Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tales From the Crypt Review
One of my favorite comic book series has to be "Tales from the Crypt". I later found the television show on Fox television late nights, and enjoyed the show. However, as I learned more and more about the series, I realized that there was a movie based on the EC comics in 1972. The movie was a british horror film and was somewhat tame in consideration to other movies that we've been talking about on this blog. Could a 1972 film really showcase the best of the crypt keeper in movie format? I present now, for your consideration, Tales from the Crypt from 1972.
The movie is about a tourist group that stumbles upon a dark cave where a monk lives. The monk instructs them all to sit down and to listen. He then begins to tell them their futures, or what is assumed is their futures. However, these tales spin out of control, and the people begin increasingly desperate, but not before the Monk finishes every tale.
Here is a trailer for Tales from the Crypt:
The acting is quite well. I'm not a huge fan of horror movie acting, but the reactions and lines are spot on with what I would expect out of a British film. They react in such a manner that creates an overall sense of true horror, and mean spirited situational mistakes. I think that modern films should have higher degrees of good acting, but for whatever reasons it just doesn't happen.
The camera's don't cut often. The film uses the old style of film making with long shots before cuts, and bright colors reminiscent of the Hammer Horror films that were coming out around the same time.
My favorite of all the stories has to be "Wish You Were Here" which is a story that parallels the short story "The Monkey Paw" which gives the lesson of being careful what you wish for. But I definitely liked the sting of the first story, featuring a killer Santa Claus. That's right, we get a psycho Santa coming through and slashing his way to another victim, and this was eleven some odd years before one of my favorite films, Silent Night Deadly Night.
When all the stories have completed their take, the monk reveals something interesting and the worst effects occur, creating a laughable ending to an otherwise good overall horror film.
Is Tales From The Crypt Scary?: No. The movie is a good acted, overall thematic horror film, but is not overtly scary. The sequences and stories involved in this film are all cautionary tales. (Much like the Jenna Jameson Autobiography) The short stories all have moral endings, and prove to be more of a lesson giving format than a real scary plot twist. This movie should be the basis for Sunday School teachings and story telling, instead of promoted as a horror film. I'm a big fan of this type of storytelling, as a Christian, however it just doesn't seem to pack the punch that the original comics did.
I know, for 1972 this film could have been scary for audiences. I thought about that and then started to remember films of the 1970's and realized that this film is a lot more tame than it's contemporaries. movies like Blacula, Grave of the Vampire, Last House on the Left, The Reincarnation of Isabel, and so many other films were far more gruesome and bloody and dare I say scary.
If I were to argue for the reason why this film was scary, it would have to be for the reason that the film has a religious or psuedoreligious tone to it. The monk is like the final judge for these five people. He basically tells the people what is going to happen in their lives, and instead of giving them a choice, he condemns and sentences them to hell. Some might few this as a "God" like story. It is definitely a scary notion to consider that if God exists, and he judges you based on what you did on Earth, we're all doomed. That is unless you subscribe to Christianity or other religions. In regards to faith, we all take a gamble. However, I would like to consider the notion of Christian Apologetics Ravi Zecharias, in that if I'm wrong, so be it, to dust I return.That dust being nothing, but my life's ambition and goals of happiness reached through my life of Christianity. If I am right, then I gain so much. Strip away the religious connotations to this film, and you really have just another morality disguise.
These characters are not good. You do not cheer for anyone in this movie, and maybe that's the fatal flaw of this film. Tales From The Crypt would later produce some great programming, and would go on to release films like "Demon Knight" and "Bordello of Blood" but with their 1972 film, it just didn't feel the same. While I do recommend the 1972 Freddie Francis directed, 20th Century Fox distributed Tales From The Crypt Movie, I don't think it's that scary or good.
As a Bonus a little word from The Simpsons Season 3 Treehouse of Horror II from 1991:
During the Third Season of the Simpsons, another rendition of "The Monkey Paw" story occurred. My favorite part of that scenario was that Homer wished on his final wish, after Aliens invaded the Earth, for a Turkey Sandwich. If you recall, the Turkey was a little dry, and that prompted a freak out and then Homer threw away the paw. Flanders gets a hold of it, and the rest is history. Great comedy, for The Simpsons and it still holds up today. Yep.
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