Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tales from the Crypt

Watched February 2, 2015

Starring: Joan Collins, Sir Ralph Richardson, Ian Hendry, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice

I love the HBO Tales from the Crypt and I love puns so I think the Cryptkeeper is the the best. It's no surprise that there have been multiple movie versions using the great stories from the Tales from the Crypt comics. I didn't know this one existed until I found a VHS copy at a thrift store.

It begins with a group of people being led on a catacomb tour, there are four men and one woman. They end up in a large room with a skull fireplace, they all sit on rocks and the crypt keeper questions them one by one on why they don't remember exactly how they got there. He helps them remember and they tell their tale.

Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins) looks at the broach she is wearing and it transports her to what she was doing before ending up in the crypt. It's Christmas eve and her husband is has set up all the presents around the tree and its reading by the fire. Joanne hits him over the head with a fire poke and he is instantly dead. She opens her Christmas present from him, the broach. Her daughter is laying  in bed upstairs and Joanne reminds her that Santa hasn't come yet, so she better get back to sleep.  Joanne hears on the radio that a man has escaped the mental hospital, stolen a Santa suit and killed several people so be on the lookout for the maniac. Joanne gets paranoid, especially since she just killed her husband. She tries to clean up the murder site and throws in the cellar. She sees the Santa murderer trying to get in, she locks all the shutters and goes to check on her daughter. Her daughter isn't in bed, when she runs down the daughter has Santa, she let him in the house. Crazy Santa kills Joanne.

Carl Maitland (Ian Hendry) is packing up his bags and he says goodbye to his children and his wife. He then heads to his mistress's apartment, he wasn't just going on a business trip he's leaving his family for his mistress. Her bags are packed too and they get in the car to go whereever they are going to be together. He gets tired of driving, so she drives and he falls asleep. She gets sleepy too and almost hits a car but swerves off the road.He seems like they both have died but two years later he comes back as a zombie and he goes to his wife's house but she is horrified. He then goes to his mistresses house, she was blinded by the accident. He looks into a mirror and sees his hideous face. It was all a dream but then they really do crash and they both dies.

James Elliot ( Robin Phillips) is a spoiled brat of an adult man who doesn't like his neighbor Arthur (Peter Cushing). Arthur is a nice old man that repairs thrown away toys and gives them to local children. He is very close to retirement. He has a couple dogs, his wife is dead but he communicates with her through a ouija board. James wants to get rid of him, so he digs up another neighbor's prized rose bushes and the blame immediately fall to the old man's dogs. They dogs are taken away from him.  James then lets the local parents know that the old man is strange so their children shouldn't visit Arthur anymore. James tops off the feeling of loneliness and abandonment by sending Arthur many Valentine's cards with mean sentiments and they are supposedly from multiple townspeople. The old man kills himself that and the neighbors find him a week later. One year later on Valentine's Day, Arthur rises from the grave and rips out the James's heart and leaves it wrapped in a Valentine's poem for his father to find.

Ralph Jason (Richard Greene) is a once successful investor who has just lost a bunch of money. His debt is now so large that his lawyer suggests selling off some possessions. He goes home to his wife and mentions the situation. As they look through the things in the house she is reminded of a statue that they got in Hong Kong. At the base of the statue is some unreadable writing but it makes them think of the wish granting monkey paw. Ralph makes a wish, wishing for some money. Immediately he gets a call with some good news from his lawyer, but he must meet him at his office. As he is driving he is followed by a skeleton on a motorcycle and he crashes his car.  
The lawyer calls the wife to inform her that her husband has died but there is good news in that he has a significant life insurance policy so money is coming her way. The lawyer brings the body in a casket home to the wife. She is convinced that the statue works so she wants to wish to bring him back to life.  The lawyer warns that you have to be very specific about the wish. She wishes that he'll come back to life as he was before the crash, but it turns out he had a heart attack before the crash. She wishes again to bring him to life, but he is filled with embalming fluid so he's in pain, she hacks him to pieces with a samurai sword.

Major William Rogers (Nigel Patrick) is a retired army man but he has just been hired to be the head of a home for blind men. He used the funds set aside for the men for personal use, his office is very well appointed. He turns the heat off in their dorm room at 8pm and won't give them any more blankets. The men begin complain, but he doesn't give into their demands. One of the men dies from the cold so the men plan their revenge. Major Rogers has a guard dog that protects him as he runs the place. The men save their meat and lure the dog into the basement, where they lock it up in a smaller room. They then attack Major Rogers and lock him up in a similar smaller room. Major Rogers can hear his dog barking, the men begin to build something. They let the man out but he has now a narrow corridor of razor blades to navigate, then is hungry dog is releases and he is cut up as his dog attacks him. Don't underestimate blind men when you're a jerk.

With everyone understanding the horrible things they did to get into the crypt, the crypt keeper leads them to the gateway to hell, where they must jump into a pit of fire.

A little slower than modern horror movies, but it's pretty good. I liked the last one with the razor blades the best. It was incredibly sad that the Peter Cushing character committed suicide because his neighbor was a terrible person. Even though he got his revenge as a zombie, I didn't want to see him die.

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