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 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 can not 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 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 is a good man that spends his leisure time with the children from the neighborhood. His heartless neighbor James Elliot does not like him and destroys his... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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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