Monday, September 6, 2010

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972)

So I took August off. Fuck you — I had lots of Katherine Paterson to read and needed time to update my Twitters.

Do you enjoy it when people say, "I'm not racist, but", as I do? I would marry it or fan it on Facebook. I'm not monoculturalist, but I'm not certain that the British were the right people to handle a Tales from the Crypt adaptation. I don't know if they have the right sensibilities to transfer the squalidness of the better stories to a screen. This anthology is decent enough, but I can think of many other Crypt tales that I'd rather see and many other anthologies that I'd rather watch. This seems kind of restrained at times.

I had a very Joan Collins weekend, as I watched EMPIRE OF THE ANTS (and blehhh), then noticed that she kicks off this anthology! In the familiar tale of a psycho Santa that was repeated in the TFTC TV series. That Joan Collins sure was pretty (and busy and talented) and there was nothing really wrong with this, but there's nothing there that would be worth crossing the street to see.

The street plays a role in the next sequence, in which our hero, an adulterer, abandons his wife and kid to run off with some harlot. But God will have none of that and summarily crashes their car. More than one twist ending arrives before it ends. So far, the overriding theme of the film is WOMEN ARE EVIL WHORES RUN AWAY.

And now things are looking up because omg it's Peter Cushing! Playing a Cockney garbageman! This one comes closest, I think, to capturing what was most magical about TFTC (likable or hateable character, morality play, ghoulish humor, and such). Plus it's PETER CUSHING in a role that (I think) he only did here (and I don't mean garbageman). He REALLY elevates what is a fine, but not remarkable story. This made me a little sad because I will never see a new Peter Cushing movie.

But I stopped crying, eventually. The next segment is "The Monkey's Paw". Not literally, I mean, but basically that's what it is, even though they reference "The Monkey's Paw" in the dialog. META. This one is fine, too, not exceptionally great and DEATHDREAM shouldn't start grasping at its throne in worry, but executed well enough to be enjoyable. 2 for 4 thus far. PS Never marry a WOMAN! She will just get you killed, then consign you to eternal pain and cry about it because of her FEELINGS.

The last segment has a good, creepy concept (a home for the blind is a fantastic setting for a horror story), but is dragged out a hair too long. This balances the very rapid, terse feeling of the first two tales, but the pendulum swings a bit too far the other way. Waiting and waiting for the payoff.

This has an armada of faithful fans, but I just didn't feel that satisfied by film's end. If I have to convince myself to have fun and spin wild tales (like the Crypt Keeper here is the pre-pubescent version of the series Crypt Keeper) during a TALES FROM THE CRYPT movie, something is wrong. It wasn't a total disappointment, like this review or SHUTTER ISLAND, but I still wanted more. Maybe VAULT OF HORROR, which is disc the second of this set, will give me what I crave. TALES FROM THE CRYPT I have not loved.

2 comments:

April said...

How about "I'm racist, but..."?

CWL said...

Like, "I'm racist, but when I look at 1975 Laura Gemser..."? I approve.