It’s an anthology horror movie from Amicus (contrary to popular belief the studio DID make other types of movies but they will forever be tied to their portmanteau legacy) and based, of course, on the popular E.C comics of yesteryear. As well as Tales From The Crypt the movie also takes some story ideas from The Vault Of Horror, another popular title, but I couldn’t tell you which story comes from which source as I am far from an expert in comic books.
What I can tell you is that Freddie Francis once again directs from a screenplay by Milton Subotsky, as was the case with Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors, and the results are almost as enjoyable.
The framing story concerns a number of people who get lost while wandering around a crypt area, funnily enough, but the fun is to be had in the separate, twisted tales that The Crypt Keeper (Ralph Richardson) reveals.
Story 1 – Joan Collins plays a nasty woman who bumps off her hubby on Christmas Eve but then finds herself trapped and unable to call the police when a madman dressed as Santa comes prowling around the house.
Story 2 – Ian Hendry plays a husband about to secretly leave his wife and kids until fate intervenes.
Story 3 – The ever-brilliant Peter Cushing plays an old man who upsets his affluent neighbours by not selling up his house, looking after a number of noisy dogs and being loved by the local children for the re-conditioned toys that he gives out to them. The affluent neighbour plans to spoil everything for the old man but things, inevitably, go too far.
Story 4 – A fun, knowing take on the classic horror tale, “The Monkey’s Paw”, that revolves around a husband and wife who may have found a way to make wishes come true.
Story 5 – Last, but by no means least, is the tale of Maj. William Rogers (Nigel Patrick), a man who becomes the head honcho at a care facility for the blind and who ends up causing so much upset that the residents (led by Patrick Magee) plan a particularly nasty bit of revenge.