Tales from the Crypt (1972)

USA, UK, 1971
92m
35mm, colour
mono, English

An American/British horror film financed by the American Metromedia Producers Corporation and made by the British company Amicus. It was directed by Freddie Francis and was the the fourth of Amicus’ anthology films, the first of two (along with The Vault of Horror (1973)) based on stories first published in the pages of EC Comics. In this instance only two of the five stories are actually based on EC’s Tales from the Crypt as producer and writer Milton Subotsky was working from a paperback reprint that contained stories from both Crypt and its sister title The Vault of Horror.

Plot Summary

Five people are trapped in crypt where the crypt keeper tells them the reasons why they are there: in All Through the House, Joanne Clayton murders her husband and finds herself tackling a psychotic Santa Claus let into the house by her trusting young daughter. Reflections of Death has an unfaithful husband involved in a car crash that blinds his lover and leaves him horribly scarred. Poetic Justice tells the tale of Arthur Grimsdyke, a lonely old widower driven to suicide by Edward Elliot, his vindictive neighbour, on St Valentine’s Day. One year later, he’s back ripping the heart from Elliot’s son James and sending it to Elliot as a macabre Valentine’s gift. In Wish You Were Here Enid Jason is granted three wishes; the first, for money, kills her bankrupt antiques collector husband, Ralph and she inherits the insurance money; the second brings Ralph back from the grave as a zombie; and the third condemns him to a life of eternal pain as the embalming fluids flow through his veins. The final story, Blind Alleys has William Rogers, the cruel director of a home for the blind, finding himself on the receiving end when the patients revolt – as they close in on him with murderous intent, his only escape is either past a savage guard dog or down a narrow alleyway lined with razors.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Freddie Francis
© Metromedia Producers Corporation MCMLXXII
Metromedia Producers Corporation presents an Amicus production
Production Executive: Paul Thompson
Executive Producer: Charles Fries
Produced by: Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky
Production Supervisor: Arthur Stolnitz
Production Manager: Teresa Bolland
Screenplay by: Milton Subotsky
Based on stories written by Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig and Bill Gaines, originally published in the Comic Magazines ‘Tales From the Crypt‘ and ‘The Vault of Horror‘ by Bill Gaines
Wish You Were Here also suggested by The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs *
Assistant Director: Peter Saunders
Continuity: Penny Daniels
Director of Photography: Norman Warwick
Camera Operator: John Harris
Photographed in Eastmancolor
Editor: Teddy Darvas
Music Composed and Conducted by: Douglas Gamley
Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor played by Nicholas Kynaston
Sound Mixer: Norman Bolland
Sound Editor: Pat Foster
Dubbing Mixer: Nolan Roberts
RCA Sound Systems
Wardrobe Mistress: Bridget Sellers
Chief Make-up: Roy Ashton
Chief Hairdresser: Joan Carpenter
Art Director: Tony Curtis
Set Dresser: Helen Thomas
“Shane” Trained by: Michael Walsh
Casting Director: Ronnie Curtis

Cast
Ralph Richardson (the crypt keeper)
Geoffrey Bayldon (the crypt tour guide)

1. And All Through the House
Joan Collins (Joanne Clayton)
Chloe Franks (Carol Clayton)
Martin Boddey (Richard Clayton)
Oliver MacGreevy (maniac in Santa suit)

2. Reflection of Death
Ian Hendry (Carl Maitland)
Angie Grant (Susan Blake)
Susan Denny (Mrs Maitland)
Paul Clere (Maitland’s son)
Sharon Clere (Maitland’s daughter)
Frank Forsyth (tramp)

3. Poetic Justice
Peter Cushing (Arthur Edward Grimsdyke)
Robin Phillips (James Elliott)
David Markham (Edward Elliott)
Kay Adrian (Mrs Davies)
Carlos Baker (Mrs Davies’ son)
Dan Caulfield (postman)
Ann Sears (Mrs Carter)
Edward Evans (Mr Ramsey)
Irene Gawne (Mrs Phelps)
Stafford Medhurst (Mrs Phelps’ son)
Clifford Earl (police sergeant)
Melinda Clancy (Mrs Carter’s daughter)
Jamie (dog)

4. Wish You Were Here
Roy Dotrice (Charles Gregory)
Richard Greene (Ralph Jason)
Barbara Murray (Enid Jason)
Peter Thomas (first mortician)
Hedgar Wallace (police inspector)

5. Blind Alleys
Patrick Magee (George Carter)
Nigel Patrick (Major William Rogers)
Robert Hutton (Mr Baker)
Manning Wilson (vicar)
Harry Locke (cook)
Tony Wall (attendant)
George Herbert (old blind man)
Carl Bernhard, Ernest C. Jennings, John Barrard, Chris Cannon, Hugo de Vernier, Louis Mansi (blind men)
Shane (dog)

Alternative Titles

Condenados de ultratumba – Spain
Geschichten aus der Gruft – Germany
Im Horrorkabinett – Germany
Racconti dalla tomba – Italy

See also
Tales from the Crypt (1989)
Tales from the Hood (1995)
The Vault of Horror (1973)

Extracts included in
Tales from the Amicus Crypt (2015)
Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell (1987)
Peter Cushing: A One-Way Ticket to Hollywood (1989)

Production Notes

Release
The decision by producers Metromedia to sell the film to British television after just three years instead of the then usual five years caused a small controversy within the industry. Leslie Halliwell, then buyer of films for ITV, said that Metromedia were unaware that the film was still in theatrical circulation and had in any case assumed that the five year protection clause had fallen by the wayside. 1Screen International no.15 (13 December 1975) pp.1, 19

References

Periodicals

  • Bild & Bubbla no.151 (December 2000) pp.102-106 – review (by David Haglund)
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.18 pp.36-40
  • CinemaTV Today no.10001 (7 October 1972) p.32 – review (by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Films and Filming vol.19 no.1 (October 1972) p.53 – illustrated credits, review (by Margaret Tarratt)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.464 (September 1972) p.196 – credits, synopsis, review (by David McGillivray)
  • Shivers no.36 p.36 – review
  • Starburst vol.4 no.2/no.38 (1981) pp.32-37 – illustrated article (by Alan Jones and Phil Edwards)
  • Video Business vol.4 no.50 (18 February 1985) p.27 – review (Comic Horrors)

Books

  • American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography by Rob Craig p.359
  • Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood pp.84-93 – illustrated synopsis, review, production notes, credits
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.268
  • The Devil on Screen: Feature Films Worldwide, 1913 Through 2000 by Charles P. Mitchell pp.275-278
  • Elliot’s Guide to Films on Video p.783 – credits, review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.10, 145, 218, 222, 224-25, 224, 230, 237, 363
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.385, 398
  • Film Review 1973-74 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.233
  • The Films of Freddie Francis by Wheeler Winston Dixon pp.7, 127-130, 242-247
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis pp.383-384
  • Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir pp.230-232 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.262 – credits, review
  • Peter Cushing: The Gentle Man of Horror and His 91 Films by Deborah Del Vecchio and Tom Johnson pp.272-280
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.473 – credits
  • The Straight Story from Moby Dick to Glory by Freddie Francis with Tony Dalton pp.127, 157-160, 274
  • Ten Years of Terror pp.157-158 – illustrated credits, review (by Harvey Fenton)
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.206
  • The World of Fantasy Films by Richard Myers p.143
  • The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia by Peter Dendle pp.168-169