Tales From The Crypt (1972)

OCTOBER 31, 2007


I was all prepared to skip a “new” movie today, in honor of the date and my beloved Halloween. But someone in heaven, probably Peter Cushing himself, said that wasn’t acceptable, and for the first time in 2 years, I got out of work early enough to go do something I was invited to do on a night I had to work late, in this case, a screening of the 1972 Tales From The Crypt in my buddy’s backyard. Usually, if I have nothing to do, I get out around 7, 730 and sit around bored, but if I DO have something to do, I get out around 10 (and if whatever I got invited to started at 10, I’d get out at 11:30). It’s actually pretty amazing.

As I’ve said, I’m not too big on anthology films, but this one was pretty cool. As always, some stories are better than others, and the pacing is jarring (some stories seem longer than necessary, others seem too short to have much of an impact), but there’s a nice black humor streak running through the film which I fully enjoyed.

My favorite story was the one with Cushing, who played a nice, lonely old man who’d give toys out to neighborhood kids and take care of stray dogs. Naturally, everyone else hates him, so after making him lose his dogs, they harass him to the point of suicide. I hate watching stuff like this usually, because I feel really bad for such characters (I couldn’t even read The Pigman!), so it’s great when zombie Cushing comes back from the grave and kills one of the assholes (who looks a lot like a Brit version of perennial movie asshole Bradley Whitford). Sweet!

One of the other stories is a bit puzzling. It’s a Monkey’s Paw homage (Paw is even directly referenced), but the character who dies doesn’t seem to be a bad person like all the others. Also, the 3rd wish, that he wouldn’t die, means he wouldn’t DIE! So how the hell is he in Hell with all the others? Someone needed to take another pass at the script!

The last story, concerning some veterans who take revenge against a penny pinching bastard who’s supposed to take care of them, was completely ripped off in the execrable Hood of Horror. And not very well.

Anyway, as anthology movies go, it’s one of the better ones, but I think they had the right idea with the TV series (one episode was actually a remake of the first story, a killer Santa Claus stalking a super hot Joan Collins), giving each story the same amount of time and sticking to just one. With a film, I just get sort of bored, because the brevity of the stories keeps me from getting fully involved in the story (or stories). Oh well.

What say you?


  1. I just rented this one today, and I think it was very good, even by today standars, the blood was the fakest I've ever seen, but it shows that you don't have to exceed the gore just to tell a good story, even though in a tale it did showed some guts (no pun intended), we see an early concept of the crypt keeper,a lot creeper with the early make-up (oh wait, this was a real guy ) and the last story was also remade in the tv series(one of the blind men being South Park's CHEF, Isaac Hayes).

  2. Regarding your comments about the Monkey's Paw story ... I'm pretty sure the point was made that the guy was embezzling or else doing something financially improper to keep his company afloat. So he was more of a white-collar criminal. The difference is that the story didn't directly show the harm done to his victims. (On a side note, I thought his wife was super hot as well!)

    Also, I had the impression that the Crypt Keeper was showing them things that they would go on to do in their futures, because they were envisioning these situations in their minds. The "visions" simply went on to show them the consequences their actions would have. So he didn't really die because the whole incident never really happened; he was being shown what his future could have been. In that sense, the Crypt Keeper seems to be somewhat like Tom Cruise in "Minority Report," preventing horrible deeds before they happen by taking the perpetrators out of circulation.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Love the site. Keep up the great work!


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget