There is just something so appealing to horror anthologies, at least for this examiner. Most movies in the genre are bad, but if you have a good story and a good filmmaker, you have a chance at success. Why not up the odds by increasing the quantity of stories? Sure, you’ll get some duds, but also some winners.
Let’s explore ‘Tales From The Crypt.’
Five people find themselves in a crypt run by, appropriately enough, the Cryptkeeper (Ralph Richardson). One by one, they demand why they are here and he explains the circumstances which led to their arrival.
It’s easy to figure out what is going on with the set up, especially after seeing only one of the stories and how it ends. The scenario is really just an excuse to gather five stories, which is fine.
Given the film’s age and British sensibilities, it’s not particularly scary. By now, the stories are very familiar to most connoisseurs of the macabre. The fourth story, ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a direct ripoff of and even refers to ‘The Monkey’s Paw.’ The second story, ‘Reflection of Death’ has one nice scene, but is ultimately, pointless.
As far as the good and memorable, the first tale ‘…And All Through The House’ was redone in the series in a much more graphic and heightened manner, but it is still enjoyable here. The third story ‘Poetic Justice’ is simple and the punchline has been done a million times since, but it is effective. ‘Blind Alleys’ which wraps things up, is a little too leisurely-paced, but isn’t bad.
For those keeping score, that means the odd numbered stories are good while the evens are weaker. Three out of five isn’t too bad a percentage in these kinds of movies. You also have to give credit to a story for doing this stuff far before most ‘modern’ movies have drilled it into the ground. That counts for something here.
There are some familiar faces such as Richardson, Joan Collins and Peter Cushing who help to lend this some credibility.
Special features include: nothing.
This version of ‘Tales From The Crypt’ is very tame compared to most modern horror expectations and even compared to the popular television series. At the time, it’s easy to imagine this as a very impressive production. Looking back, it is reasonably entertaining and admirable, but certainly not a classic.
Rated PG 92 minutes 1972