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Vault of Horror
Tales from the Crypt II

UK 1973
produced by
Max J. Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky for Amicus Productions
directed by Roy Ward Baker
starring Daniel Massey, Anna Massey, Terry-Thomas, Glynis Johns, Curd Jürgens, Dawn Addams, Michael Craig, Edward Judd, Tom Baker, Denholm Elliott
based on the EC Comics Vault of Horror & Tales of the Crypt published by William M. Gaines

Tales from the Crypt, Amicus omnibus movies

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Five perfect strangers (Daniel Massey, Terry-Thomas, Curd Jurgens, Michael Craig, Tom Baker) are for some reasons locked into a clubroom in the cellar of their appartment building, which they didn't know even existed. To pass the time, they tell each other about their recurring nightmares ... 

  • Daniel Massey tells about him searching for his sister (his real live sister Anna Massey), &, upon finding her, he kills her for their parents' inheritance. But, as he goes dining after his misdeed, he has to find out she is actually a vampire living in a city of vampires, & in the restaurant where he is eating, they do have good use for him ... as vine of the day.
  • Next it's Terry-Thomas who has just married Glynis Johns, but his compulsion to keep everything neat & tidy soon drives her nuts, until she kills him with a hammer to the forehead. But then she dismembers him & keeps his body parts in jars, just as he would have loved it - neat & tidy.
  • Curd Jurgens' story concerns a Hindu girl who knows a rope trick he - a famed magician - must acquire at any cost - & be that cost that he & his wife Dawn Addams have to kill the girl. But the rope has a few tricks of his own ... finally strangling Jürgens as if by magic.
  • Michael Craig tells his story of being buried alive with his friend Edward Judd in order to get the insurance money. But once Craig is six feet deep Judd has other plans with the money than sharing it, leaving his buddy where he is. 2 medical students though do need a corpse of their own for anatomical studies & pay a gravedigger to deliver, & yes, it's Michael Craig they are digging up. But once the corpse rises from the grave, the 2 flee in horror, causing Edward Judd, who happens to drive by, to have a fatal accident (alright, so that was far fetched). The gravedigger though is anxious to deliver a corpse, & if the unearthed body is not quite dead ... that can be helped by a pick to the forehead.
  • Finally it's Tom Baker's story, as he, a starved artist, used voodoo to jumpstart his career. & the magic works as easy as this: everything that happens on his canvas will also happen in reality. So, after using it for some selfish means like painting a self portrait & keep it in his safe to stay forever young (yes, that does remind one of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray), Baker decides that voodoo might be a perfect means opf revenge, too. So he paints the 3 people who wronged him, then mutilates same pictures in order to have them mutilated in real life too (& it actually works). It isn't until he has to take his self-portrait out of his stuffy safe in order not to suffocate, that he is in any danger. Soon the painting has an accident ... & so has he.

In an epilogue we learn that the 5 people sharing their dreams are actually five already deceased men, cursed to tell their deaths each night, over & over again.

 

Many things have been said about EC Comics from the 50's, & especially their flagship titles, Tales from the Crypt & Vault of Horror, & most of it based on bad propaganda, wild rumours, hearsay or the mediocre early 90's tv show Tales from the Crypt. Truth though is that these comics were actually anthology titles (usually consisting of 4 8-page stories by book), telling moralistic horror-shortstories with a macabre twist at the end. As such they were something like a perfect source for the Amicus omnibus movies, which were pretty much consisting of the same kind of stories but were, especially towards the studio's decline in the early to mid-70's, often rather uneven in storytelling. 

This movie however, & Amicus' other EC-adapation, Tales from the Crypt from the previous year, is a nice if a bit old fashioned (by the 70's standard) piece of short story-telling, putting the shocks & the laughs just where they belong (which would often be in the same place).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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