Tales from the Crypt (1972)


Directed by: Freddie Francis

Written by: Milton Subotsky
Johnny Craig, Al Feldstein & William M. Gaines (Comic Books)


Ralph Richardson .... The Crypt Keeper
Joan Collins .... Joanne Clayton
Oliver MacGreevy .... Maniac in Santa Suit
Chloe Franks .... Carol Clayton (Daughter)
Ian Hendry .... Carl Maitland
Angela Grant .... Susan Blake
Susan Denny .... Wife - Mrs. Maitland
Robin Phillips .... James Elliott
David Markham .... Father - Edward Elliott
Peter Cushing .... Arthur Edward Grimsdyke
Barbara Murray .... Enid Jason
Roy Dotrice .... Charles Gregory
Richard Greene .... Ralph Jason
Patrick Magee .... George Carter
Nigel Patrick .... Maj. William Rogers

Release Date: Theatrical: March 9, 1972






Five people are trapped in a crypt after a funeral ceremony and are met by a strange evil Cryptkeeper (Ralph Richardson) in which he tells them their future deaths.

The first tale the Cryptkeeper tells to one of the victims is And All Through the House in which a family woman named Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins) murders her husband on Christmas Eve but tries to make sure her daughter Carol (Chloe Franks) is in her room sleeping before she tries to hide his dead body. Yet on the radio is announced that a Maniac in a Santa Suit (Oliver MacGreevy) is on the loose near her neighborhood so she may have him paying her a deadly visit.

Next tale is Reflection of Death on a family man named Carl Maitland (Ian Hendry) making out that he's leaving for work but is having an affair with a woman named Susan Blake (Angela Grant) but one night when she takes over to drive for him late at night she dodges a vehicle leading to swerve their car off a road causing an explosion.
Later on Carl returns but however isn't the same in which even his wife Mrs. Maitland (Susan Deny) is terrified of him after spotting his presence.

Then it's Poetic Justice in which two greedy people named James (Robin Phillips) and Edward (David Markham) drive a poor elderly man named Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (Peter Cushing) to suicide taking things away from him as well as seinding him a nasty Valentine's Day card but is he really dead? These two have an unexpected visitor.

After that one there's a discussion is Wish You Were Here in which a woman named Enid Jason (Barbara Murray) buys a monkey paw for good luck and gets her wishes but however some of them lead the death to her husband Ralph (Richard Greene) but she wishes him eternal life which there's a cathc to all this proving that him being dead is better.

Then the final victim is told in the chapter called Blind Justice in which he is a greedy caretaker named Maj. William Rogers (Nigel Patrick) in which he doesn't show any care for the blind people in their retirement home on a cold winter season by having heat for them.
Suddenly one of them dies and the rest seek revenge by trapping him and taking over the home by building a deadly trap for him when the plan to release him by making him go hungry.

Later on everyone is given the option of avoiding their fates - by avoiding living out the rest of their lives.


A nice opening sequence showing around a funeral home as well as the insides of a crypt during a ceremony as well as some people wandering the hallways only to be introduced by the Cryptkeeper in which they seem to be lost which makes things pretty interesting as right away it goes into the first story.

The first chapter And All Through The House looked pretty impressive showing a peaceful setting with a husband setting stuff up on Christmas Eve along with their radio playing Christmas Carols in which all of this seemed very heartwarming but then this moment totally breaks with his wife Joanne whacking him on the head with a machette in which this looked pretty intense and making you wonder as to why the hell she'd do this since she doesn't seem demented at all.
What's even more shocking is that the daughter is wondering what is happening and if Santa will come which makes you think that how can this woman murder the family man and will this child spot what had happened since it would break her happiness into terror.
What's really effective is on the radio there's an urgent news break on a killer in a Santa suit on the loose in which this makes things seem interesting expecting this killer to pay a visit to this woman in which we spot a bigger psychopath here. It definetely looks creepy when we spot the killer staring through the window glaring at Joanne as well as him trying to reach his hand through a window holding some jingle bells as well as trying to grab at her in which this looked like a combination of dark humor and frightening touches which looked all well done in how this was all set up.
More interesting moments with Joanne trying to call the police or pulling her dead husband into a cellar trying to make out that maybe the killer outside has done this in what she seemed to have planned here.
What I found was hilarious though is that the little girl tells her Mom she let this person in thinking it's Santa acting full of life with all of this which made me laugh and at the same time seemed frightening when this maniac pounces on Joanne ready to strangle her to death. Kinda makes you think that you need to tell your kids there's no such thing as Santa since a maniac could dress up as one in order to enter a house. This was my favourite chapter and seemed to be the original Santa killer story that would later on be used in the cult classic flicks Christmas Evil and Silent Night Deadly Night.

In the chapter Reflection of Death looked very nicely done showing a family man Carl Maitland kissing his kids goodnight looking like a loving type of fellow as if he's heading out to work working late.
A real suspenseful moment is when his mistress Susan Blake is driving his vehicle while he is asleep and suddenly wakes up from a bad dream and then he freaks out as they nearly dodge another vehicle only to be chased off the road causing an explosion in which this all looked quite terrifying and shocking too.
The tale gets really strange later on with Carl not revealing himself and showing the camera approaching his home or other people who are just terrified looking at him making this look like a true mystery as to why they're afraid of him since we don't spot on what he looks like just yet. More creepy moments when he visits Susan and realises what has happened to her and then spotting himself in a reflection in which this looks truly frightening indeed. Then the story becomes a real teaser that it was only a dream. No it isn't it's really happening!!! This was well written in.

Then the third chapter Poetic Justice seems to work in well when we spot the greedy main characters James and Edward Elliott trying to pull nasty tricks on the kind old man Arthur Edward Grimsdyke making him miserable which seems to be disturbing especially when his dogs are taken away from him which truly makes you feel sorry for the poor guy or when these two are viciously nasty towards him giving him nasty threats and promises on what they will do to him.
The scene for sure looks dark when Arthur is found hung in which this certainly leaves a nasty impression that something vengeful will come to these two bastards for driving him to do this plus a good psychological feel to everything when they drive someone to do this too.
Then later on the camera focuses on a tombstone as well as good effects on a hand crawling out from the dirt since this looked terrific and darkly lit to the gloomy feel here and a perfect touch for a horror story as well to this anthology too. Plus a great vengeful moment when we discover what Arthur's presence looks like after he's risen from the grave to kill one of the people who caused him misery. This moment looked totally perfect on what we see. In fact I think this is what inspired Stephen King to write in for his anthology on the first Creepshow borrowing some scene's like this one. Also the very ending looks like what might have inspired to make My Bloody Valentine as well. This chapter is definetely influential.

The fourth chapter Wish You Were Here was one of my least favourites but still it had some good effective moments but the story was very quick as it does seem obvious when this woman Enid Jason tries to have her three wishes with the monkey paw which includes being wealthy etc. which we expect something deadly to happen in which it does look neat when her husband Ralph is driving in his vehcle and we spot a motocyclist on his tail and almost spot this bker's face revealing himself which doesn't look human at all and then spot it's a skeletal figure in which my guess was that it was the grim reaper. This looked pretty effective in the story without a doubt.
What is totally psychological here is when she wishes her dead husband alive forever and he is in intense pain from the permanent injuries from his car accident in which gives you an intense feeling imagining if you were in that kind of pain every day for the rest of your life which is a heelish nightmare as well as her trying to slaughter him with a sword which of course making things worst cause he cannot die but be in slaughtering pain. Man this is a tough one to watch for anyone who has a difficult time imagining intensive pain and having to see what goes on with this character at the end of this chapter.

The final chapter Blind Alleys really packs a punch and a perfect conclusion with the chapters here in which it looks good with exposing this greedy man Maj. William Rogers acting closed minded towards the blind people in the home in which there's a good moment on one of them named George Carter asking for heat but he refuses as well as giving them sloppy food while he is dining himself in his own room with the best food he can have as this is a nice start to the story on what terror will unravel for him indeed. Also nice moments when they show aggressions with him his guard dog barks and snarls at them which adds a bit of suspense to the story wondering if they will get out in time and not get hurt especially with the fact that they can't see what will approach them.
There's a good disturbing moment with a blind patient coughing and getting sick suddenly dying along with the announcement that he is dead with the others rising up anxiously as this seemed impressive that someone will be done about William and his cold hearted deeds on not taking the proper care of these people like he's supposed to.
Their vengeful plans looked good to watch as well as a plan to trap William's dog as well as ganging up on him proving that being blind doesn't make them helpless at all which looked interesting to watch as well and then trapping him in a room as this seemed pretty cringing as to making you wonder if they will keep him in there for good since he isn't fed at all bring the great psychological moments here. Plus it seems disturbing when he pleads them to feed his dog with this dog barking and trying to get out along with a great one liner that he will be vicious if he doesn't get fed which is just what these people want adding a perfect flavor to the story here. We also see them doing some construction in the hallways planning a trap as this looked even more interesting showing what talent's that they can use when they can't see anything.
Also there's great creepy shots on William finding a way out when a door is open for him where there's a wall of razors blades that he tries to dodge as I bet the makers from Saw watched this and gave them an idea to make their stories with this small scene. Plus a perfect creepy moment on George letting out his dog and we see this ferocious beast lunging towards him as this brings a perfect ending for a vengeful horror tale on a greedy bastard getting what's coming to him. I found alot of this seemed to borrow similar stories from the legendary horror writer Edgar Allen Poe with what was happening quarter way through the story here and done in great taste.

Bottom line is that this is the best horror anthology that I've ever seen done in perfect taste based on the old comic book series of the same name and some of them reused in the TV series years later. The cryptkeeper of course isn't that skeletal figure as it's just a mysterious looking man in a monk suit questioning the people who have wandered into his crypt on the sins that they have done and why they are there too. It's very different compared to the series trust me. The stories are very short and simple leaping right into a chapter and then leaping back to the Cryptkeeper and the character that was last seen in the chapter which seemed to work brilliantly. I'd advise any horror fan who likes short tales in an anthology to check this one out since the chapters are exciting to watch making you wonder what will happen every minute into the story.

The acting is very well paced in which the main character Ralph Richardson (The Crypt Keeper) seems to pull off his weight very well as someone who is very ghostly and mysterious with his speaking and presence plus had the looks to do this all too in which he was a true character actor and knew his stuff very well portraying this type of role with his calmness but yet someone who isn't too trustworthy. He also was good with his stare on everyone along with speaking mysteriously to all of them showing a great powerful reaction towards everyone.

In And All Through The House the lead actress Joan Collins (Joanne Clayton) really had her part patted down as someone with a wicked and bitter attitude and coming across as someone deceiving like an everyday family woman here. She shows a great sneering and vicious reaction after killing her on screen husband which looked impressive. She also does well with her scared attitude as well as showing great fearful and anxious energy too especially with her screaming by what she spots from her window or when she is attacked. She really comes across nicely onto the camera when we spot her performing here.
Oliver MacGreevy (Maniac in Santa Suit) certainly had the perfect creepy and expressionless looks to his role and really knew how to act menacing and full of hype with whatever he does in the story. He does well with his sneering expressions while peeking through a window from the outside. Plus shows great energy at the end of his performance plunging in for the kill which was powerful. Although he had no lines he still knew on how to portray a perfect creepy horror character here.
Chloe Franks (Carol Clayton) shows alot of great spunk as a little girl excited for Christmas in which she made her role very believeable by what she's doing having a great hyperactive attitude as well as being so full of life. I really found her to be quite funny in her performance making her role very likeable. She has a ton of high energy here which is what I like in a performance and can be fondly remembered in this film too.

In Reflection of Death Ian Hendry (Carl Maitland) really pulled off his part as a family man in which he shows a good friendly and warm behavior as well as showing some good energy when he acts anxious in some spots. Yet he seems cheesy with his voice over acting after an incident and seems a bit too humoress. He does a nice job speaking calmly while he spots his children sleeping. Also he reacts well to gasping after waking up from a nightmare which looked good and energetically paced.
Angela Grant (Susan Blake) has a nice innocence to her looks in the film and a good natured attitude in which she does well at portraying as well as knowing on how to act believeable when she's blind with her disturbed type of attitude just showing an upsetting type of behavior really studying her role quite well here. With this she does well with her mysterious behavior as well as feeling away while walking and speaking tensely as this was all put together perfectly.

In Poetic Justice Robin Phillips (James Elliott) really pulls it off well by having a cold hearted and greedy attitude especially with his cold speaking and really throwing with the punches by what he has to do in order to be not well liked and crippled in the head. He certainly showed a good high energy into his nasty behavior which seemed overly impressive. Plus he really shows some great menacing energy while using garden supplies tearing up a rose bush really getting into what he is doing here. He also does well with his hissing while he speaks in one scene as well as great expressions on this too. A perfect shocked reaction on him after what he spots with a great hollering and paranoid expression on his face.
Peter Cushing (Arthur Edward Grimsdyke) certainly does well with his elderly and peaceful type of attitude into what he does here as well as acting believeably emotionally upset when needed to be. A perfect upsetting reaction on him while his dogs are taken away in which he does well with his upsetting emotions. He drew in some great characteristics into all that he did here in which he's often done a good job with anything that he has done and really specialises in horror films showing great timing especially in this chapter.

In Wish You Were Here Barbara Murray (Enid Jason) is a bit too over the top at times and seems sometimes average in her performance as I didn't find her to be the best at all compared to the rest of the cast member whom I found made a much better effort than she did. But yet she does show some good intensity with her upsetting scene's so at least she let out a bit of good energy here and there. Yet she seemed a bit rough when she makes a wish as to how she reacts with everything. Also her emotionally sobbing seemed quite wooden too. However during the end of her performance she has perfect intense expressions and upsetting cries

In Blind Alleys Patrick Magee (George Carter) was marvellous as a blind person showing a great expressionless behavior as if you'd really think he was like that along with showing a perfect disturbed behavior and bringing out a nice cold hearted aggression really showing perfect timing as a horror character here. Also he does a good job with his blocking like is really is blind and shows a good stern speaking. He shows a good forceful attitude as well during the middle of the story here. Also perfect aggressive expressions while he's building construction in the hallways. He just fits the part perfectly and had the perfect looks for this part too. You can tell he studied this role inside out.
Nigel Patrick (Maj. William Rogers) brought on a great nastiness to his role and seemed believeably greedy with what he does here acting like a typical loser running the area for blind people and thinking that he's above them all. He also shows a great upsetting and emotional attitude when needed to bringing on some good energy for this. He does well with his cautious reactions while trying to dodge some razorblades while walking through a creepy hallway as well as great scared reactions while his dog attacks him. He brings alot of great characteristics within all of this.

In And All Through the House there's some fake looking blood with a knife plunging down on a person's head
In Reflection of Death a face looks scarred and badly burned
A heart is revealed in Poetic Justice.
In Wish You Were Here a person's intestines is revealed while being chopped up

The music sounded superb in which there's was good string and harp plucking for the moments with a ouija board making the music sound incredibly mysterious as well as good trombone playing and loud intense sounds for when the terror strikes which made that scene seem incredibly effective. In between the stories there's good quiverring sounds as well as shaky type clarinet music along with the heavy drum beats plus nice piano tapping sounds here and there too in which alot of the music seemed pretty mysterious sounding as well as dark with the silent moments used too.

The Crypt Keeper: Who's next?
[looks at camera]
The Crypt Keeper: Perhaps... you?

Charles Gregory: [Revived to life, twitching and screaming in pain] Oh, Enid!
Charles Gregory: [Yelling towards the front door] Charles!
Ralph Jason: Help me!
Charles Gregory: [Entering the house] What's happened?
[to Enid]
Charles Gregory: What have you done?
Enid Jason: I wished him alive again... forever!
Charles Gregory: Don't you realize he's been embalmed? His veins are filled with embalming fluid, burning into him!
Enid Jason: [Sobbing] Oh, no!
Ralph Jason: [Screaming] Enid, do something! For God's sake, Enid, help me!
Charles Gregory: [Enid grabs a sword from the wall] No, no! Enid, don't!

George Carter: The men have asked me to come and talk to you.
Maj. William Rogers: Yes?
George Carter: It's about the heating,it's been very cold these past few nights,we wondered if.
Maj. William Rogers: Rogers interrupts Carter"For reasons of economy the heating is turned off at twenty hundred hours.You should all be in bed by then after all there's no point in staying up you cant see anything".
George Carter: The beds are cold there aren't enough blankets
Maj. William Rogers: I am trying to run this place as efficiently and economically as I can,I am afraid the current budget does not include the cost of new blankets.
George Carter: Do you know anything about blind people?
Maj. William Rogers: No I can't say I do till I took over this job,but I was in the army over twenty years and I learned to handle all kinds of men there.
George Carter: With all due respect sir we are not soldiers,blind people are not like people with sight,we have lost one sense but the loss of that sense only tends to sharpen the others.Do you know what that means?we feel things more acutely if food tastes bad it tastes worse to us,if a room is dirty we feel every speck,if an insect scurries across the floor we hear it,and if it's cold we feel the cold more.Why don't you sell that painting and buy us fuel or extra blankets?
Maj. William Rogers: I was not aware that the administration of expenditure for this establishment had been handed to you Mister.Carter!Good morning!

Maj. William Rogers: [Hearing his dog bark in the room beside him] Well, at least feed my dog, please!
George Carter: [Somber] He'll be fed alright.