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"A classic Freddie Francis directed horror film."
jamesraeburn200320 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
*CAUTION - HUGE SPOILERS* Five strangers are separated from their tour party while touring ancient catacombs. In attempt to find the others, they end up trapped in an eerie crypt where they meet the Cryptkeeper (SIR RALPH RICHARDSON), a sinister monk who shows them their grisly fortunes.

AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE: Joanne Clayton (JOAN COLLINS) murders her husband on Christmas Eve for his life insurance but ends up being attacked by a psychopathic killer dressed as Father Christmas.

REFLECTION OF DEATH: Carl Maitland (IAN HENDRY) leaves his family for his young mistress Susan (ANGIE GRANT). As they drive off into the night, their car crashes into a ravine. Carl manages to struggle out of the wreckage but Susan is nowhere to be found. Everyone he approaches runs off in fear at the sight of him and when he manages to get to Susan's flat, he discovers that she was blinded by the accident and that he had died two years previously. Bewildered, Carl looks into a mirror and discovers that he is a walking corpse. Suddenly Carl awakens and it was all a nightmare, but then the car crashes exactly as it did in his dream and the horror begins for real!

POETIC JUSTICE: Ruthless property developer James Elliot (ROBIN PHILIPS) feels that his neighbour, the kindly dustman Arthur Grimsdyke (PETER CUSHING) is an eyesore. However, his property has considerable land value and Elliot launches a smear campaign in the hope that he will sell up and leave. Instead Grimsdyke commits suicide after he sent him a number of poison Valentine cards, but a year on Grimsdyke returns from the grave to deliver a particularly grisly St Valentine's Day present!

WISH YOU WERE HERE: Ruthless business tycoon Ralph Jason (RICHARD GREENE) is declared bankrupt by his lawyer Charles Gregory (ROY DOTRICE). But Jason's wife Enid (BARBARA MURRAY) has discovered a statuette, which can grant three wishes. After Ralph is killed in a car crash, Enid wishes her husband alive forever and as a result Jason returns from the dead. However, his body has been embalmed and this means that he must live in eternal agony forever. Enid attempts to end is suffering by chopping him up with a sword, but this means that his suffering is only increased.

BLIND ALLEYS: Selfish Major William Rogers (NIGEL PATRICK) takes over the running of a home for the blind. However, Rogers uses funds allocated to the needs of his patients for his own comfort. When his negligence results in the death of one of them, the other patients exact a nasty revenge, in which Rogers is trapped in a corridor lined with razor blades and is set upon by his vicious starved dog.

After Rogers' fortunes are told, the Cryptkeeper informs them that he wasn't showing them the future, but telling them why they ended up in the crypt. The only exit leads into a fiery pit and they realize that they are all dead and are in hell as a result of their sins.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT was Amicus's fourth portmanteau horror film and is based on stories from the EC horror comics of the fifties by William Gaines. Freddie Francis' direction is first rate as is Norman Warwick's camera-work, which ideally suits the comic strip style of the film. A star-studded cast does fine work especially Peter Cushing as Arthur Grimsdyke in POETIC JUSTICE, a touching performance which won him the Best Actor Of The Year Award in France. REFLECTION OF DEATH is well staged and shot in dark uncompromising colors. WISH YOU WERE HERE is a variation on THE MONKEY'S PAW, while BLIND ALLEYS is neat and suspenseful thanks to imaginative camera-work and good performances from Nigel Patrick and Patrick Magee as the victimised blind man. I guarantee that the way Francis shot this episode will have you on the edge of your seat! AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE carries a touch of sly black humor as Joanne Clayton's little daughter played by Chloe Franks gleefully lets in the psychotic Santa Claus not realizing the real horror of what's going on. All in all, TALES FROM THE CRYPT is unmissable for both addicts of the genre and for those who appreciate fine acting.

Also of interest is the collectable novelized version of the film by Jack Oleck, which is well presented and good to read. Genre addicts will have a good laugh when they see the follow up, VAULT OF HORROR (1973), in which that very book is used as a prop by actor Michael Craig in the buried alive segment. In the 1990's, the EC horror comics were developed into an American TV series entitled Tales From The Crypt only the crypt keeper was a horrific skull like puppet and a 1996 episode called Last Respects was directed by Francis.
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Nice collection of bitter little tales
Poseidon-318 May 2004
Based on the old (and rather controversial) E.C. Comics of the mid-20th century, this horror anthology is an above average entry in an intriguing (and all but dead) genre. Here there is a tour group seen roaming through some ancient catacombs with five attendees obstinately staying behind, despite numerous warnings to stick close together. They find themselves severed from the group and wind up in a tomb-like room with creepy Richardson in a monk's robe doling out orders and insights. The quintet is made to sit while each one gets a glimpse into his or her recent life. Thus the five brief stories are presented in order, each one with a morbid, ironic or gory twist to it. Collins (looking svelte and attractive) is in the first one. She splits her husband's head open as he's benignly reading the newspaper while cheery Christmas music plays on the soundtrack. (Hilariously, she kicks him down the steps while "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" drones on.) Before she can properly dispose of his body, an escaped mental patient in a Santa suit starts terrorizing her! Then Hendry is shown leaving his wife and children for a younger woman. A fateful experience on the freeway changes his life forever. Next up, snooty Phillips is being driven up the wall by his neighbor - kindly, but eccentric, old man Cushing. Phillips continuously thwarts Cushing until he gives up...but does he? A fourth tale features Greene (as a greedy gunrunner) who is forced to part with his possessions, but his wife spies an inscription on an old statuette and discovers that she can use it to ask for three wishes. This doesn't work out quite as optimistically as she had hoped. Finally, Patrick is a militant, heartless administrator of a home for the blind. He pushes the male inhabitants there to their limit and winds up paying dearly for his sins. Though no story gets enough time spent on it to really flesh it out to it's greatest potential, most of them are really intriguing and usually very well acted. The spareness of the locations and effects help set a rather desolate and chilly mood. The finest acting is probably provided by Cushing in a very atypical role. The most memorable vignette is the last one which features an unforgettable comeuppance. Fans of British horror (and especially of anthologies) will rank this pretty highly, but it's interesting enough to lure other viewers as well.
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Ghoulish Fun
BaronBl00d10 July 2000
Five people wander off on a tour and come upon the crypt-keeper. Each tells his or her last memory. Each one confesses to doing something wrong. The crypt-keeper listens to each before telling the five what has happened to them and where they are. Easily this is one of the best Amicus horror anthologies. It is well-crafted, well-acted, and suitably directed by genre stalwart Freddie Francis. All of the stories are pretty good, with three standing out. The first story about Christmas and a loose killer is well-done and shocking for its day. The best story stars Peter Cushing as a genial old man suffering desolation and humiliation from a heart-less(no pun intended) neighbor. Cushing does a wonderful job here, and in a way it is a sad performance as it was made shortly after the death of his long-time wife Helen. The last story is almost as good about a group of blind residents who stop taking being treated poorly and give out punishment to a military man with razor-sharp justice. Patrick Magee and Nigel Patrick both excel in this little vignette. The frame story is also well-executed and Sir Ralph Richardson hams it up amicably as the keeper of the crypt. A great group of frightening stories...each with a moral of sorts.
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Not Your Typical Bedtime Story!
ClassixFan26 January 2006
Amicus Studios, best known for their anthology films nailed it with this effort from 1972. With five solid stories to chill your bones, this anthology is one of my favorite films, bar none. The film is packed with a solid cast that includes; Peter Cushing, Joan Collins, Ian Hednry and Richard Greene, just to name a few. My personal faves from this anthology would be; All Through the House, Poetic Justice and Wish You Were Here, but all five stories are really well done. The Peter Cushing story is particularly touching, Cushing does a wonderful job of playing a sad man, mourning the death of his wife, in his story, which very much paralleled Cushing's own life, as he was still in mourning over the recent loss of his own wife. If you're a fan of the macabre, then you owe it to yourself to seek this 1972 film out, it is quite tame by today's standards as far as blood and gore go, but the chill factor is definitely there.
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Beware The Keeper Of The Crypt!
CitizenCaine30 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is a fantastic British Horror Anthology of five stories, linked together by Sir Ralph Richardson as the keeper of the crypt. There were several other horror anthologies from the mid 60's through the 70's. Many of them were just as good as this one. The film starts with a creepy church organ and never lets up. Sir Ralph preaches to the five guests in between each story. Each story deals out equal parts shock and horror. Some favorite British actors are on hand to lend credibility to the proceedings: Joan Collins, prior to her Dynasty days; Ian Hendry; Peter Cushing; Richard Greene; Patrick Magee and Nigel Patrick. The first two stories offer good shocks, but the second one owes a lot to the British film, Dead Of Night. The next two stories offer shocks and gore to spare, especially for the 1970's. The last one is very ironic, to say the least. This must have been a terrific drive-in movie to go to, especially in autumn when fog might roll in on your way home. *** of 4 stars.
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Very good horror anthology by specialist company Amicus
Coventry19 April 2004
The early 70's were golden years for the British horror industry… Hammer produced their last goodies, while there was another company who specialized in making the so-called `horror-omnibuses'… During a reign of approximately 10 years, Amicus brought forward anthologies going from nearly brilliant (The House that Dripped Blood) to very bad (The Monster Club). Tales From the Crypt surely belongs to their greatest achievements as well and it guarantees an hour and a half of delightful horror entertainment. Five stories are presented to us, and at least four of them have an above average quality level. (Sir) Ralph Richardson appears as the host. Disguised as the Cryptkeeper, he shows the unfortunate dead of 5 people who descended into his vault…

The film is based on a fifties comic book success formula, which also resulted in a popular spin-off series in the early nineties. The protagonists are always doomed and these tales show their regress into death… Each of the stories has its own, unique setting and atmosphere and, together, they cover pretty much all the favorite horror topics. Yet, 5 stories is a little exaggerated and therefore aren't fully elaborated…

Especially the first story suffers from its own shortness…It involves a bitchy woman (a stunningly beautiful Joan Collins) who kills her husband, but finds herself trapped in her house while an escaped lunatic lurks through the windows. This first story is pretty bloody and tense, and I wish it had been a little longer (if it were only to look at Collins some more…). The second story by far is the worst of them all and I feel they should have left this one out. The storyline has nothing new to offer and the acting is uninspired. Tale number three stars horror-legend Peter Cushing and he's the good guy for a change! Cushing is a lonely man who offers presents to the neighborhood children and throws parties for them…I guess this wasn't an issue in the seventies yet! Or was it? Cushing character is hated by his next-door neighbor, but eventually avenges himself. The fourth story is my personal favorite since it really breathes an almost unbearable morbidity…it's a variant on the famous monkey-claw myth, which provides the owner with 3 wishes. This chapter is really chilling and the scenery is great! It also has the best make-up effects and adorable twisted humor! The final story is very ingenious and chilling as well and it entirely takes places in an institute for the blind. The new manager introduces a whole lot of economy measures, while he's living a life of luxury. At one point, the inhabitants won't take it anymore and they show him what being blind feels like
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E.C.'s most popular comic book comes to the big screen!
Captain_Couth27 August 2005
Tales From the Crypt (1972) was the first (and best) adaptation of E.C.'s most popular and beloved comic book. These tales were taken straight out of the original panels. Unlike the overrated and lame cable t.v. version that made a mockery out of the original source, this film from Amicus paid tribute to TALES FROM THE CRYPT in such a way that put's the H.B.O. version to shame.

These tales were baffling, scare and mystify the viewers. They work well in the omnibus format instead of stretching them to fill a half hour worth of screen time. I also liked the original crypt keeper, he was more like the comic book character as well. I wish that they release this underrated movie out on D.V.D. It could find a whole new generation of fans. Stars Peter Cushing, Joan Collins, Patrick Magee and Sir Ralph Richardson as the crypt keeper.

Highly recommended.
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Great film. Remember watching it in the 1970's
Nurse446 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The story starts with five tourists visiting underground catacombs in what appears to be a crypt. They venture off into a secret room where a mysterious robed figure appears. Through the five stories, he shows them what will happen if they go ahead with the dastardly plans they are about to endeavor.

Joan Collins clobbers her husband to death on Christmas Eve to the sound of 'Oh Come all Ye Faithful' playing on the radio. She is then stalked by a not so friendly Santa Claus who turns out to be a madman intent on murder.

A wayward husband dies in a car crash - but isn't aware of it yet.

Peter Cushing plays a lonely old man who is hounded by his cruel neighbours. He returns from his grave to take brutal revenge on his tormentors. The really scary bit was the unforgettable Valentine's Card…"You were cruel and mean from the start, now you really have no heart". Three guesses what the soft,lumpy body organ is enclosed with the card!

A businessman dies in a crash, only to be brought back to life by his wife. However, he's been embalmed already. Ouch!

And finally, there is a superbly frightening tale about a callous warden at a home for the blind. His inhumane behaviour leads him to a most horrifying end, involving lots of razor blades and a hungry Alsatian dog.
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A nice way to waste a couple of hours
MovieFan9839 February 1999
Tales From the Crypt is a movie, that is different than most horror movies. It starts out with people wandering through a tomb on a tour, they stray away and end up locked in a crypt with a strange man in it. He tells them stories about what happened or what is about to happen to them.

The movie itself is stylishly made, and somewhat suspenseful. The acting in it is above par, and although the film itself never goes to being a triumph, it does stay entertaining till the end, to a shocking final twist. But I must say even though the film is PG, it's like JAWS, it has quite a bit of violence and blood in it, and parents should be warned that if this was released now it would be PG-13.

So if you're a fan of thrillers that are intelligent, scary, and stylish, Tales From the Crypt is one for you. And if you're one that just wants to waste a couple of hours, this is a fun movie, that you won't regret seeing.
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Just plain cool.
demonslayer061 May 2003
Tales from the crypt is what every Horror movie should be like. All the stories had great plots, not to mention endings, and it had probably just the right amount of violence/gore to make it an official Horror movie. This is one of the best Horror movies of all time, I guarantee it.
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Welcome to Hell
claudio_carvalho10 November 2013
Five persons are visiting a catacomb following a guide and get lost. They find that they are trapped in a crypt and, out of the blue, they see The Crypt Keeper (Ralph Richardson) that tells five stories: (1) And All through the House: On the Christmas Eve, Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins) kills her husband expecting to receive his insurance. She hears on the news that the police are seeking-out a serial-killer posing of Santa Claus. When the man knocks on her door, she cannot call the police since the body of her husband lays on the living room, and Joanne locks windows and doors. When she looks for her daughter, she has a lethal surprise. (2) Reflection of Death: Carl Maitland (Ian Hendry) leaves his wife and children and leaves town with his mistress. However something happens during their journey (3) Poetic Justice: The widower janitor Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (Peter Cushing) is a good man that spends his leisure time with the children from the neighborhood. His heartless neighbor James Elliot (Robin Phillips) does not like him and destroys his life leading Grimsdyke to the suicide on the Valentine Day. One year later, Grimsdyke rises from his tomb seeking revenge against James. (4) Wish you Were Here: The dirty businessman Ralph Jason (Richard Greene) is bankrupted and his lawyer and friend Charles Gregory (Roy Dotrice) tells him that he must sell his real estate. When he tells to his wife Enid (Barbara Murray), she recalls that they have a statue with the legend that it could grant three wishes to the owner. She makes the wishes with tragic consequences to Ralph. (5) Blind Alleys: The cruel Major William Rogers (Nigel Patrick) comes to the Elmridge Home for the Blind with his dog Shane to be the new director. He is very cruel with the interns until the day that they revenge the bad treatment. Soon the five persons discover that they are at the gate of hell.

In 1972, I was a teenager and I saw this "Tales from the Crypt" in the movie theater. I was very impressed with the tale "Wish you Were Here" but I did not know the name of the movie. A couple of days ago, two friends of mine gave me the chance to see this movie again and I would like to thank them.

"Tales from the Crypt" is divided in five segments: (1) "And All through the House" is very creepy and has an ironic conclusion. (8/10) (2) "Reflection of Death" is the weakest segment with a deceptive story. (4/10) (3) "Poetic Justice" is a grim and heartbreaking segment. (9/10) (4) "Wish You Were Here" is an impressive segment. Ralph embalmed and burning for the eternity is unforgettable. (10/10) (5) "Blind Alleys" is another sinister episode and the revenge of the blind interns is scary. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Contos do Além" ("Tales from Beyond")

Note: On 14 November 2013, I saw this movie again.

Note: On 16 July 2019, I saw this film again.
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A classic terror movie formed by five segments well realized and magnificently played
ma-cortes10 November 2018
A vintage horror film financed by Amicus from producers Max Rosemberg and Milton Subotsky with a Great British Cast and formed by several episodes full of creepy events , chills, thrills , gore and guts. It stars with five strangers visiting eerie and old catacumbas .Later on , they find themselves at a grotto with the sinister Crypt Keeper , Ralph Richardson , the mysterious host tells them how each of the strangers will die . As they receive fantastic visions about their future . And now ...who is next....

It deals with 5 segments titled: All through the house, Reflection of death , Poetic Justice , Wish you were here, and Blind alleys , all of them are filled with mystery , suspense , terror , grisly killings , twisted events and horrible happenings . The British star-studded results to be pretty good with a plethora of notorious actors as Joan Collins , Richard Greene who a bit later on he passed away at the age of seventh four ,Ian Henry , the great Peter Cushing as a widower who often used an ouija to talk with his deceased wife , Roy Dotrice , Nigel Patrick , Patrick Magee and Ralph Richardson as the creepy Crypt Keeper who shot this major role in a day . Most stories previously appeared in American comic books as Tales of Crypt from EC comics as well as in The haunt of fear. Colorful , adequate cinematograhy by Norman Warwick , shot at Shepperton studios . It was compellingly accompanied by a thrilling and suspenseful musical score.

The motion picture was well and professionally directed by Freddie Francis . He was an expert cameraman who photographed prestigious films such as The straight story , Cape fear , Glory , Dune, The elephant man , Night must fall , The innocents, Room at the top and Hell in Korea . He also directed some movies , many of them terror films such as Dark tower , Doctor and the devils , The ghoul , Legend of werewolf , The creeping flesh , Trog , Torture garden , The skull , House of horrors , The evil of Frankenstein , Nighmare , Paranoiac , The brain and directed Tales of the Crypt TV series , episode 2 season 7 , titled Last respects. Rating : Above average . The motion picture will appeal to terror movies fans .
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Mykii Suicide PBF4 June 2000
This film is brilliant and would be a brilliant double-bill with the Vault Of Horror (which is the un-official sequel)

The best stories are : The one with Peter Cushing as Mr Grimsdyke who gets his bloody revenge on the man responsible for his suicide, The one with Patrick Magee as one of the patients at a home for the blind who get their revenge on a selfish new owner, and the Monkeys Paw-esque one where the woman wishes her husband back from the dead and regrets it.

This film is surprisingly gory for it's time and some of the endings of the stories make you wince and think "Oh God, that would be really horrible" (especially the fourth and fifth ones)

a great film and probably the best of the Amicus horror compendiums

9.5 out of 10
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An excellent and hugely enjoyable Amicus horror anthology winner
Woodyanders28 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Five folks get lost in a crypt and are shown their grim futures by the creepy cryptkeeper (a deliciously hammy Ralph Richardson). First and most harrowing story, "And All Through the House" - Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins in peak venomous bitchy form) receives a visit from a psycho dressed up as Santa Claus after murdering her darling husband on Christmas eve. Chloe Franks is absolutely adorable as Clayton's daughter Carol. Second and most nightmarish yarn, ""Reflection of Death" - Faithless husband Carl Maitland (solid Ian Hendry) barely survives a brutal automobile accident. Or does he? Third and most powerful episode, "Poetic Justice" - Mean young James Elliott (a perfectly hateful Robin Phillips) cruelly torments kindly old Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (a lovely and touching performance by Peter Cushing). Fourth and most ironic vignette, "Wish You Were Here" - Grieving widow Enid Jason (nicely played by Barbara Murray) wishes that her recently deceased businessman husband Ralph (a fine Richard Greene) would come back to life in this nifty variant on "The Monkey's Paw." Roy Dotrice lends sturdy support as lawyer Charles Gregory. Fifth and most gripping segment, "Blind Alleys" - The residents of a home for the blind exact a harsh revenge on the arrogant Major William Rogers (a superbly snooty Nigel Patrick) for his gross and callous mistreatment of them. Patrick Magee offers a strong and steely portrayal of George Carter, the formidable leader of the blind guys. Ably directed by Freddie Francis, with a compact script by Milton Subotsky, crisp cinematography by Norman Warwick, a supremely spooky'n'shuddery score by Douglas Gamley, a constant snappy pace, and uniformly ace acting from a stellar cast, this Amicus omnibus outing really delivers the immensely satisfying ghoulish fright feature goods.
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Death Lives in the Vault of Horror!
khunkrumark28 December 2018
Tales from the Crypt comprises five features, each of which has been explained in great detail by other reviewers.

This British film is unusual, in that it was pieced together on a minuscule budget of (an estimated) £170,000 and went on to make millions. This production also managed to attract some of Britain's most well known actors of the day, too... including the gorgeous, evergreen 39 year old Joan Collins.

But if you look a little bit beyond just the famous names, there's a wealth of extraordinary British talent in the smaller roles, too, many of whom were left off the credits. Busy, jobbing actors of past and present seemed to be desperate to get their faces into this flick.

The production was directed with reverence to the comic books from which the inspiration and stories are drawn from. Oddly (and against type-casting) the weak link here is the master of horror himself, Peter Cushing, who hams it up rather poorly as a harmless, doddery old man. Each of the five vignettes have their own guns blazing and can be enjoyed for different reasons.

Sir Ralph Richardson, at 70 years old, seems to be having a whale of a time as the gate-keeper of hell, linking all the tales together! A wonderful way to pass the time for so many reasons.
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A twisted terror classic to watch and love anytime! Oh come on now, have a heart... Warning: Spoilers
Great film this, loved it the first time I ever saw it. There's something very special and rare in the macabre yet fun spirit of it that without sounding too weird I hope, makes me feel kind of peaceful. 'At home!' It was so cool to learn that without this, my favourite anthology ever Creepshow, would've never happened, nor a certain excellent HBO television series, so horror fans the world over have more to thank this picture for than they know! The opening sequence so perfectly sets the tone with the ancient graveyard with the overgrowth and the well-trod dirt path winding through the tombs. It's enchantingly Gothic and just beautiful to me, so grand and foreboding... Okay, so the first story's really good, I love the contrast between a ruthless murderess and the classic peace and tranquility of a Christmas atmosphere which soon becomes malevolent. But I personally find it one of the weaker stories as it's over in a flash, with just not enough to it for me to really get into it. It's beautifully shot for being on practically a single set the whole time. The bold and shocking 70's decor is monstrous! And my, were they ever hopeless at blood back then. It's too bright! And I don't know what she was so worried about, Santa only wanted to get in so he could give her a nice back rub! I infinitely prefer the TV episode, I find it superior in every way. I find the second story the scariest because the whole idea of repeating eternity is a damn nightmarish and chilling concept to me. It's so eerie and surreal the way it's already happening before it's even happening - like a bizarre horrific paradox, it begins where it ends and ends where it begins! I love the strange tension and mystery of why everyone he meets recoils in horror. It doesn't hurt the overall effect, but I find it a bit of a letdown when the "Reflection" is finally revealed as the makeup looks pretty rubbish, and for me the bland bloke's scream makes for a laugh. It's still a scary enough climax though, he's dead and doomed forever to the hellish torment of an endless nightmare, all because he so selfishly chose to betray and abandon his family. Hell is repetition... The excellent "Poetic Justice" is probably my favourite story, as I find it the most well put together and emotionally involving. Peter Cushing is wonderful, his Arthur Grimsdyke is so kind and vulnerable, and his slow destruction at the hands of the evil-spirited little man next door is simply heartbreaking to watch. Always such damn cruel 'opportunists' in life who are always willing to twist the knife in someone's side a little more in their worst days. He gets his just desserts, but the tale certainly promises nothing of hope in any way. Did you ever dream you'd see a zombie Peter Cushing? I love the fantastic sequence where the Grimsdyke zombie slowly tears itself out of the cold ground and makes its ghastly way into the unsuspecting young man's parlour... Such macabre magic! And what a brilliant touch to stick in there with the zombie hand placing itself on the desk right next to the iron ornamental hand! And the heart was still beating - fantastic! Cushing was a pleasure to watch, and may he rest in peace. The average take on the Monkey's Paw is I reckon the worst one. It doesn't drag or anything, but I find it a mite too campy, and I can't stand the red-headed lady's performance, she was so into it and over-the-top.. She should have wished that she wasn't so bloody stupid.. Like with the big face reveal of Reflection, the face of I think what's supposed to be the grim spectre of death on a motorbike in the rear-view mirror looks like complete s**t, you can easily tell it's just a guy in a mask. He was like the original Ghost Rider! It was a mad sick idea to end it with, but that one left a lot to be desired I thought. I found his poorly-looped screaming hilariously corny! Perhaps a wood chipper might've done the trick? And finally Blind Alleys was another excellent and well-acted tale, the performances of Magee and Patrick help make the story as effective as it is, and an otherwise crazy setup believable. As the longest story it's definitely a slow-burner, but I find it gripping and atmospheric as the tension builds as the man who behaves as if he's the warden of a prison is practically letting the 'helpless' inmates wither and die. Some of the visuals are superbly inventive, such as the razor-blade walls, which were a stroke of dark genius. That part always has me grimacing and on edge. The 'Major' was a nasty, bull-headed, unreasonable jerk, he had it coming! It's quite the awesome revelation at the end when the hour of their judgement has come... I think it's open to interpretation whether or not they were dead all along. Ralph Richardson was amazing as the spooky old monk who's basically there to read them their last rites. He may be called "Crypt Keeper", but he's actually more similar to the character of the Vault Keeper from the original comics than anything else. I enjoyed his more reserved approach, I think it created a nice aura of ominous mystery. And the way he delivers the final lines right at the audience is perfect and makes the ending one to remember. He breaks the fourth wall, and he does it with such pathos and passion! There's no real violence and gore in the film but who needs it? Far more meaningful and effective to use one's own mind to fill in the blanks of what's not seen! A great classic and among the very best of its gruesome ilk. Pleasant screams!!!
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Fabulously Well-Told
catfish-er13 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Throughout the mid 60s and early 70s Amicus Productions churned out a series of wonderful little horror anthologies including: DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965), TORTURE GARDEN (1967), THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1970), ASYLUM (1972), THE VAULT OF HORROR (1973, second best of the bunch), FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1973), and TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972, which is my all-time favorite horror anthology!)

TALES FROM THE CRYPT features the dazzling Joan Collins, Ian Hendry, Nigel Patrick, Robin Phillips, and Richard Greene.

The film begins as five strangers get separated from the others, during a museum tour. Trapped inside a strange tomb, they meet a mysterious monk who tells them of how each will die.

This is an anthology, comprised of five stories plus a wraparound (the wraparound is the 'in-between' story that ties the rest together). I love anthologies; both for the hits and the misses… my general feeling is that about half of the stories work; and, the others not so well. This is truly an exception to that rule!

"All Through the House" tells the story of a woman that murders her husband and finds out that a maniac in a Santa Claus outfit is out there waiting for her.

"Reflection of Death" deals with a man who dreams about his future of being dead.

"Poetic Justice," features a poet who wants revenge.

"Wish You Were Here" is one of the best modern is a re-tellings of The Monkey's Paw.

"Blind Alley" has an abusive new head of a home for the blind, who gets a taste of his own medicine, when the angered inmates decide on revenge.

Amicus really defined the horror anthology for me. Overall the stories in TALES FROM THE CRYPT are fabulously well-told. The re-telling of The Monkey's Paw is definitive; much better than Alfred Hitchock's version.
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Dare You Enter The Crypt?
ShadeGrenade10 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As the 1970's got underway, horror movies became increasingly graphic ( and sexually explicit ) as audiences demanded more and more visceral shocks. Even Hammer had to move with the times, albeit half-heartedly. However, Amicus - their only major rival - chose to stay within certain boundaries.

'Tales From The Crypt' was the fifth in a series of 'multi-storey' pictures; the others being 'Dr.Terror's House Of Horrors', 'Torture Garden', 'The House That Dripped Blood', and 'Asylum'. The first boasted an original screenplay by Milton Subotsky, the second, third and fourth were derived from stories by 'Psycho' author Robert Bloch. 'Tales', however, drew its inspiration from the notorious E.C. Comic of the same name from the 1950's. So gory were these that a media witch-hunt, led by a twisted self-publicist by the name of Dr.Frederic Wertham, got them banned. The comics are now regarded as classics of their kind.

I loved horror comics as a boy. The sweet shop near my school used to sell them for the princely sum of ten pence each. If one bought an issue of say D.C.'s 'Secrets Of Haunted House', everyone in the class would want to borrow it before the day was out. The gore content of this and other D.C. titles was tame but at least one story - 'Two Can Play At Treachery' - gave me a sleepless night. The plots tended to follow the same pattern - a ghastly crime ( usually a murder ) is committed and the perpetrator becomes the victim of a terrible supernatural retribution. In 1982 Stephen King and George A. Romero paid tribute to the genre with the delightful 'Creepshow'.

'Tales From The Crypt' begins with five people being shown around some catacombs. Disregarding the advice of the tour guide, they wander off and get hopelessly lost. They find a strange crypt inhabited by a man in a monk's habit. 'The Cryptkeeper' ( though he does not refer to himself as such ) tells them that it was fate that drew them there. One by one, they are told their futures, and yes, none of them are particularly pleasant, involving a maniac dressed as Santa Claus, a skeletal Hells Angel, a Valentine's Day card containing a dead man's heart, and a sadistic ex-army officer made to walk along a narrow passage lined with razor blades.

'Crypt' is nowhere near as bloody as it could have been. This was quite intentional. Milton Subotsky and Max J.Rosenberg wanted their horror films to appeal to as to wide an audience as possible. It did not stop the film from becoming a big success at the box office, indeed at one point it was even outselling 'The Godfather!'.

The Amicus pictures were able to attract some big-name stars, none of your talentless, screaming American teenagers here. 'Tales' features Joan Collins, Richard 'Robin Hood' Greene, Nigel Patrick, Ian 'The Avengers' Hendry, Roy Dotrice, Barbara Murray, Ralph Richardson as 'The Cryptkeeper', with dear old Peter Cushing giving a touching performance as 'Arthur Grimsdyke'.

If you like your horror movies scary without being unduly repellent, you should seek this one out. A sequel appeared the following year: 'Vault Of Horror', and there was a ludicrous rip-off ( also directed by Freddie Francis ) called 'Tales That Witness Madness' which really ought to have been called 'Tales That Induce Laughter'.

'Tales From The Crypt' is ideal Halloween material.
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A Quintet of Grisly Shudders
ferbs547 November 2008
"Tales From the Crypt" (1972) is one of seven horror anthology pictures released by Hammer rival Amicus over an eight-year period. "Tales" had been preceded by "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors," "Torture Garden," "The House That Dripped Blood" and "Asylum," and would soon be followed by "Vault of Horror" and "From Beyond the Grave." The five stories dished out in the "Tales" omnibus have as their linchpin Sir Ralph Richardson as the urbane Crypt Keeper (a far cry from the cackling HBO demon so many folks might be expecting), who looks into the minds of a group of lost tourists and sees their gruesome stories: In "And All Through the House," a particularly gorgeous Joan Collins plays cat & mouse with an escaped psycho Santa. "Reflection of Death" shows us what happens to philandering husband Ian Hendry after he and his mistress are involved in a nasty car wreck. Horror icon Peter Cushing, in "Poetic Justice," plays a kindly old man victimized by his neighbors, but who manages to deliver one horrible Valentine's Day surprise. In "Wish You Were Here," a variation of the old "Monkey's Paw" tale, a widow learns that it really is imperative to be careful for what you wish. And in "Blind Alleys," Patrick Magee and the other sightless residents of an old-man's home take a particularly grisly vengeance on their new martinet superintendent, played by Nigel Patrick. All five of these tales feature some startling and horrific bit of business; indeed, the film is memorably shocking in parts, and I was amazed at how much of the picture I recalled, after not having seen it for over 35 years. The impressive cast of British actors seems to be enjoying itself immensely, and that spirit of fun is certainly communicated to the viewer. Indeed, while watching "Tales" for the first time in all those years, I found myself happily grinning from ear to ear. From the opening strains of horror-film standard Bach's "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor" to its creepy final query from the Crypt Keeper himself, the film is nothing deep, nothing demanding, nothing innovative; just good fun. And oh...look out for that fire poker!
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Great for the fans of its genre.
Boba_Fett113818 April 2004
The movie tells 5 different creepy stories. It's the same concept used later in "Twilight Zone: The Movie".

Of course some of the stories are good and some of the them are bad. Once you start thinking about it, all of the stories are actually kind of ridiculous in a way but that doesn't mean it is not entertaining to watch, especially not for those that are fan of the genre.

Unlike so many other old horror movies, this movie actually gets creepy and scary at times.

Peter Cushing plays a role in which I have never seen him before. Mostly he always plays the same character, the bad guy, or when Christopher Lee is also in the movie he plays the good guy, it's as simple as that. However not in this movie, he really plays an heartwarming and charming character which was a real surprise to me. Can I say that this is one of Cushing's best roles ever?

An enjoyable horror flick that is prefect to kill some time with.


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Just got the Dual Midnite Madness September 2007 DVD set. "Tales" looks great!
MovieHistorian15 September 2007
Finally. A clear, clean print of "Tales From The Crypt"!

Fox did a nice job with "Tales". The movie looks very clean and clear on my 62" Toshiba HD television.

"Vault Of Horror" on the other hand is a bit of a mess. Very orange looking and a bit noisy. It is decent, but why didn't Fox do a good job cleaning "Vault" like they did, "Tales" which is an OLDER film by only a year?

"Vault Of Horror", also is CENSORED. TOTALLY INEXCUSABLE on Fox's part. They put a big black cartoon over the shoulder of a vampire near Rogers (Daniel Massey's) head. It looks idiotic. What makes no sense is later on in another story, they show a man's pickled parts in jars (they also do a weird freeze frame of a hammer to his head, which looks like censorship again), and later they show hands being chopped off. So why the other random censorship?

Shame on Fox for that. The print of "Vault" is also kind of noisy and orange.

Still, this set is worth buying for the great, clean print of "Tales".
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Creepy, Corny and Classic...
terrible230 December 2005
Back in the late 70's, we lived in a much more lenient society. Case in point; my older brother's high school would host a movie night every couple of months on a Friday or Satruday, but it much more then the movie, it was a meeting place for teens and had more of a rock concert atmosphere. They would show classic "cult" films, like Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same" and "Rocky Horror", I remember them showing the LSD inducing "Pink Floyd: Live At Pompeii". But one film really stands out in my mind, it was Freddie Francis' "Tales From The Crypt". Amongst the clanging booze bottles and pot clouds, we witnessed a masterpiece of a cult film. "Tales" is exactly what it's supposed to be, a nice little mix of horror and shock that sends the unsuspecting audience into "jump out of your seat mode". In the same vein as "Creep Show" and "Body Bags" it showcases several stories of the macabre, delightfully corny and deliciously gory. A who's who of Hollywood's finest actors gives the film an extra punch and the writing / directing is superb. "Tales" is a horror lover's dream, and no true collection is complete without it. I can still remember the teen-aged girls screaming and the boys cheering, ah, the good Ole' days.
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"What's the point in staying up? You can't see anything anyway." Another great horror anthology from Amicus.
poolandrews3 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Tales from the Crypt starts with various moody shots of an English Church & it's graveyard all played under organ music as the credits roll. The Church & it's crypt happen to be a public attraction & the latest group of paying punters are being led around by the tour guide (Geoffrey Bayldon), however five get left behind & in their search to rejoin the tour they stumble upon a crypt where a strange man (Sir Ralph Richardson) says they are all here for a purpose & starts to tell his Tales from the Crypt...

First up is 'All Through the House', it's Christmas Eve & Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins) murders her Husband Richard (Martin Boddey) with a poker. Meanwhile on the radio it is broadcast that a homicidal maniac (Oliver MacGreevy) has escaped from a mental institution not too far away...

The second story is entitled 'Reflection of Death' & has Carl Maitland (Ian Hendry) leaving his wife (Susan Denny) for his lover Susan Blake (Angela Grant) however their car ride to supposedly happy life together takes a macabre turn for the worse...

Then it's 'Poetic Justice' which sees upper-class snob James Elliott (Robin Phillips) upset at his tatty neighbour Arthur Grimsdyke (Peter Cushing) who he believes is lowering the tone of the neighbourhood. James starts to ruin Arthur's life so much so that he commits suicide, however James hasn't seen the last of Arthur Grimsdyke...

The next segment is called 'Wish You Were Here' & has businessman Ralph Jason (Richard Greene) being told by his lawyer Charles Gregory (Roy Dotrice) that he is pretty much bankrupt & owes a shed load of money. Ralph breaks the bad news to his wife Enid (Barbara Murray) that they will have to sell up, as they remember the good times they reminisce about a ornament they brought which supposedly has the power to grant three wishes. As a joke Enid wishes for lots of money & soon after her wish comes true but at a price she never expected...

The final story is called 'Blind Alleys' & has Major William Rogers (Nigel Patrick) taking over the running of 'Elmridge Home for the Blind'. Rogers is just a penny pinching snob who uses & abuses his power with little or no regard towards the blind in his care, however it is not long before the tables are turned & revenge is delivered...

Then it's back to the crypt for one last twist & warning...

This English American co-production was directed by Freddie Francis for the British studio Amicus & in my humble opinion Tales from the Crypt is a highly entertaining five story anthology. The script by producer Milton Subotsky adapts five stories from the E.C. comic books & does a fine job of transferring them to the big screen from the written page. Each story is short, well paced, have decent character's, contain good twist endings & most importantly are lots of fun to watch. My favourite story is probably 'Wish You Were Here' as it has a nice dark streak running throughout & a motorbike riding skeleton although my favourite twist is from 'Poetic Justice' as a macabre Valentine's Day poem leads to the discovery of the leads cut out heart & a nicely satisfying punch-line. The first story is pretty good in it's own right (I love the shot when a man is reading a newspaper & a splatter of blood starts to seep through the paper letting us know something nasty has just happened to him), the second story is probably the weakest & the fifth rounds things off nicely (being faced with that corridor of razorblades is a pretty scary thought). The linking story with the crypt keeper is the weakest part of the film, Ralph Richardson just isn't scary & all the puns are missing that would make the intro's for HBO's TV series Tales from the Crypt (1989 - 1996) so much more memorable. Technically Tales form the Crypt is solid British film-making, having said that the film looks a bit dated these days with the garish wallpaper & just check out that groovy 70's phone in the opening story. There is some gore in Tales from the Crypt, there are some exposed intestines, a severed hand, a cut out heart & plenty of bright red blood. The acting is good & I actually think Joan Collins is quite hot in this... I think Tales from the Crypt is a great film & well worth watching especially for horror fans like myself. A sequel of sorts The Vault of Horror (1973) was made a few year's later by the same company again based upon comic book stories & is also a great anthology & well worth checking out.
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Decent little omnibus flick, with a nice role for Peter Cushing
The_Void2 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Amicus productions made a business out of these omnibus style horror films, and Tales From the Crypt represents another success in their oeuvre. Like the rest of the Amicus omnibus films, this one isn't a great horror movie; but it offers five solid tales of terror and more than adequately fills it's ninety minute running time. You can't really ask for more much more than that. The wraparound story starts with five people stumbling into a crypt, kept by a mysterious crypt keeper. The crypt keeper isn't from the same one from the trashy eighties TV show, unfortunately...and is played by Ralph Richardson instead. The first story belongs to a surprisingly beautiful Joan Collins, who plays a murderess that comes under attack from a murderous Santa Claus on Christmas Eve! The tale actually isn't all that interesting, but watching Collins' curves makes it worthwhile. The second tale is the strangest of the bunch, and it follows a man and his mistress after an automobile accident. He gets up from the crash, scares a few people and makes his way back to his mistress' flat. I loved the way the tale is filmed, and the ending provides some amusement!

The third tale is most notable for the fact that it stars Peter Cushing - but not only that, it stars him in possibly the most different role of his career. I didn't think I'd ever be made to feel sorry for Cushing, but he does an excellent job of portraying the kind, lonely old man that ends up committing suicide because one of his neighbour's doesn't like him. This performance, while short, really shows Cushing's range as an actor. The fourth tale is the standout of the film, and it handles the always-pleasing idea of a wish-granting statue. Taking influence from the classic story 'The Monkey's Paw', this is a nice little tale. Naturally, the wishes don't go as planned and although it's predictable, it's still lots of fun! Many of these sorts of films have a tale where more effort is made, and that tale is the final one. For me, this story was just too long and since the outcome isn't all that scary anyway, it just didn't do anything for me. Still, it offers a nice little role for Patrick Magee, and not everyone will share my contempt for it. The wrap-up to the wraparound story doesn't really make much sense…but I'm sure that you won't care. Overall, if you go into this flick with the right sort of expectations - it won't disappoint.
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One of the best in the genre
kannibalcorpsegrinder30 October 2014
During a museum tour, five strangers get separated and lost from the others. Trapped inside a strange tomb, they all meet a mysterious monk who begins to tell them of how they are going to die.

The Good Story(s): Reflection of Death-After saying he has to go out for the night on business, a man instead heads out to see his mistress. Deadly tired from a long day of work, she offers to drive instead. While sleeping, his nightmares accidentally force them off the road and they crash. Stumbling away from the wreckage, everyone he meets acts like he is the devil incarnate. Making it back to her apartment, he learns that she survived the accident but became permanently blind. Seeing his face on a picture, he realizes that he is a zombie which wakes him up from his dream. This has to be my favorite of the stories, for the punch-line at the end is so well thought out that it simply hits and hits well. This is the one I don't won't to spoil, and is the main reason why this is a recommended.

Poetic Justice-After spying on his neighbor, a man is appalled at how well like he is by all the neighborhood kids and frames his dogs digging up a neighbor's roses. After further acts of hatred against him leave the man even more humiliated, he simply vanishes on Valentine's Day after suffering his greatest humiliation. Wondering where he is, he goes over to check and see that he has hung himself in the bathroom. On the anniversary of his wife's death, the man returns for his final vengeance. What really sold this one was how well Cushing did in portraying Arthur. He really brought out a certain kindness and sympathy in his role. I not in the remotest a sentimental person for movie roles, but I really did feel a little sad for him during the movie. This was a very real performance, as it was a short story that he appeared in. I can't speak enough about how well Cushing was in this story, and is a major reason for watching this particular one. The story might be a little cliché and can be seen coming a mile away, the supernatural vengeance here seems the most appropriate based on the treatment within, and the finale's pretty tense as well.

Blind Alleys-Inheriting a retirement villa, a former Army Major runs it so shabbily that the residents are appalled at their treatment. Deciding to get rid of him, they build a giant tunnel full of razor wires that he has to successfully get through in order to live. Even though it is the longest of the stories, nothing of real importance happens until the very end. This is where the famous still shots of the movie come from, and it is a real famous one too, which means that I won't spoil it for you.

The Bad Story(s): And All Through the House-After murdering her husband on Christmas, a woman tries to hide it from her daughter. While trying to dispose of the body, she hears an announcement that a killer has escaped from a mental institution and is on the loose. Realizing that the killer is right outside her door, she tries to hide both the body and herself. After an attempt to break into the house, she finally hides the body in the basement and cleans up the crime scene. After a strange set of keys on the table alerts her that the killer is on the house, who is dressed as Santa Claus, her daughter inadvertently lets him into the house. What ruins this for me is that the Christmas music that is blaring throughout the entire story, while appropriate, is completely intrusive on the rest of the action. Suspense is shattered when music plays during scenes where tension should be. Instead, the happy Christmas sounds take you right out of the moment anything happens. It is, in fact, so loud that all other sounds except for a small amount of other noise is drowned out by it being played at the same volume as well. When she is three rooms away from the radio, we still hear it at the exact same level.

Wish You Were Here-In danger of declaring bankruptcy, a man finds a rare Chinese statue on his mantle-piece of acquisitions and learns that the statue is very similar to a monkey's paw. A wish is made for him to come into money, but on the way to receive it, he is accidentally killed. His wife wishes him alive again, but he is in so much pain that he can't stop screaming. Trying to hack him to pieces, she realizes that her wish was for him to be alive forever. What ruined this one was that it really only served to me as a way of introducing a swift punch-line at the end. It never gave me a jump as the other one's did, and I never really felt any emotion other than boredom during this story. It does have a cool gore scene when she hacks him up and we can see his insides, but it is so obviously a set of pig intestines used. It is recommended only for that one cool scene, but it sticks out from the other scenes for its fake-ness.

Today's Rating/PG-13: Violence and Adult Situations.
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