Tales From The Crypt (1972): This is a rather genius piece of film-making. Who would think that a movie could be made based on an anthology horror comic book series? And that it could be done very well? I must say that the producers took on quite a challenge for themselves. But they executed it beautifully. Such an effort deserves the full attention of Polar Blair's Den.
There is no
doubt that this is a horror movie. It's horror, plain and
simple. Not a "comic book adaptation" or fantasy or sci-fi...this
is horror. But they made it PG so it doesn't have the graphic
violence or gore that you'd expect from such a thriller. The
horror here is mostly psychological. And who is better at mind
games than the British? This being a British-made film based on
an American comic book series is interesting within itself.
you click off this page, thinking that "Oh, British. Well, this
is going to be dull as hell," pay attention. This is NOT boring
by any measure of the imagination. Stuff happens swiftly and
coherently. There isn't a lot of fancy talk, and the acting is
out of sight! You can understand everything they're saying or
doing. There is nothing that is "over our heads". They made
this with a very generalized appeal. In doing so, they also made
it timeless, for it is not bogged down with early 1970s fads or buzz
phrases. As a matter of fact, if a person doesn't know it's from
1972, you'd almost think it was made much more recently. Like
mid-1980s. It's very beautifully shot. Brilliant filming,
all in color. It doesn't really look that dated except for maybe
hairstyles, but that's all very minimal. I think this movie will
hold up even 20 years from now. But the way it's done is timeless.
all strangers to each other, are mysteriously drawn to the same tourist
attraction: an ancient catacomb. They get lost from their
tour group and wind up in a mysterious chamber, sealed from
escape! It is there that they meet a strange hooded figure by
name of "The Crypt Keeper".
Before I go
any further, let me tell you a little something. The Crypt Keeper
of this film is made to look human in a monk-like robe. He is not
the gruesome corpse version of the character made so popular by the
1989 TV series. He doesn't cackle maniacally. Actually,
he's quite cool in his speech. Very foreboding and
calculating. The Crypt Keeper is played by Sir Ralph
Richardson. He is a very smart actor in this film and does a
great job. In the classic EC comic books, the Crypt Keeper looks
a bit more human than his much later TV counterpart. So this,
truthfully, is not so much of a stretch from that character. He's
an older, very human-looking man in a robe. TVs Crypt Keeper is
made to be a lot more gross-looking, which works for the series.
But for this movie, it was just better that he looked human. It
left an air of mystery throughout the whole picture as to who or what
Keeper tells each one of his visitors a most accurate prediction of
what they are capable of doing in the future. It turns out that
all five of these lost tourists are, indeed, evil to the core.
The future visions are shown to us through five separate mini-features,
all ranging from 11 to 18 minutes in length. Each story starts
out with the respective "visitor" doing something wrong at a time after
they leave this place. Then, in the story, the wrong-doer meets a
most grisly, but deserving, end.
So the Crypt
Keeper scares the s*** out of everybody, right? What happens from
there? Well, they're free to go. Go, that is, into a fiery
pit! Crypty was not warning them, he was telling them...why they
were going to Hell. So is the Crypt Keeper really the devil, or
someone working for the devil? The answer is not given, but we do
find out that he is responsible for passing judgment on these misguided
When you see
the end of this movie, you will never forget it. Sir Ralph
Richardson leaves quite an impression when he breaks the fourth wall
for the first and only time in the movie and asks, "Who's next?
Perhaps...you?" The grim spectre of death will literally chill
your bones. I think any kind of person would enjoy this film,
whether it be a metal-head or an intellectual. Try it. I
know you'll like it if you're at all interested in thrillers.
story of the film: "And All Through The House". Joan
Collins is the star. She kills her husband for his hefty
insurance policy on Christmas Eve. The wife plots to make his
death look like an accident, while keeping it from her young daughter
who is sleeping upstairs. But while this is going on, a serial
killer that dresses like Santa Claus is on the loose. And it just
so happens that he is outside Joan's house! Well, she can't call
the police for help because of her murdered husband's body, so what can
she do? She does her best to keep the killer Santa at bay, but
whilst working on her husband's "accident", her daughter lets "Santa"
inside. And that is how her story ends.
of Death" makes things a might creepier. Ian Hendry is the
star. He leaves his wife and kids to run off with his mistress
Susan. A quick side comment: Angie Grant, who plays Susan Blake,
is a really attractive and engaging actress. While Hendry and
Susan are driving off to who knows where,
they get into a fiery car accident. The next thing Ian knows,
he's walking around town looking for help, for Susan, for
anybody! But everyone runs from him and he doesn't know
why. He makes his way to his wife's house. She freaks out
when she opens the door and shuts him out. He also discovers that
her married name has changed from Maitland to Wilson by the sign on the
house. So now he's really confused. Ian arrives at Susan's
apartment. She's not afraid of him, but that's because she is
blind. She tells this "stranger" that it can't possibly be her
Charles (that's Ian's character name) because he died in the same car
accident that blinded her over two years ago! He finally sees his
reflection and sees a badly disfigured face. His scream is the
last thing we see.
Justice" is cool. Robin Phillips is the malicious rich boy.
Peter Cushing is the good guy that gets done wrong. Robin hates
Peter, who is a poor junkman living in his well-to-do
neighborhood. So he does everything in his power to discredit
Peter and drive him out of town. Everything that hurts the
most. But Peter hangs himself. A great enthusiast of the
occult, Peter comes back from the dead exactly one year after his
suicide. The zombie learned who was the mastermind of his
psychological torture and paid Robin a visit to his house late at
night. Robin's father finds him at the morning, at his desk, with
his heart ripped out of his chest! Peter's zombie is long gone,
nowhere to be found, but there can be no question to the father as to
who did this and that Robin has paid for his ruthless treatment of his
once kind neighbor.
Greene, at one time TVs Robin Hood, stars in "Wish You Were
Here". But he's not a charming prince of thieves in this
film. He's a ruthless executive whose lifetime of scheming has
backfired on him and found him on the brink of bankruptcy.
Relying on an ancient Chinese statue he purchased, his wife wishes for
lots and lots of money. This is the first of three wishes as the
statue's inscription implies. She gets her wish, in an
unfortunate way. Richard dies of a heart attack while driving
when he sees a skeleton driving the motorcycle behind him. The
Grim Reaper, perhaps? Anyway, his car crashes and everyone
assumes that he just died because of the crash. His wife wishes
him back from the dead, just like he was immediately before the
crash. That's how she found out that he died of a heart attack,
as mysterious pallbearers from out of nowhere bring him into the house
in a coffin and then leave. She then wishes that he was alive
again and that he would never die. Richard comes back to life,
but the embalming fluid in his body is burning his insides! She
didn't take the embalming fluid into consideration. She tries to
kill him by hacking him up with a sword, but he cannot die! So
he's alive for all of time, in pieces, and eternal pain! That's
some freak stuff.
not least, is "Blind Alleys" starring Nigel Patrick. He plays an
ex-Army Major who has just become the superintendent of a Home for the
Blind. Although he provides himself and dog Shane with every
luxury, sparing no expense, he is a real tightwad when it comes to the
well-being of the blind people. He allows them no heat on cold
nights, no extra blankets, and bad food (not even second helpings at
that) all because it's "not in the budget". But when one of the
blind people die due to Nigel's penny-pinching ways, the spokesperson
for the blind, Cutter (played by Patrick Magee), leads a horrible
revolt. Nigel and his dog Shane are locked in separate rooms for
days without food and drink. Shane, a German Shephard, grows wild
and ruthless from his hunger with each passing day. Nigel is
finally released, but finds that a tunnel has been constructed going
from his room to Shane's. Shane has also been released. And
with no way out, the dog tears Nigel to bits! There's actually
much more to this story, and all of these stories, then what I tell
you, but this is the brief rundown.
So when all
five of these people are condemned to Hell, it is preventing the
horrible things from happening to the innocents. Cool!
Joan Collins in And All Through the House segment (1972).
Sir Ralph Richardson as The Crypt Keeper.
Angela Grant (Angie Grant) as Susan Blake in Reflection of Death segment.
Richard Greene & Barbara Murray as the Jasons in Wish You Were Here segment.