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Tales from the Crypt (1972 - 2002)

 
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Tales from the Crypt (1972 - 2002) - 12/8/2012 6:47:32 AM   
Phubbs


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Joined: 3/4/2012
Tales from the Crypt (1972)

Original British horror anthology based on EC's 'Tales from the Crypt' which would eventually lead to the more well known US TV series and films.

Being a British version of the old comic its naturally slightly reserved and a little more serious or gloomy. The cast is made up of some classy stalwartly Brits such as Peter Cushing and Ralph Richardson and many well known characters actors of British film, TV and theatre.

The five short stories are interesting but not wild or effects packed as later movies. The first has Joan Collins murdering her husband at Xmas but being strangled herself by an escaped loony dressed up as Santa who was let in the house by her little girl. Second has a cheating husband seeing his own death and coming back as the undead. Third shows Peter Cushing as an old man being hounded by his snobby neighbours to move as they dislike his scruffy presence next door. The old man commits suicide then comes back from the dead to exact revenge.

Fourth story is a variation on the famous short 'The Monkey's Paw' (also spoofed by 'The Simpsons' so well in their halloween episodes). A recently widowed woman makes bad choices or wishes with a small Oriental statue causing her much grief. The last story shows what happens to a mean money pinching man who runs a home for blind men badly.

The stories are told as predictions of the future by the crypt keeper to a group of people visiting some old catacombs, the frame/wrap plot. The keeper is a much more serious take on what you may be used to these days, very monk like, a normal human face, well spoken, almost like the Grim Reaper. The stories are also quite tame and not overly exciting by today's standards. Some blood on show but its pretty clearly red paint hehe and the odd good bit of makeup/prosthetics on the undead.

The film isn't as fun I thought, its kinda dull and takes itself too seriously. The stories are fair but lean more towards revenge without much visual gore or goo, that's perfectly fine but I always thought these anthologies need at least one or two good monster/creature tales.

Interesting to watch but not a thrilling set, its also a bit dated now naturally, but fun to watch all the over acting and reactions.



The Vault of Horror (1973, aka Tales from the Crypt II)

Otherwise known as the sequel to 'Tales from the Crypt' yet all the stories here bar one are from the 'Tales' comics. So it seems the 'Vault' comics short stories weren't good enough for a film?

Again the simple premise is the same, a group of people in an elevator are taken down to the basement of a high rise block in London. Because they are trapped each of them tell tales of their worst nightmares (as you would do). From here on we get another five short spooky tales of which all in my opinion are really quite good.

Up first is a basic plot involving a man going to a small village to kill his sister so he will get their recently deceased fathers estate. The village turns out to be a vampires nest and he is killed watched over by his sister whom he had just murdered. Second is merely about a pedantic man and his neat and tidy obsessions which drive his new wife so crazy she kills him.

Third sees a magician and his wife observing a young Indian woman perform a rope trick whilst in India. The young woman will not tell or sell the secret of the rope trick so the magician and his wife kill the young girl, but revenge is short coming. The fourth story is about two con men who set up an elaborate insurance scam. One of the men fakes his own death and is buried alive as part of the plan but the second con man double crosses him and leaves him for dead. Unusual circumstances see the buried man dug up but fate has a final trick in store for both of the men.

The final story shows us an artist who gains the power of voodoo in his brush hand whilst in Haiti. He then uses this power to enact revenge on some business men back in London who have lied and tricked him over the sale of his recent work.

Overall every story here is a really neat little creepy tale mixing revenge, ghoulish graves, magic and vampires, the perfect blend. Much better than the first 'Tales' anthology in my opinion, the stories are more fun and mysterious making you use your imagination. I especially liked the eerie death for the magicians wife in the Indian rope tale.

Again its an English film so we are treated to some more A class casting. This time you can see Tom Baker, Glynis Johns, Denholm Elliott, Terry Thomas and Curd Jürgens. There is no 'keeper' this time, although the comics had a keeper just like 'Tales', but the outlining premise of the wrap or frame story is the same, much like all horror anthology flicks.

This really is a much better set of stories than the first film. More in line with other good anthologies like 'Darkside' and 'Twilight Zone'. There is a tad more blood and gore shown is this film too, not in your face but some nice hints, of course don't go expecting brilliant visual effects.



Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)

The Crypt Keeper has always looked pretty dodgy if you ask me hehe a pretty bad puppet but hey its not all about him. The actual set for his crypt always looks cool in a 'Munster/Addams' type way which is fun and kooky, nothing special though.

So ye olde Crypt Keeper intro's the story which is a feature length plot and based around a group of people stuck in a building with a demon outside after their blood and a special key which one of them processes. Its kinda like a horror version of 'Assault on Precinct 13' with an 'Evil Dead' black comedy angle which does work pretty well I must admit. Billy Zane does a good job as the head demon hamming it up something huge and churning out some decent lines and visual gags. Up against him is William Sadler who, for once, plays the hero and the only one who can stop the demons.

The action is good fun and chock full of decent makeup and prosthetics with lots of over the top blood n gore by the bucket full. The plot is actually quite deep revolving around demons dating back through the ages with 'chosen ones' being the only defenders etc...a bit more in depth than the usual Crypt tales.
Bottom line though if you like 'Evil Dead' or 'From Dusk Till Dawn' or 'Feast' then I'm sure you will like this ;)



Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996)

Another tongue cheek blood n guts rampage this time including lots of tits n ass too :) so its pretty darn good then haha. An unoriginal vampire tale this time, set in a brothel with lots of ladies eating biker types much like 'From Dusk Till Dawn' or 'Vamp' but nowhere near as good.

Plot is pretty standard but like the previous Crypt flick is does have a wonderful array of makeup and prosthetic effects all over the show with blood squirting and fangs flying, nothing you haven't seen before but it looks good. Casting is drab but does include 80's horror comedy star Sarandon and 80's teen star Feldman both of which raise the film slightly, Angie Everhart looks delicious as 'Lilith'.

You know what your gonna get with this franchise so your gonna love it or hate it, personally I see these films as an oppertunity to view good examples of horror makeup/effects normally without much cgi, plus they are always good fun on a no brainer level.



Tales From the Crypt Presents: Ritual (2002)

The third and last Tales horror flick which is a bit disappointing but judging by this effort I can see why. This time we are introduced to the Crypt Keeper with a Jamaican flavour complete with dreadlocks and bikini clad women at his beck n call. Already the whole feel is wrong.

Good cast for the film can't deny that, a solid quirky trio including Tim Curry, Jennifer Grey and Craig Sheffer. There are just a few problems, firstly you know who the bad guys are in the film right from the start, since when does Sheffer ever play the good guy? haha. Curry who is a marvellous character actor has nothing to do here in any way, complete waste, whilst Grey looks cute but doesn't quite seem comfortable in this genre.

The plot is pretty damn near dull as hell actually, its all about voodoo and creating zombies naturally, what else seeing as its set in Jamaica. The thing is nothing much happens in this, lots of flashbacks/dreams with Grey walking around looking all serious trying to find out what's causing an illness that drives people loopy (zombies).

I really was quite bored during the entire film, no action, no gore, no monsters or mutants etc...It is also played as a semi serious thriller with no laughs or comic horror like the previous two films. easily the worst of the trilogy despite the nice cast and nowhere near as cool as the last two films.
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