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Tales from the Crypt (1972)

PG | | Horror | 9 March 1972 (USA)
Five strangers get lost in a crypt and, after meeting the mysterious Crypt Keeper, receive visions of how they will die.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on stories originally published in the comic magazines 'Tales From The Crypt' and 'The Vault of Horror' by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Joanne Clayton (segment 1 "And All Through The House")
...
Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (segment 3 "Poetic Justice")
...
Charles Gregory (segment 4 "Wish You Were Here")
...
Ralph Jason (segment 4 "Wish You Were Here")
...
Carl Maitland (segment 2 "Reflection of Death")
...
George Carter (segment 5 "Blind Alleys")
...
Enid Jason (segment 4 "Wish You Were Here")
...
Major William Rogers (segment 5 "Blind Alleys")
Robin Phillips ...
James Elliot (segment 3 "Poetic Justice")
...
The Crypt Keeper (as Sir Ralph Richardson)
...
Guide
David Markham ...
Father - Edward Elliot (segment 3 "Poetic Justice")
...
Neighbour - Mr.Baker (segment 3 "Poetic Justice")
Angela Grant ...
Susan Blake (segment 2 "Reflection of Death") (as Angie Grant)
Susan Denny ...
Wife - Mrs. Maitland (segment 2 "Reflection of Death")
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

DEATH LIVES in the Vault of Horror!

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

9 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cuentos de ultratumba  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£170,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Freddie Francis never read the original comics, fearing it would affect his personal interpretations on the stories. See more »

Goofs

In Segment 5, "Blind Alleys", when Major Rogers enters the dining room there is a murmur of conversation, however no one is seen to be speaking. See more »

Quotes

Father: [reading Arthur Grimsdyke's revenge letter written in the dead James Elliot's blood] "You were cruel and mean right from the start, now you can truly say you have no... heart".
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Toccata & Fugue in D minor
By Johann Sebastian Bach (as Bach)
Played by Nicolas Kynaston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"A classic Freddie Francis directed horror film."
20 September 2003 | by (Poole, Dorset) – See all my reviews

*CAUTION - HUGE SPOILERS* Five strangers are separated from their tour party while touring ancient catacombs. In attempt to find the others, they end up trapped in an eerie crypt where they meet the Cryptkeeper (SIR RALPH RICHARDSON), a sinister monk who shows them their grisly fortunes.

AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE: Joanne Clayton (JOAN COLLINS) murders her husband on Christmas Eve for his life insurance but ends up being attacked by a psychopathic killer dressed as Father Christmas.

REFLECTION OF DEATH: Carl Maitland (IAN HENDRY) leaves his family for his young mistress Susan (ANGIE GRANT). As they drive off into the night, their car crashes into a ravine. Carl manages to struggle out of the wreckage but Susan is nowhere to be found. Everyone he approaches runs off in fear at the sight of him and when he manages to get to Susan's flat, he discovers that she was blinded by the accident and that he had died two years previously. Bewildered, Carl looks into a mirror and discovers that he is a walking corpse. Suddenly Carl awakens and it was all a nightmare, but then the car crashes exactly as it did in his dream and the horror begins for real!

POETIC JUSTICE: Ruthless property developer James Elliot (ROBIN PHILIPS) feels that his neighbour, the kindly dustman Arthur Grimsdyke (PETER CUSHING) is an eyesore. However, his property has considerable land value and Elliot launches a smear campaign in the hope that he will sell up and leave. Instead Grimsdyke commits suicide after he sent him a number of poison Valentine cards, but a year on Grimsdyke returns from the grave to deliver a particularly grisly St Valentine's Day present!

WISH YOU WERE HERE: Ruthless business tycoon Ralph Jason (RICHARD GREENE) is declared bankrupt by his lawyer Charles Gregory (ROY DOTRICE). But Jason's wife Enid (BARBARA MURRAY) has discovered a statuette, which can grant three wishes. After Ralph is killed in a car crash, Enid wishes her husband alive forever and as a result Jason returns from the dead. However, his body has been embalmed and this means that he must live in eternal agony forever. Enid attempts to end is suffering by chopping him up with a sword, but this means that his suffering is only increased.

BLIND ALLEYS: Selfish Major William Rogers (NIGEL PATRICK) takes over the running of a home for the blind. However, Rogers uses funds allocated to the needs of his patients for his own comfort. When his negligence results in the death of one of them, the other patients exact a nasty revenge, in which Rogers is trapped in a corridor lined with razor blades and is set upon by his vicious starved dog.

After Rogers' fortunes are told, the Cryptkeeper informs them that he wasn't showing them the future, but telling them why they ended up in the crypt. The only exit leads into a fiery pit and they realize that they are all dead and are in hell as a result of their sins.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT was Amicus's fourth portmanteau horror film and is based on stories from the EC horror comics of the fifties by William Gaines. Freddie Francis' direction is first rate as is Norman Warwick's camera-work, which ideally suits the comic strip style of the film. A star-studded cast does fine work especially Peter Cushing as Arthur Grimsdyke in POETIC JUSTICE, a touching performance which won him the Best Actor Of The Year Award in France. REFLECTION OF DEATH is well staged and shot in dark uncompromising colors. WISH YOU WERE HERE is a variation on THE MONKEY'S PAW, while BLIND ALLEYS is neat and suspenseful thanks to imaginative camera-work and good performances from Nigel Patrick and Patrick Magee as the victimised blind man. I guarantee that the way Francis shot this episode will have you on the edge of your seat! AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE carries a touch of sly black humor as Joanne Clayton's little daughter played by Chloe Franks gleefully lets in the psychotic Santa Claus not realizing the real horror of what's going on. All in all, TALES FROM THE CRYPT is unmissable for both addicts of the genre and for those who appreciate fine acting.

Also of interest is the collectable novelized version of the film by Jack Oleck, which is well presented and good to read. Genre addicts will have a good laugh when they see the follow up, VAULT OF HORROR (1973), in which that very book is used as a prop by actor Michael Craig in the buried alive segment. In the 1990's, the EC horror comics were developed into an American TV series entitled Tales From The Crypt only the crypt keeper was a horrific skull like puppet and a 1996 episode called Last Respects was directed by Francis.


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