulish conceit.
- Directed by Roy Ward Baker
- Produced by Charles W. Fries & Milton Subotsky
- Music by Douglas Gamley
- Cinematography Denys N. Coop
- Production company Amicus Productions
- Only Amicus anthology film in which Peter Cushing does not appear.
Dawn Addams — Inez | Tom Baker — Moore | Michael Craig Maitland | Denholm Elliott — Diltant | Glynis Johns — Eleanor | Edward Judd — Alex | Curt Jurgens — Sebastian | Anna Massey — Donna | Daniel Massey — Rogers | Terry-Thomas — Critchit | Robin Nedwell — Tom | Geoffrey Davies Jerry | Terence Alexander — Breedley | Ishaq Bux — Fakir | John Forbes-Robertson — Wilson