Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Glynis Johns and Terry-Thomas
THE VAULT OF HORROR (1973). Director: Roy Ward Baker.

After the success of their Tales from the Crypt, Amicus decided to release this follow-up featuring more adaptations of 1950's E.C. horror comic stories. The framing device has five men entering an elevator and winding up down in a sub-basement lounge, where they tell each other of horrible dreams -- or prophecies -- that they've had. Rogers (Daniel Massey), who is looking for his sister (played by real-life sister Anna Massey) for nefarious purposes, uncovers a nest of vampires in a small town in "Midnight Mess." Glynis Johns [Personal Affair] has had more than she can stand of her neat freak, belittling husband (Terry-Thomas) and takes action in "A Neat Job," from the gruesomely amusing story from the first issue of ShockSuspense Stories. "This Trick'll Kill You" features Curt Jurgens [The Mephisto Waltz] and Dawn Addams [The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll] as a team of magicians who even resort to murder to steal tricks away from Indian fakirs, with back-firing results. Michael Craig [Doctor in Love] and Edward Judd [First Men in the Moon] make a "Bargain in Death," an insurance scam in which one of them pretends to be dead -- but of course there are horrible complications. "Drawn and Quartered" features an artist (Tom Baker) who uses voodoo and paintings depicting scenes that come true to get even with several people who cheated him out of his rightful acclaim and fortune. Superior to Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror is very entertaining, creepy and, at times, delightfully ghoulish.

Verdict: Good anthology horror film. ***.

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