Cast & Crew
Sir Ralph Richardson
In an English churchyard, tourists gather to explore the ancient catacombs. As the party reaches the dark underground passageways, Joanne Clayton pauses, having dropped her brooch. In the momentary delay, Joanne, Carl Maitland, James Elliot, Ralph Jason and William Rogers are separated from the main group. Following a passageway in search of the others, the little group find themselves at a dead end, but when they turn around, a sliding door cuts them off, leaving them in a dim cave. There, a man in dark robes, the Crypt Keeper, asks them to step forward as he has a reason to speak with each of them.
All Through the House : On Christmas Eve in the Clayton household, the radio broadcasts holiday carols as Joanne's husband Richard happily places his present, a brooch, for Joanne under the tree. Moments after he settles down to read the newspaper, Joanne bashes the unsuspecting Richard in the head with a poker, killing him. Taking keys from his pocket, Joanne opens the family safe and rifles through Richard's insurance papers, until she is interrupted by a call from the Clayton's young daughter Carol. Assuring Carol that Santa Claus is on his way, Joanne then turns her attention to cleaning up the murder site. As Joanne struggles to move Richard's body, the radio broadcast pauses for a news bulletin announcing the escape of a homicidal maniac who has been spotted dressed as Santa Claus in the Clayton's neighborhood. Moments later, there is a knock on the Clayton's door and Joanne hastens to bolt it. Peering outside and seeing a figure dressed as Santa, Joanne locks all the shutters, then returns to shoving Richard's body down the cellar steps to create the impression that he has died in a fall. Hearing an odd sound upstairs, Joanne abruptly rushes there just as her young daughter enthusiastically welcomes Santa in through her bedroom window. Santa chases the screaming Joanne downstairs where he strangles her in front of the fireplace.
Reflection of Death : After telling his wife and two young children that he is going on a brief business trip, Carl Maitland meets his mistress, Susan Blake, with whom he has planned to run away and begin a new life. Driving to their destination, Carl assures Susan of his love, although admitting he will miss his children. When Susan volunteers to drive for a period, Carl quickly falls asleep only to startle Susan when he awakens screaming. As Carl explains he was having a bad dream, the car drifts into oncoming traffic and, panicking, Carl grabs the wheel, sending the car crashing into a fence and down a ravine where it explodes. Having been hurled from the vehicle, Carl revives and, examining the burnt car, finds no trace of Susan. Stumbling to a nearby farm, Carl approaches a man who screams upon seeing him and flees, as does a passing motorist on a nearby road. Confused, Carl walks home, only to have his wife scream and slam the door in his face. Finally heading toward Susan's apartment, Carl is perplexed but relieved to find her there, but stunned when she does not believe it is him. Realizing that Susan is blind, Carl is further taken aback when she relates that Carl died two years earlier in the crash that took her eyesight. Peering down into a mirrored coffee table, Carl sees his burnt, disfigured face and screams, waking himself in the car beside Susan just before they drift into oncoming traffic.
Poetic Justice : The haughty James Elliot, who lives in a large country home with his father Edward, despises his poor, junk collector neighbor, widower Arthur Grimsdyke, who makes toys for the local children. Determined to force Grimsdyke out of the neighborhood, so that his small, unsightly home might be razed, James secretly trashes the roses of another neighbor, Mr. Baker, so that Grimsdyke's numerous pet dogs will be blamed and removed. Then James coerces Counselor Ramsay to fire Grimsdyke, despite his good work record. After James spreads a rumor questioning why Grimsdyke spends so much time with children, anxious mothers forbid their children from visiting the old man again. Although one of Grimsdyke's dogs returns to keep the lonely man company, James continues his campaign and writes several Valentine's Day cards to the old man, with vicious verses urging Grimsdyke to believe he is despised by everyone. When Grimsdyke's dog is heard howling for a week, the police investigate and find the old man has hanged himself. Prodded by guilt, Edward pays for Grimsdyke's funeral and burial. One year later, James finds the remainder of the Valentine's Day cards in his desk and burns them, while out in the graveyard, Grimsdyke's body revives. The following morning, Edward finds the bloodied body of his son slumped at his desk, with a note in verse wrapped around James's still-beating, disemboweled heart.
Wish You Were Here : Upon informing Ralph Jason that his business has collapsed due to financial mismanagement, solicitor Charles Gregory suggests that Ralph sell off his vast art collection to remain solvent. Ralph then returns home and relates this unhappy prospect to his wife Enid, who expresses fondness for a statue purchased in Hong Kong. Examining the piece, Enid excitedly tells Ralph that an inscription on the base states that the statue's owner is allowed three wishes. Despite Ralph's skepticism, Enid fervently grasps the object and wishes they had a lot of money. Moments later, Charles telephones Ralph and asks him to come over for an immediate meeting. On the drive, a cyclist follows Ralph and soon after, the police inform Charles that Ralph has died in an accident. Charles immediately goes to the country to inform Enid that she will collect a large sum on Ralph's insurance. Distraught, Enid decides to wish Ralph back to life, but Charles cautions her about the fable "The Monkey's Paw," where a couple unwittingly wishes back their dead son, whose body has already decayed. Enid then carefully states that she wishes Ralph back just as he was prior to the car accident. Moments later, a hearse arrives bearing Ralph's body and the pallbearer states that Ralph died from a heart attack just prior to the accident. In a burst of emotion, Enid wishes Ralph was alive, that moment and forever. When Ralph awakens screaming, Charles tells the shocked Enid that Ralph is full of embalming fluid and in utter agony. Horrified, Enid grabs an ancient sword and hacks at Ralph's body, but as she has wished him alive forever, Ralph continues to anguish for eternity.
Blind Alleys : William Rogers, a former military officer, assumes the position of head of the Eldridge Home for the Blind and brings along his large German shepherd dog, Shane. Within days, the blind tenants are stunned by Rogers' callous, harsh treatment, including cutting back on heating, food rations and bedding supplies, while his own apartment is lavishly furnished and warm and his meals large. Envying that Shane is treated better than they, the men elect George Carter as their spokesman to plead their cause. George explains that being deprived of sight has augmented the men's other senses, but Rogers remains unmoved, insisting he has managed men all his life without complaint. When one of the most elderly men, Mr. Greenwood, dies of the cold and Rogers remains indifferent, the men plot revenge. Coercing Shane with bits of food, they lock the dog in a basement closet. Searching for Shane, Rogers is attacked by the men, who force him into a small room next door, where the frustrated Rogers listens for days to Shane's hysterical barking and the sounds of hammering. Weak from lack of food and exhausted, Rogers is startled when at last the door to his room is opened. Cautiously stepping outside, Rogers finds himself in a makeshift, narrow tunnel, its walls lined with razor blades. Turning to return to his room, Rogers sees the bolt of Shane's door pulled open by a string and his starved, crazed dog bounds toward him, forcing Rogers into the razor alley, as George turns out the lights.
The Keeper informs the group they can leave, but when Ralph goes to the now-open entrance, he discovers a yawning crevice with a pit of fire far below. The Keeper informs them that they are in the place for the unrepentant dead and are destined to remain there forever.
Sir Ralph Richardson
Ernest C. Jennings
Johann Sebastian Bach
Max J. Rosenberg
In the opening credits, the actors' names are listed sequentially, while in the closing credits, they were grouped by the stories in which they appeared. Tales From the Crypt marked the first feature film production for Metromedia Producers Corp.
In 1973, producers Charles Fries, Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky made a sequel under the Amicus Productions banner. That film, The Vault of Horror, was directed by Roy Ward Baker and based on other "Tales from the Crypt" stories. In 1989 the HBO cable television network adapted the Tales from the Crypt stories into a series that ran from 1989 to 1996. Many of the episodes for the series were written specifically for the show and not based on the original comic stories.
Released in United States 1972
Released in United States 1972