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April 9, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #42 - Tales From The Crypt

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon Number 43 - Zombie
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.


Marvin the Macabre said...

The Mike, I believe we have some sort of psychic connection. First you list Happy Birthday to Me just days after I watched it for the first time. Then you discuss Creature From the Black Lagoon at the same time I'm having a powerful urge to watch it again. And now you write about Tales From the Crypt one day after I buy a used DVD copy.

I haven't watched it yet, but all signs indicate I'll digit. Keep on keepin' the faith Brother The Mike.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

I just gave you an award:

: said...

"That's not a euphemism"

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Still LMAO at that.

I need to see this. I've always thought that Peter Cushing's zombie was one of the creepiest images I've ever seen, from a film that I've never seen.