Okay, anyone that knows me, knows I love Tales from the Crypt, anthology films and well, horror in general. So, of course, when I put in the fantastic two pack Tales from the Crypt / Vault of Horror Blu-ray from Scream Factory, you know I’m going to love it and love it I did. Although, I will admit that I enjoyed Tales from the Crypt a little more than Vault of Horror, but that isn’t to say I didn’t like Vault either, as both are fantastic anthology films, worthy of being picked up today. Read on for more…
RUN-TIME: 83 / 86 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, DTS 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1972 / 1973
Tales From The Crypt
When five unwary travelers with dark hearts stumble into a series of catacombs, they find themselves in a cavern with no way out. But the horror’s only just begun as a mysterious figure appears to reveal to each person the shocking events that will lead to their well-deserved, untimely – and unavoidable – demise. Starring Joan Collins (Empire Of The Ants), Peter Cushing (Horror Of Dracula), Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange) and Sir Ralph Richardson (Rollerball), and directed by Freddie Francis (The Creeping Flesh), Tales From The Crypt is the original, gets-right-under-your-skin creepfest!
Vault Of Horror
Available uncut for the first time on home video! Five unsuspecting hotel guests step into an elevator, which leads them into an underground vault. Trapped with no way out, each guest shares a gruesome tale of an encounter with death. But as the stories unfold, the men begin to suspect that their presence in the vault is no coincidence, and that the only way out…is death. Starring Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Denholm Elliott (Raiders Of The Lost Ark), Curt Jurgens (The Mephisto Waltz) and Michael Craig (Mysterious Island), this ferociously entertaining film is a worthy sequel to Tales From The Crypt! Includes unrated and theatrical versions.
Long before the fantastic 90s TV series Tales from the Crypt came around, there was only the old Tales and Vault comics and no show in sight. In steps Amicus Productions in the early 70s to give us a few spooky tales in movie form, based on the old comic books. First up we have Tales from the Crypt, the better of the two movies.
Tales from the Crypt tells us five stories, with a wraparound story about a group of people lost in some old tombs, with a creepy old man telling them their possible future, or is it their past? Dunn dunn dunnnnn. Sir Ralph Richardson plays the Crypt Keeper and no he isn’t all dried up and dead looking, but a very much alive and normal looking old guy, but he does look pretty similar to the Vault Keeper from the Vault of Horror comics. (Although, less happy.)
The first story is one that if you have watched the TV series will have seen before. Titled …And All Though the House, this one tells of a woman who has her hands full on Christmas Eve, while a crazed lunatic dressed up as Santa is stalking around her house. It’s a simple story, but incredibly effective. I just love the ending. This story was actually first featured in The Vault of Horror #35.
Next, up we have Reflection of Death, which is about a man leaving his wife and children to live with another woman. After some dire circumstances, things take a turn for the undead. It’s a short story, but with a lovely twist ending. This one was first featured in Tales from the Crypt #23.
The third story is titled Poetic Justice and stars the amazing Peter Cushing as Grimsdyke, the loveable old man. Except, not everyone loves him, as his house tends to lower the property value of those around him. So a bunch of jerks seeks to get rid of him. This story was first featured in The Haunt of Fear No. 12, March–April 1952.
The fourth is titled Wish You Were Here and is your standard Monkey’s Paw type story of three wishes went bad, really bad. The ending is fantastic, although I have to say the woman isn’t the brightest at making the wishes. This story was first featured in The Haunt of Fear #22, November–December 1953.
The last story is titled Blind Alleys and is about a general who takes over an institute for the blind and starts to cut costs, just so he can live the life of luxury. The blind people don’t take to kindly to his cost cutting tactics and plan a devious plot to get rid of him. I have the say, the plan seems like overkill to me, but hey, the guy was a jerk. This story was first featured in Tales from the Crypt No. 46, February–March 1955.
As you can see above, you get a lot of awesome stories, served up to you from the Crypt Keeper and not a one of them is bad. This is a fantastic movie and a must see!
Okay, on to the next movie in the package, which is the sequel to Tales from the Crypt, titled Vault of Horror. This movie isn’t as good as the first one, as some of the stories do lack, but overall, it’s still a very good time burner. Let’s crack into what each story is about.
First, the arc of the movie is about five men who take a ride in an elevator down to the basement floor, not by choice, but by something out of this world. Stuck in the basement, they start talking about their strange and vivid dreams they keep having. I think you can guess where the rest of this story is going.
The first story is titled Midnight Mess and is about a man who is seeking out his sister. He finds her in a strange village, where the townsfolk keep telling him to stay inside after dark. Of course, the man doesn’t heed their warning. A pretty gnarly ending is in store for this one, although some of the special effects are a little wonky (the teeth.) This story was first seen in Tales from the Crypt #35
The second story is titled The Neat Job and is about an OCD clean freak, who marries a younger lady and basically tortures her with the fact that his house must be clean at all times and nothing can be out of order. Let’s just say that it doesn’t take long for the wife to snap. An okay effort, but not overly scary or anything. This story was first seen in Shock SuspenStories #1
The third story is titled This Trick’ll Kill You and follows a magician, as he seeks out new tricks in India. After seeing a trick performed by a mysterious lady, he tricks her into coming back to his hotel room and things take a turn for the truly bizarre. This movie has an epic death scene in it, that for some reason just creeps me out. The story was first seen in Tales from the Crypt #33
The fourth story is titled Bargain in Death and is about a man who wants people thinking he is dead, just so he can claim his insurance money. Unfortunately, he relies on the wrong person to help him out. This story was different and had a strange ending. I’m sorry, but when you see a car crash in front of you, you tend to want to help out the person inside, but I guess not these people. This story was first seen in Tales from the Crypt #28
The fifth and final story is titled Drawn and Quartered and is about a painter who wants to take revenge on the people that wronged him. After visiting a voodoo priest in Haiti, he gets the ability to just do that, but unfortunately, things don’t work out for the best for him. This story was first seen in Tales from the Crypt #26.
Vault of Horror’s stories was a little lacking in certain areas. None of them are overly bad and all of them, at least, have a few interesting surprises up their sleeves, but something is just lacking. It’s quite hard to put your finger on it, but Vault of Horror just doesn’t quite reach the quality of Tales from the Crypt.
Scream Factory worked very hard at getting the uncut version of Vault of Horror, so most of the budget went into that movie. There are no special features for Tales from the Crypt and only a few for Vault of Horror, such as a trailer and an alternate title sequence. However, you do get a second disc, which houses the theatrical version of Vault of Horror (certain death scenes used still frames instead of the actual footage) and the uncut, open matte version of Vault. What’s funny is that the matte version seems to be the best looking one of the lot. The theatrical version is a little washed out with the colours I find. The uncut version on the same disc as Tales from the Crypt seems to closely match the quality of the open matte version, but not exactly.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- Vault of Horror Theatrical Trailer
- Vault of Horror Alternate Title (Tales from the Crypt II)
- Vault of Horror Theatrical Cut
- Vault of Horror Uncut Open Matte Version
I pretty much knew going in that I was going to love Tales from the Crypt / Vault of Horror, so I’m probably pretty biased when it comes to this collection. However, I do know that if you love anthology films, this two pack is a complete no-brainer and one that comes in an excellent looking package from Scream Factory. It is a shame that there is only a super small helping of special features, but at least, we get the uncut version of Vault of Horror and a great looking Tales from the Crypt. Pick up today!