Tales From the Crypt
(1972, Dir. by Freddie Francis.)
Why It's Here:
Though the TV series from the late '80s-early '90s gets all the headlines, Amicus Pictures' anthology feature hits all the right notes for me. Put together by Freddie Francis and featuring great performances from the likes of Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, and Ralph Richardson, it's a great collection of short horror tales that fit together perfectly. There's a heavy dose of kismetic revenge at work throughout the five stories, with the wrap around that features Richardson as an ominous Crypt Keeper serving as a nice way to keep the film together.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
"And All Through The House" might be the most famous EC Comics tale to make its way into HBO's Crypt series, but I think Francis' version - featuring Collins as wife who offs her husband on Christmas Eve presents the story just as well. There's something about Ms. Collins trying to scrub blood out of her shaggy white '70s carpet (that's not a euphemism) that sets the tone for the whole film.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
It would be easy to throw out one of Amicus' other anthologies, but I feel like a different Francis film fits well with this one. So let's talk about The Creeping Flesh, in which Francis brings us a healthy dose of Cushing AND Christopher Lee while presenting a creepy . Of course, you could always just team the movie up with the TV show too, but that's just too easy.
What It Means To Me:
When horror of the 1970s is the topic, my mind usually goes straight to the religion based Hollywood productions and slasher-genre-forming independent features that shaped horror's most loved decade. But Tales From The Crypt has always stuck out as a sort of "farewell" to the British horror films of the '50s and '60s that I loved. It wasn't pushing horror forward like so many of its contemparies - though it did sport some images that could have come from an early slasher or giallo - but it was still a blast to watch. If nothing else, it inspired me to say "All in good time..." with a sinister tone A LOT.