Wednesday, October 5, 2022

31 Days of Scary Movies: “Tales from the Crypt” (1971)

 Last night I visited with one of my more recent additions to my favorite seasonal films: 1971’s “Tales from the Crypt.” Part 1950s horror comic anthology, part 1970s Hammer horror film, “Tales from the Crypt” is a film all its own. 

 Several years ago, I randomly stumbled across this film, as you should, late one night about 1am, and stayed up to watch it all. I loved the 1990s HBO show of “Tales from the Crypt,” and I’ve even king loved the 1950s era comics on which it was based. But somehow I never knew there was a film that came first, in 1971, and it featured Joan Collins in the iconic segment of murder and a psychotic— and also murderous— Santa Claus.

I find something so comforting in the way the cemetery is shot in the opening, our strangers brought together on a cemetery tour of a crypt. And something so comforting about the 1970s, almost Hammer like horror effects. The fake blood and the zombie makeup, and the dead rising from their graves. What more could you want?

 Watching this again, I was struck by how strong each segment is. Joan Collins’ opener is epic, and gets a lot of the recognition for the film, but each segment— especially Peter Cushing’ tale of neighborly strife. From the moment each segment starts, we know how it will end, and we will happily go along for the ride anytime. 

 The character of the Crypt Keeper is also so well done in this. The polar opposite of the HBO series’ ghoulish puppet, in this version, the Crypt Keeper of the the tales is simply a man in a brown robe and hood. Not showy at all, letting the pure, pulpy horror fun of the tales take center stage. A beautiful piece of horror filmmaking. 

No comments:

Post a Comment