I like to think I’m a pretty well-rounded horror movie fan, but I guess not. I had no idea that these films existed and certainly did not know that these were the first feature adaptations of the EC Comic series. Of course, I’m very familiar with the HBO series. I own a very rare, Target released Crypt Keeper mechanical Halloween decoration. Yet, I had no idea someone had made these films back in the 70s. I’m sorry. If you want to revoke my horror movie fan super secret ID badge, I would understand.
However, minus all that shame, this sad truth made for an awesome viewing experience as I went in completely unprejudiced and without any familiarity. It’s rare for me with these reviews as I normally get to watch something I’m very knowledgeable with and so discovering these movies was a real treat. It was also great viewing with my wife, who loves the clever and fun thrillers rather than the gory ones. So, in the end, everyone benefits from my lameness.
Tales From The Crypt, the first of the two, tells the story of five strangers who find themselves locked in a spooky catacomb. There, they meet a mysterious man who seems to know their dark secrets. One by one, each character has their own short story revealed to the audience. Is it a flashback to something horrible they’ve done OR is it a look into one bleak possible future? Only the crypt keeper knows.
Vault Of Horror follows a similar format only this time the five strangers meet in an elevator that takes them all to the same floor. There, they each recount a strange personal dream, one more grisly and horrifying then the next. For what purpose are these five brought together? By the end, it will all be clear.
I’m a big fan of anthology stories. I like their brevity, and when effective give you just enough to satisfy but allow you to fill in some blanks on your own. You don’t see them often and big studios these days avoid them all together. I love the cavalcade of stars in these two movies. Peter Cushing, Tom Baker, Joan Collins, Denholm Elliot and Curt Jurgens are a few of the actors that pop up. Everyone delivers great performances. Cushing delivers an incredibly sad and powerful story as a lonely old man who is bullied by a neighbor – a neighbor who then comes to regret his heartless actions.
Scream Factory has done both films a great service. Big surprise, right? It’s always the same with me. But the truth is Scream Factory isn’t here to waste your time or your money or theirs for that matter. If they are going to do something, they are going to do it right. The films look stunning. I mean, for the age of these movies (1971 and 1973), they are golden and crisp. Where and how they find their source material, I’ll never know. It’s nice to see someone give a crap about making their releases look good. I know a DVD had been released a few years back but I’m not aware how good or bad it looks. I would bet this is the best version.
The Blu-ray is pretty thin of extras. However, it does have two discs, one of them containing a 4×3, uncut version of Vault Of Horror. I went back and compared a few scenes and it does have some more blood and guts. Plus, it’s cool to see how a film is shot full frame on 35mm, then compare it to what a cropped, projected version looks like.
I’m highly recommending this double set. Either for you or the horror movie lover in your life. The films are beautifully directed and their presentations are handled with true passion for the material. You can’t ask for much more than that. Well, maybe eternal life, but aside from that.
Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror double Blu-ray is available today! Don’t wish for it from the monkey’s paw, just order it here!