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Tales from the Crypt

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Tales from the Crypt (1972) starring Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing
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Tales from the Crypt (1972) starring Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing

Tales of the Crypt (1972) is a horror anthology, where the mysterious Crypt Keeper tells five different people, in a strange place, the story of their crimes. And at the end, unveils their punishment.


Ralph Richardson as the Crypt Keeper in "Tales from the Crypt"

When I saw the title Tales from the Crypt, I thought of the cheesy horror TV series based on the old EC Comics. I was wrong. This was, instead, a very well-done horror anthology. Also based on the old EC Comics series. It’s very well-done. It doesn’t rely on cheesy effects, or mindless gore. It tells the story of five people. Five people who have done bad, evil things. They are:

And All Through the House

Joan Collins stars as a beautiful, heartless woman. On Christmas Eve, a violent killer has escaped from a mental institution. She murders her older husband, expecting to blame the killing on the escaped lunatic. But the lunatic, dressed as Santa Claus, has broken into the house! And her little daughter may be killed …

Reflection of Death

An unfaithful husband leaves his wife, to run away with his girlfriend. But there’s a terrible car accident on the way. He wakes up, and goes looking first for the wife, then the girlfriend. But he finds out that the girlfriend was blinded in the accident. Which happened a year ago! And then, he sees his reflection in the mirror …

Poetic Justice

This tale is of two uncaring home owners, a father and son. They simply want to drive and elderly man from their neighborhood. The old man (Peter Cushing) lives in an old house, that they feel brings down the neighborhood’s value. And, the elderly widow repairs discarded toys for poor children. Toys that he finds, discarded, on his garbage route. How low class! Or so they think.

Peter Cushing as the old garbage man in "Tales from the Crypt"

So, they slowly drive the old man to suicide. That wasn’t their plan. They only planned to drive him away, with a series of “minor” events. Such as murdering his dogs, and leaving nasty poems for him to read. Telling him that he’s be better off dead. What lovely people.

Unknown to them, however, the old man dabbled in the occult. And on the one-year anniversary of his death, he comes back for revenge. It should be stated that the revenge is barely needed. The two feel the full guilt of their actions, and it’s driving them to the edge. But revenge comes anyway …

Wish You Were Here

Richard Greene in the "Wish You Were Here" segment in "Tales from the Crypt"

This is a variation on the classic horror story, the Monkey’s Paw. A businessman is on the verge of bankruptcy. His wife finds a Chinese figurine, and wishes for a fortune. But a in the Monkey’s Paw, every wish backfires. Horribly.

Blind Alleys

A home for the blind gets a new director (Patric Magee). He cuts expenses to the bone, reducing heat and food for his charges. Some literally die, but he doesn’t seem to care. All he seems to care about is his beloved dog. And so, the blind inmates work together, and build a maze-like construct in the basement. They lure the man and his dog there, and imprison them. And don’t let them out until they’re both starving. And “blind alley” takes on a new meaning.

Conclusion of Tales from the Crypt

At the end, all five people have heard their stories told. And now, the Crypt Keeper issues sentence. It’s not what the audience thinks is going to happen. But, it’s completely appropriate.

Tales from the Crypt is a very good horror anthology. I enjoyed it very much


  • Ralph Richardson (The Ghoul) … The Crypt Keeper (as Sir Ralph Richardson)
  • Geoffrey Bayldon (The House That Dripped Blood) … Guide
  • Joan Collins (Empire of the Ants) … Joanne Clayton (segment “And All Through the House”)
  • Martin Boddey … Husband (segment “And All Through the House”)
  • Chloe Franks (The Uncanny) … Daughter (segment “And All Through The House”)
  • Oliver MacGreevy … Maniac (segment “And All Through the House”)
  • Ian Hendry (Theater of Blood) … Carl Maitland (segment “Reflection of Death”)
  • Susan Denny … Wife (segment “Reflection of Death”)
  • Angela Grant … Susan (segment “Reflection of Death”)
  • Peter Cushing (The Curse of Frankenstein) … Grimsdyke (segment “Poetic Justice”)
  • Robin Phillips (Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus) … Elliot (segment “Poetic Justice”)
  • David Markham … Father (segment “Poetic Justice”)
  • Robert Hutton (They Came from Beyond Space) … Neighbour (segment “Poetic Justice”)
  • Richard Greene (The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939) … Jason (segment “Wish You Were Here”)
  • Barbara Murray … Enid (segment “Wish You Were Here”)
  • Roy Dotrice … Gregory (segment “Wish You Were Here”)
  • Nigel Patrick … Rogers (segment “Blind Alleys”)
  • Patrick Magee (The Masque of the Red Death) … Carter (segment “Blind Alleys”)

You can also watch Tales from the Crypt on Tubi TV

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