The Horror Honeys: All the creatures were stirring…

All the creatures were stirring…

A Supernatural Honey Holiday Horror Review by Suzanne

Tales from the Crypt (1972)

During the month of October, I wrote a piece on Amicus anthologies. They’re a Halloween staple for me.  One anthology I save for the Christmas holidays is the original Tales from the Crypt. Although there is only one Christmas themed vignette, I can’t get through the holidays without a viewing. Directed by Freddie Francis and starring the likes of Peter Cushing and Joan Collins, it’s by far one of the best horror anthologies Amicus ever produced. 

I’m going to play nice and warn you there are SPOILERS AHEAD!

The wraparound:

On a tour through the catacombs, five strangers are separated from their group. They end up in a room with a strange and mysterious man, the Crypt Keeper (Sir Ralph Richardson), who outlines how each one will die due to their unscrupulous behavior.

“…And All Through the House”
The stories kick off with a super 70s Christmas. Gold-digging Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins) is ready for her pay out. On Christmas Eve, after putting her daughter to bed, she clubs her husband in the head, (hey, that rhymes!) killing him. While trying to dispose of the evidence, she hears about a homicidal maniac on the loose from a nearby asylum. As luck would have it, he soon shows up on her doorstep dressed as a dirty, filthy, creepy Santa. Fearing a call to the cops would expose her crime, she stages the body to make it look like an accident. Before she can make the call, her young daughter lets Santa in and Joanna gets a Christmas surprise.

“Reflection of Death”
Adultery and karma are at play as Carl Maitland (Ian Hendry) decides to run off with his mistress, Susan (Angela Grant), leaving his family behind. Before they get too far, they crash the car. Carl wakes up at the scene of the accident seemingly unharmed, but Susan is gone. Assuming she has abandoned him, he decides to go home. Everyone he comes in contact with runs screaming, including his wife. Carl goes back to Susan to find she was blinded in the accident. She also refuses to believe it’s him, saying he died in the accident TWO YEARS AGO. From the moment Carl wakes up we see everything from his POV so it isn’t until he sees his reflection that we make the same realization, he is a walking corpse. At that moment, he wakes up to find it was all a dream… right before the car crashes.

“Poetic Justice”
Arguably my favorite story of the bunch, greed and entitlement attempt to triumph over generosity and kindness. Widower Arthur Grimsdyke (Peter Cushing), a retired trash man, rescues dogs and also refurbishes old toys, which he gives to local children, all of whom love him. He is a gentle man with a huge heart. His neighbors, father and son, Edward and James Elliott (David Markham and Robin Phillips), are wealthy jerkoffs who feel Arthur’s junk yard is bringing down the property value in the neighborhood. In an attempt to get him out, they attack his character, labeling him a child molester, and have the town remove his animals. James sends Arthur several cards on Valentine’s Day, seemingly from the neighbors, bullying him and ultimately causing Arthur to hang himself. One year later, Arthur returns to take his Valentine’s revenge, proving James truly has no heart.

“Wish You Were Here”
If wishes were unicorns, you’d have some fucked up unicorns in this take on “The Monkey’s Paw.” A bankrupt -morally and financially- businessman, Ralph Jason (Richard Greene) and his wife Enid (Barbara Murray) find a Chinese figurine that will grant them three wishes. Enid wishes for a fortune and it comes true, but Ralph dies in a car accident on the way to collect. Enid is now a wealthy widow, but she uses her next wish to bring her husband back. Trying to be clever, she wishes for him to be how he was just before the crash. Unfortunately, Ralph had a heart attack and was dead before crashing the car so he’s brought home in a coffin. Oops! A glutton for punishment, Enid uses her final wish for Ralph to be alive and live forever. True to form, this isn’t going to end well since Ralph was already embalmed and comes back in immense pain. Enid tries to kill Ralph, but because she wished for him to never die, he will live in pain forever.

“Blind Alleys”
This story takes the saying, “the blind leading the blind” to a whole new level. At a home for blind men, a new director is appointed in former soldier, Major William Rogers (Nigel Patrick). The Major makes some serious budget cuts and reduces heat and food consumption for the residents, while he lives in great comfort with his dog, Shane. As he ignores the pleas of his wards, one of them dies from hypothermia and they exact their revenge by locking the Major in the basement while they build an elaborate maze, lined with razor blades. What the major doesn’t realize is his dog has also been sequestered and starved. The Major is allowed to go free, but as he’s attempting to escape the basement, the residents let loose the dog and turn out the lights.

The conclusion:
Back in the catacombs, our five strangers sit in disbelief, hoping they have an opportunity to alter their fate, but the Crypt Keeper reveals the stories were not a warning. Hell awaits.
Tales from the Crypt is definitely dated, as are all Amicus anthologies, but, to be perfectly honest, if you haven’t seen this movie by now, you should get a giant lump of coal in your stocking and you should also think about turning in your horror ID badge. Naughty, naughty…

Supernatural Honey Verdict: 4 escaped homicidal maniacs out of 5