Death Lives In The Vault Of Horror!

Last night on TV I caught an old 1972 horror anthology movie from Amicus Productions, “Tales From The Crypt”, directed by Freddie Francis (“Dracula Has Risen From The Grave”).

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Sir Ralph Richardson
Sir Ralph Richardson

Opening with a scene showing a group of people on a tour of some underground caves, five of them get separated from the main party and end up in a sealed chamber where they find the Crypt Keeper (Sir Ralph Richardson – “Time Bandits”, “Doctor Zhivago”) who instructs the five to sit.

Once seated, each is “shown” what they are supposedly planning to do later that night once they’ve left the crypt, in five separate short stories.

Joan Collins
Joan Collins

The first, “…And All Through The House” has Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins – “The Bitch”, “Dynasty”) murdering her husband on Christmas Eve whilst their daughter is upstairs awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Oliver MacGreevy
Oliver MacGreevy

Interrupting the Christmas songs, an announcement on the radio states that a homicidal maniac (Oliver MacGreevy – “The Ipcress File”) has escaped from a local hospital for the criminally insane and is on the loose, thought to be dressed up as Santa.

Joanne sees what she thinks is the killer outside her house, but is unable to call the police without risking her own crime being discovered…

Ian Hendry & Susan Blake
Ian Hendry & Susan Blake

“Reflection Of Death” is the second instalment, in which Carl Maitland (Ian Hendry – “Get Carter”) abandons his wife and children and runs off with another woman, Susan Blake (Angela Grant – “Carry On Girls”). He has a dream that they are involved in a car crash, which then actually happens.

Awaking alone in the crashed car, Carl makes his way home to find that his wife is with another man, so sets off to his lover’s home…

Robin Phillips
Robin Phillips

Story three – “Poetic Justice” – finds James Elliot (Robin Phillips – “Decline And Fall… Of A Birdwatcher”) and his father resenting their older neighbour, the recently bereaved Arthur Grimsdyke (Peter Cushing – “The Curse Of Frankenstein”, “The Satanic Rites Of Dracula”), who has a number of pet dogs and is popular with local children.

Peter Cushing
Peter Cushing

James and his father begin a smear campaign against Grimsdyke, get rid of his dogs and send vicious valentine cards to him, driving the old man to despair…

Richard Greene & Barbara Murray
Richard Greene & Barbara Murray

The fourth tale is titled “Wish You Were Here”. Businessman Ralph Jason (Richard Greene – “The Blood Of Fu Manchu”) is facing financial ruin when his wife Enid (Barbara Murray – “Up Pompeii”) discovers a Chinese figurine that will grant her three wishes.

Her first wish is for a fortune to come their way. When Ralph is killed in a car accident a large sum of insurance money comes her way. Her second wish is to restore her husband to the way he was just before the accident, but it’s her third wish that proves most problematic…

Nigel Patrick
Nigel Patrick

In the final story “Blind Alleys” we find Major William Rogers (Nigel Patrick – “Battle Of Britain”) having taken charge of a home for the blind. William makes drastic financial cutbacks, reducing the level of heating and rationing the food for given to the residents whilst he and his beloved German Shepherd dog live in luxury.

Patrick Magee
Patrick Magee

When one of the residents dies as a result of William’s wilful neglect, the rest of the residents, under the leadership of George Carter (Patrick Magee – “A Clockwork Orange”) plan to exact an elaborate revenge…

The Crypt Keeper finally explains to the five why they are there…

This horror movie isn’t up there with the best of them, in my view. However, it’s nicely put together, has some decent acting performances and plot lines. Overall, this film is effective enough – particularly bearing in mind that it is now forty three years since it was released – to warrant viewing…

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