Thursday, May 20, 2010

Film #25: Tales from the Crypt (1972)

Greetings boils and ghouls!
Nick and Chris are dead tired from their slay-jobs, so they asked their olde pal the Crypt-keeper to take a stab at the RDHP blog.
I’m a fitting fill-in. After all, my early ‘90s television show – so beloved by Sick and Piss – was based on the same 1950s E.C. horror comics that inspired this week’s RDHP sin-ema: 1972's “Tales from the Crypt.”

This die-abolical film starts with a group of strangers entering a British crypt for a tour. After a die-er warning of not being dismembered from the group, five people wander off into a skull-studded chamber fitted with five cold slab seats.

Suddenly the chamber door slams shut, squealing them in the crypt, and a mysterious cloaked Crypt-keeper appears in the mouth of a huge wall-skull. Unlike my HBO version, this Crypt-keeper is really fleshed-out. Yet, despite being covered in disgusting muscle and skin, he still can weave a spooktacutlar tale!

One by one, the Crypt-keeper shows the trapped people their festering future through five movie vignettes -- each containing a horrifying sin, and an even more horrifying punishment for their wicked deeds.

The first vignette features a sultry vixen who murders her loving husband on AX-mas Eve, only to be stalked herself by a murderous psycho-Santa. Next comes a horny toad who tries to leave his wife and children for his mistress, but encounters grave trouble while driving along the die-way.

Third spins the tale of ghostly revenge on a rich, spiteful man who ruins his neighbor’s life – a lonely old garbage collector – for trashing the neighborhood with his scares. Fourth, we meet a swindling business man who is granted three wishes by a magic statue, but doesn’t heed the warning that all things come with a slice.
And lastly the corrupt superintendent of a blind asylum is shown that even the weak and sightless see dead when angry.

The five stranger's sins are all slayed out before the Crypt-keeper’s feet. They have screamed the error of their ways. Can these dastardly dopes redeem their souls, or is it too late? Find out in the 1972 boo-vie, "Tales from the Crypt."

Sorry if my putrid puns caused you to howl with pain. I haven’t been able to stop talking like that since my stroke.
And, my apologizes if you don’t like this week’s blog intro - but don’t pick a bone with the RDHP. By hiring me to fill in, they are working with a real skeleton crew.

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 4.0
Chris Dimick’s tale:
“In real life, it is hard to tell the difference between good and evil. Things are not black or white, regardless of what Michael Jackson says. You know, the world is a confusing place, and sometimes it is hard to figure out just who to root for – who’s the good guy or who’s the bad guy.

It is because of this fact that I love movies like Tales from the Crypt – they clearly and succinctly tell you who to root and who to boo. Most Tales from the Crypt stories, both in this movie, in the comic books it is based on, and the eventual TV series, featured a horrible asshole who would Hot Carl those around them in some way, and then get an ironic and just come-up-ins by the end. This movie stuck close to the Tales from the Crypt legacy of “bad things happen to bad people – eventually.”

It is quite uplifting to see a murderous wife get stalked by a crazed killer, or a cheating husband eat a bumper sandwich in a balls-out car wreck. Tales from the Crypt takes the horror and makes it cathartic. Since the people who are being slaughtered and tormented in the tales deserve it, a viewer can cheer on the carnage whole-heartedly.

In fact, the tales actually make you crave horrible things to happen to the d-bags. Setting up the stories like this can buy into many a cliché, and over time the formula can get predictable and a bit lame. But that can be overlooked due to the insane amount of fun one has seeing someone get what they deserve.

Tales from the Crypt solves an inherit problem with horror movies. In most scary pictures, you are rooting for pure people to escape harm and horror delivered by evil-doers or situations. This can be hard to watch… seeing bad things happen to good or at least neutral people can be unpleasant, sickening and, well, scary. Hence a scary movie. That is great and all, but sometimes it can just be so depressing to see bad things happen to good people. Don't we get enough of that from life!?

But when bad things happen to bad people, there is no loser. Sure, plenty of good people get tormented in Tales from the Crypt, but at least by the end their tormentors are missing a few limbs or in the least taught a spooky lesson.

For first time in the RDHP, a 1970s film has delivered the goods. The TV series of the same name was instrumental in the development of my love for horror. That show taught me that horror movies can be both scary, hilarious, and ironic at the same time.
This movie, though not directly affiliated with the TV show, draws from the same horror well and will make you feel like a 10-year-old again, sneaking in spooky tales late at night without parental consent.

Tales from the Crypt will not only leave your smiling, but satisfied that – at least in the movies – there is a world where even though crappy stuff can happen to a good guy, the bad guy will get it worse."

N-Rating: 3.6
Nick Rich’s tale:
“Watching Tales from the Crypt was a rare treat for me. Having grown up with the 1990s TV show, seeing a big production 1970s version was awesome! Maybe I'm whimsical for days before my own, but the clothes, style and attitude of that period were so much cooler - I dread the day where I will look back on the 90s and think "I wish I could go back".

As Chris said, TFTC delivered the goods. The poor lead-in of the other RDHP 70's films definitely helped, but TFTC stood on its own merit with a dignified air about it that made it look and feel legit (maybe it was because of all the Brits). The segments were well constructed and entertaining (for the most part) and although the tales were much like I remember from my childhood (predictable), I found them unique and well executed enough to hold my interest.

Sir Ralph Richardson, while looking a bit like Friar Tuck, was captivating in his role as the Crypt-keeper - especially at the conclusion of the film. To make his performance all the more eerie, as he delivered his final monologue you could see him shaking gently (looking as if the onset of Parkinson's was beginning to plague him in real life); a visual reminder as to how frail we all are.

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you're in the mood for some old time Hollywood with a bit of 70s flair - its just good clean fun!”

Quote of the Viewing:
[Joan Collins' flowing 70s-licious hair fills the screen as she runs to the front door and bolts about five locks to deter a homicidal maniac]

Chris: That's a lot of locks.
Nick: She does have a lot of hair.
Chris: Booo, nice pun Crypt-keeper.
Nick: Ha! I really thought you meant her hair.

Things We Learned in "Tales from the Crypt"
-Do something evil, you gonna die, yo!
-Pedophiles love puppets.
-Blind people act like zombies when in groups.
-You can make your own Ouija board.
-Valentines can cause suicide.
-You can massage someone to death.
-England in the 70s looked like the US in the 40s.
-The blind are great at carpentry:

Your Wish Is My Command!
If You Dare!
A vignette in TFTC focuses on a magic statute that grants a person three wishes, but fulfills them in horrifying ways. People get what they ask for, but they also get a heaping helping of irony. If the RDHP had a magic evil statue, here are the three wishes we would be ask for... and how would they come to an ironic, tragic end:

Chris' Three Wishes:

Cubs Win the World Series
It has been 102 years since they were champions. So, this wish seems like a fan's dream come true, until drunken, riotous Cubs fans set fire to Wrigleyville and burn Chris's house down. Damn You Old Style!

Unlimited Supply of Bell’s Oberon
and Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar Chips
With my two favorite food items secured for life, I would quit my job and do nothing but ingest this sweet sweet God nectar. After three days of nonstop gorging, first I go blind, then my heart explodes.

World Peace
Everyone come in for a hug. Yay! All weapons are destroyed, and we live happily ever after. At least until we are invaded by low-tech aliens who enslave us with the aid of mere sharpened sticks. Where is a terrorist when you need one? Ji-hello?

Nick's Three Wishes:

The Eternal Puppy
Oh to have a pooch that would always have that puppy smell and looks! As puppies have trouble with discipline, the pooch wouldn't learn to stay away from my feet as I walk near my front stairwell... One day while rushing to work I would trip over man's best friend to my doom! The last thing I would see is a little tongue licking my cheek...

Independently Wealthy
Once rich (in deed as well as name) I would promptly quit my job and become addicted to computer games. After getting the sweetest gaming setup known to man, I would then slowly loose all muscle function due to lack of movement... then lose my wife whom I would be unable to run after.

Super Powers
Ah, the life-long dream to be "super"! Once bestowed with the miraculous ability to shape-shift, I would change into a massive eagle and soar through the sky... only to be sucked into an incoming plane's jet engine.

Ode to the Pencil Thin Mustache
One of the characters in TFTC was rocking this look... and the RDHP could just about feeeel the skeez coming through the screen. It inspired Chris to pen a pencil thin ode.

With the pencil-thin hair.
Because it's so horrible,
Your look is quite rare.

Unless you're John Waters,
This isn't okay.
You look like a creeper,
Or 1980s gay.

One look, I'm unclean.
Your 'stache be so nasty,
in the non-disco scene.

Here is a razor,
Just shave that shit off.
Stay away from my children,
Like 'stache, your head's soft.

Reasons Not to Mess With the Blind
Blind people get mad revenge on a dude that done them wrong in TFTC. If this movie isn't enough warning, here are several random reasons not to piss off the sightless:

1. One word: Daredevil.

2.They can't see you, but they can read your thoughts.

3. Most have dogs at their side... ready to rip out your throat.

4. They're blind! I mean, come on!

5. You can't fear what you can't see.

No comments:

Post a Comment