Tales From the Crypt (1972)
Running Time: 92 minutes
Who the Devil Made It: director Freddie Francis
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Ian Hendry, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Nigel Patrick, Patrick Magee
Cinematographer: Norman Warwick
A woman is attacked on Christmas Eve by an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Claus. Now imagine that same scenario, only the woman has just murdered her husband with a fire poker. That turn of the screw defined the worldview of EC Comics’ pulp horror rag Tales From the Crypt during its run in the 1950s. The victims of the macabre morality tales usually had it coming, an idea which extends to Amicus’ 1972 anthology film version. Unsurprisingly, considering this adaptation’s British roots, that comeuppance is often inflicted upon a member of the monied class.
- One of seven horror anthologies released by Amicus from 1965 to 1974, including an unsatisfactory Tales From the Crypt sequel in 1973 titled The Vault of Horror.
- In addition to his career directing genre favorites for Amicus and Hammer, Freddie Francis also served as cinematographer on The Innocents, The Elephant Man, Cape Fear and Glory.
Where to Find It: Shout! Factory just released a Tales From the Crypt/Vault of Horror Blu-ray double feature.
Behind the Scenes
(Above) Make-up artist Roy Ashton, who created some of Hammer’s most memorable monsters, works on Peter Cushing’s corpse look for the segment Poetic Justice. Picture via Empire Online.
Posters and Cover Art
Though it takes its name from EC Comics’ Tales From the Crypt, only two of the film version’s five stories came from that publication. The others derive from the EC titles The Haunt of Fear and The Vault of Horror. Below are the covers for the issues that originally featured each of the film’s tales. Continue onward and you’ll find a few of the stories in their entirety.
All Through the House
Reflection of Death