I honestly didn’t know there was a Tales from the Crypt movie, which I’m actually pretty ashamed about since I’m a fan of the show. The movie is from the seventies, quite a ways before the HBO show. I knew I had to check this one out so today we return once again to the land of anthology horror!
Instead of the Cryptkeeper cracking awful but awesome but mostly awful jokes, here we just have an old guy in a cave. Not nearly as exciting. He’s here to tell five strangers about terrible things they are going to do, as most old dudes who hang out in caves like to do. Let’s stick with the usual formula and go story to story, even though I maybe don’t have a whole lot to say about a couple of them.
The first story was also later done as an episode of the TV show and is regarded as one of the best. It’s about a woman who murders her husband on Christmas Eve and is trying to cover it up while her daughter is asleep upstairs. Because that’s not a stressful enough situation, there is also an escaped mental patient running around dressed up as Santa Claus. This is a good one, and my favourite part is that there are Christmas carols playing in the background the entire time. The episode of the show for this is better because it fleshes out the idea a little more, but this one is a good way to kick off the movie.
The second is a big drop in quality. It’s about a guy having an affair that sneaks off to see his mistress and gets in a car accident. That’s really all I can say but if you’ve seen a movie before in your life I’m guessing you can predict where this is going. I bet even 60% of new born infants could get this one. It’s well shot, but predictable.
The third was my favourite of the stories and is also the most bummed out I think a horror movie has ever made me. It’s about a friendly old man who has recently lost his wife and deals with the grief by making toys for the neighborhood kids, playing with his pet dogs, etc. Then this young, rich piece of shit across the street decides he wants to ruin this guy’s life so he’ll agree to sell his property to his family, since he thinks it’s an eyesore. I felt so bad for this guy! Peter Cushing is amazing in the role and by the end there is nothing they could do to this rich asshole that would make up for what he puts this guy through. Cushing makes it great, but fuck rich people man.
The fourth story is play on the old tale of the monkey’s paw, where you’re granted three wishes but the god damn monkey paw is going to find a way to fuck them up for you. So if you wish for a peanut butter sandwich it will turn out that the sandwich was made out of your dog! These stories are always fun because it’s a good time trying to guess just how the wish is going to go bad before it does. This one also gets points for a pretty brutal ending. Another good one.
The fifth and final tale is worthwhile because it’s so damn strange. This jerk takes over a home for the blind and treats everyone like garbage, serving them crappy food while he sits in the other room eating steak and drinking wine, and that kind of thing. So they exact revenge on him in such an elaborate and insane way that you just have to see the whole thing play out. I would have loved to be in the meeting where they decided that yes, this is the most practical way we can get revenge on this guy. It’s quite something.
Tales from the Crypt, both the movie and the TV show, are essentially all about assholes getting their comeuppances. The Twilight Zone mixed things up by occasionally having bad things happen to good people, but with Crypt you know bad people will be punished, usually in the most ironic and painful way possible. It can get a touch repetitive, but it’s no less satisfying. The movie is a good one, with really only one weak story in the bunch. Recommended!