The second entry for Barry_Cinematic’s and Realweegeemidget’s Great Hammer-Amicus Blogathon comes late. My apologies to anyone I’ve kept waiting. Again, I must say it’s been an honor to participate! For a newbie like myself, this has been a fun and enjoyable learning experience. I look forward to future events and, hopefully, future collaborations.
Tales from the Crypt is an anthology horror film, based on EC comics, and one of the most popular films from Amicus Productions. Once again, we have Joan Collins and Peter Cushing in starring roles. If you’ll recall, they also starred together in the film from my previous review.
Personally, I’m a big fan of horror anthologies. As an 80s kid, I grew up with Creepshow, Creepshow 2, and the TV series, Tales from the Crypt. I didn’t see the film version until I was an adult but my inner child, who grew up with the Cryptkeeper, loved it! To be fair, it also appealed to my adult side (do I actually have one) as it deals with some very adult themes such as infidelity, homicide, greed, and selfishness. As a matter of fact, the overall film has an almost biblical approach to good vs. bad. Bad people who do bad things must be punished. It’s a simple concept, one that we are familiar with. Evil will be vanquished and kindness, purity, and innocence will prevail. We know, however, that society is never that simple. Tales from the Crypt allows us to believe though. That bully from your school days, your boss at work, that guy who cut you off in traffic……all of them will get theirs in the end.
Directed by beloved Hammer/Amicus director Freddie Francis, this anthology starts out with an ominous view of a cemetery and the sound of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach. We meet five strangers and a mysterious man, who serves as the “Cryptkeeper” and will eventually lead these doomed characters to their fates. In the first story, we see Joan Collins as a wife who kills her husband on Christmas Eve. Don’t we just love her in these types of roles? Anyway, vengeance is served by a deranged Santa as cheerful Christmas tunes are played.
The second story finds Ian Hendry as a man who desires to run away with his mistress. So he kisses his kids goodnight and walks out the door, never to return again. However, keeping in line with the theme of the film, he does make a return from the grave!
The third story is well regarded as a favorite among fans. We see Peter Cushing as a neighbor to a father and son, who have a disdain for his kindness towards children and animals. Although this is certainly one of the most tragic stories, it is also one of the most satisfying.
Next, we have my personal favorite, which is a take on The Monkey’s Paw. A near bankrupt couple discover a statue from Hong Kong that will grant them three wishes. If there was ever a time to really be careful what you wish for, this is it. You often hear about being cautious with your wishes but the consequences are truly severe in this little tale.
The last story centers on carelessness and one man’s coldness towards the less fortunate. It also demonstrates how much one can be pushed before he or she takes action. The justice sought is grim and leaves a lasting impression. Also, it’s ahead of its time for featuring a clever method of revenge, not unlike more recent horror films.
Tales from the Crypt is simply a horror classic. That word might get thrown around a lot but, in this case, it’s true. Some might find the morality of the stories too forced, but I think it brings us back to our childhood. It takes us back to a time when life was simpler, when we believed that problems really could be solved easily. Don’t we still love rooting for the underdog? When a work of fiction transports us to this idealized version of the world, it can be therapeutic to our minds and souls. Who doesn’t need a little escape now and then?