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Tales from the Crypt (1972)

While touring some catacombs five people lose the rest of their party and are ushered into a cavernous vault by a cowled figure (Ralph Richardson) who reveals what the future may have in store for each of them.

In the opening vignette – ‘All Through The House’ – it is Christmas Eve and Joanne Clayton (Joan Collins) has just embedded a fire iron in her husband’s head as her daughter sleeps upstairs. Now she has to make it look like an accident so she can claim the insurance.

A radio announcement that there’s an escaped homicidal lunatic in the area dressed as Santa Claus could provide her with the perfect alibi, as long as he doesn’t make it into the house before the police arrive.

‘Reflection of Death’ features Ian Hendry as Carl Maitland, who we watch saying an emotional goodbye to his children as they snooze in their bunk beds. Carl, the bounder, is walking out on them and his wife to be with his young mistress Susan (Angela Grant).

They drive away down the motorway at night but are involved in a crash that spins the car over several times. Carl wakes up and staggers away from the wreckage to find help. The problem is, every person he meets or tries to flag down just screams at the mere sight of him. What has happened to Carl?

‘Poetic Justice’ features Peter Cushing giving a very endearing performance as a kind old widower called Arthur Grymsdyke who makes toys for the local children and looks after a huge collection of cats and dogs that help alleviate his loneliness.

Arthur’s ramshackle house is situated in an increasingly upmarket neighbourhood, though, and snobby posh git James (Robin Phillips) from across the road finds himself more and more irritated by having this eccentric and slightly disorganised old man living near him and ruining the view.

He begins a campaign to remove him and becomes more and more cold-hearted in his obsessive quest to drive Grymsdyke out.

‘Wish You Were Here’ has Richard Greene playing a businessman called Ralph Jason who is facing imminent bankruptcy. His wife (Barbara Murray) finds a Chinese antique and wishes for a fortune to help them out – which has rather unfortunate consequences for her husband.

‘Blind Alleys’ tells the story of Major William Rogers (Nigel Patrick), who has taken over as the new boss of Elmridge Home For The Blind, an anachronistic, ramshackle institution that is apparently always surrounded by snow and howling wind.

Rogers immediately begins new cost-cutting operations including a reduction in heating and food for the residents. “Why don’t you all go to bed?” says the Major when they complain about the lack of heating. “You can’t see anything anyway.”

The residents of Elmridge are soon plotting their (somewhat implausible but admittedly enjoyable) revenge.

This Amicus production was based on tales from the classic horror comics created by the publisher of Mad Magazine.

The Crypt Keeper
Ralph Richardson
Geoffrey Bayldon
Joanne Clayton
Joan Collins
Richard Clayton
Martin Boddey
Carol Clayton
Chloe Franks
Oliver Macgreevy
Carl Maitland
Ian Hendry
Carls’ wife
Susan Denny
Susan Blake
Angela Grant
Maitland’s son
Paul Clere
Maitland’s daughter
Sharon Clere
Frank Forsyth
Arthur Edward Grimsdyke
Peter Cushing
James Elliot
Robin Phillips
Edward Elliot
David Markham
Mr Baker
Robert Hutton
Detective Ramsay
Edward Evans
Mrs Phelps
Irene Gawne
Mrs Davies
Kay Adrian
Mrs Carter
Ann Sears
Mrs Carter’s daughter
Melinda Clancy
Mrs Phelps’ son
Stafford Medhurst
Mrs Davies’ son
Carlos Baker
Ralph Jason
Richard Greene
Charles Gregory
Roy Dotrice
Enid Jason
Barbara Murray
Major William Rogers
Nigel Patrick
George Carter
Patrick Magee

Freddie Francis