Tales from the Crypt (1972 franchise)

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The Crypt Keeper, from Tales from the Crypt (1972 franchise)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1972), AKA Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear
  • Vault of Horror (1973), AKA Vault of Horror, Further Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Crypt II

Summary

"Death lives in the vault of horror!" An anthology horror film in which The Crypt Keeper tells five strangers stories about their deaths; the most "Lovecraftian" story is the third, "Reflection of Death", about a man who returns home from a car accident to discover a nasty surprise....

Details

  • Release Date: 1972
  • Country/Language: UK/US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Anthology
  • Runtime: 1 hr 32 min
  • Starring: Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Ian Hendry
  • Director: Freddie Francis; Roy Ward Baker
  • Writer: Milton Subotsky (screenplay), Al Feldstein and Johnny Craig and William M. Gaines (stories, based on stories originally published in the comic magazines 'Tales From The Crypt' and 'The Vault of Horror')
  • Producer/Production Co: Amicus Productions, Metromedia Producers Corporation (MPC)
  • View Trailer: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: PG (mild Violence and mild Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; could be a very loose adaptation)

The "Reflection of Death" segment is loose adaptations of Lovecraft's "The Outsider (fiction)", and "Fitting Punishment" is allegedly a VERY loose adaptation of "In the Vault (fiction)".

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopsis

When people in a tourist group get lost within ancient catacombs, they meet the sinister Crypt Keeper, who tells them each their fate. The creepy figure's macabre stories involve Joanne Clayton, a wife dabbling in murder, and Grymsdyke, a retired sanitation worker targeted by his suspicious neighbors. Among the other characters is adulterer Carl Maitland, who may face a fitting demise if the Crypt Keeper's yarns come true. In the sequel, five men trapped in the basement vault of an office building share visions with each other of their demise; stories revolve around vampires, bodily dismemberment, east Indian mysticism, an insurance scam, and an artist who kills by painting his victims' deaths.

  • TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) -
    • "The Crypt Keeper" - Five strangers on a tour of ancient catecombs get separated from the group, and meet the mysterious Crypt Keeper, who tells each of them how they will die; but, there is more to his prophecies than it seems....
    • "And All Through the House" - A woman's plot to kill her husband for insurance money on Christmas Eve goes awry when police seek a serial-killer Santa Claus in her neighborhood.
    • "Reflection of Death" - A man has a car accident when leaves his family with his mistress, and returns home to a nasty surprise in the mirror.
    • "Poetic Justice" - An old man driven to suicide returns from grave for vengeance.
    • "Wish You Were here" - A variation on W.W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw", in which a woman granted three wishes sees them all go wrong.
    • "Blind Alleys" - The residents of a retirement home for the blind take revenge on their callous and sadistic new director by placing him in a dark basement maze full of razor blades with his ravenously hungry and vicious dog.
  • VAULT OF HORROR (1973) -
    • "Vault of Horror" - Five strangers descend a lift into a mysterious sub-basement of their London office building, and enter a mysterious gentlemen's club, where they settle down with drinks and discuss their recurring nightmares, only to discover that their nightmares are all too real.
    • "Midnight Mess" - A man tracks his sister to a strange village to kill her for insurance money; when he visits a local restaurant for a meal, he discovers that his sister and the rest of the town harbor a dark secret....
    • "The Neat Job" - An obsessively neat man hounds his clumsy trophy wife, nagging her constantly "can't you do anything netly?", until at last she does The Neat Job....
    • "This Trick'll Kill you" - A magician commits murder to steal a new trick from an humble bazaar performer in India....
    • "Bargain in Death" - A man who is buried alive as part of an insurance scam gets a nasty surprise when he is dug up to collect the cash....
    • "Drawn and Quartered" - An impoverished artist strikes a bargain with a voodoo priest to exact revenge on his critics, only to have his new-found power over life and death backfire....


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • These films have their origins in E.C. horror comic books from the 1950s - 1970s, such as Tales from the Crypt, Crime Illustrated, Shock Illustrated, Terror Illustrated, The Vault of Horror, Shock SuspenStories, Frontline Combat, Two-Fisted Tales, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime SuspenStories.
  • The most well-known horror books hosted by a trio of mocking "Ghoulunatics" known as the Crypt Keeper (Tales from the Crypt), the Vault Keeper (The Vault of Horror), and The Old Witch (The Haunt of Fear); the 1972 film's Crypt Keeper is a more somber version of these original E.C. horror hosts.
  • These comics indirectly adapted a number of weird fiction stories by H.P. Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen, Ray Bradbury, Bram Stoker, Robert Bloch, etc. using a "springboard" writing technique, which would begin by reading a number of horror stories, picking a few plot ideas from them, and developing the most interesting ones into a different but recognizably similar story.


Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes