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(Midnite Movies Double Feature)

Long before HBO brought William M. Gaines wonderfully ghoulish E.C. Comics to life in their long running television series; Britain’s Amicus Productions took their turn at adapting these pulp horror stories to the big screen, thus producing two reasonably successful films: TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) and VAULT OF HORROR (1973).

TALES FROM THE CRYPT offers a quintet of stories. ... And All Through the House stars Joan Collins as a woman who murders her husband on Christmas Eve, then with blood on her hands, is unable to escape a homicidal maniac in a Santa costume. Reflection Of Death features Ian Hendry as a faithless husband, who is an automobile wreck while running away with his girlfriend… and awakens to find himself unable to get a ride back home. Poetic Justice finds Peter Cushing as a kindly lower class man driven to the end of his rope by a heartless, snobbish neighbor. Wish You Were Here plays as a variation on The Monkey's Paw, with Richard Greene as the husband wished back from financial ruin with disastrous effects. Blind Alleys is the story of a cruel new superintendent of a home for the blind, who gets his comeuppance at the hands of the rebelling inmates. The cast of TALES FROM THE CRYPT also features Roy Dotrice, Patrick Magee, Barbara Murray, Robin Phillips and Ralph Richardson as The Crypt Keeper.

VAULT OF HORROR offers an additional quintet of stories. Midnight Mess features Daniel Massey and Anna Massey in the story of greed and murder in a town overrun by vampires. The Neat Job is an amusing black comic treat featuring Terry-Thomas and Glynis Johns in a tale of an obsessively fastidious husband, whose constant browbeating drives his wife into an organizational frenzy. This Trick’ll Kill You finds Curd Jürgens in the role of a magician on holiday in India, where the magician discovers a deadly new variation on the old Indian rope trick. Bargain In Death features Michael Craig in the story of double cross, insurance fraud, and a couple of medical students in search of a fresh cadaver. Drawn And Quartered finds Tom Baker portraying a painter who turns to voodoo to exact revenge on those who cheated him on the profits they made on his art. The cast of VAULT OF HORROR also features Dawn Addams, Denholm Elliott, Edward Judd, Robin Nedwell, Geoffrey Davies and Terence Alexander. Please note that VAULT OF HORROR appears to have been transferred from an edited television print, which removes some gore and spoils the ironic twists of two of the stories.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentations that have been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Being that TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR are modestly budgeted horror movies from the early 1970s, neither film can be considered demonstration material, but the each has been given a really super looking transfer. Sharpness and image detail are great for these types of productions, with only occasional shots appearing softer. Colors tend to be rendered at a fairly natural level of saturation. Blacks appear solid as do the whites. Contrast is very good and there is more than decent shadow detail The film elements used for these transfer does have some age related blemishes, as well as some grain, but neither is too bad. Digital compression artifacts remain out of sight.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are crisp and clean, with most instances of background hiss and surface noise having been cleaned up in the mastering process. Dialogue reproduction maintains full intelligibility throughout. The tracks contain the expected frequency limitations of older monaural recordings, however the music still manages to hold its own. French and Spanish monaural soundtracks are available on TALES, while VAULT offers Spanish monaural only. English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided for VAULT, while it is just English and Spanish subtitles for TALES.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features. A black and white TV spot/trailer for VAULT is the only supplement. TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR ($15) are a great double feature and I love the fact that Fox has ported the Midnite Movies banner over to their product from MGM. However, I am disappointed by the fact that VAULT OF HORROR has been transferred from an edited print.



Tales From the Crypt / Vault of Horror (Double Feature)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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