Home > Tales from the Crypt (1972) - 7 > Tales from the Crypt (1972) – 7

Tales from the Crypt (1972) – 7

Director – Freddie Francis

Cast – Joen Collins, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Richard Greene, Ian Hendry, Patrick Magee, Barbara Murray, Nigel Patrick, Robin Phillips, Ralph Richardson

Release Year – 1972

Reviewed by John of the Dead

While searching for films directed by Freddie Francis, a classic horror director of the 60s and 70s, I came across one whose title stood out to me…Tales from the Crypt. The first film to take on the stories provided by the famed EC horror comic series, this effort was the inspiration for the Robert Zemekis-created TV show that scared scores of youngsters during its reign from 1989 to 1996. While this flick is nowhere near as scary as I would like it to be, it does provide a pretty engaging experience and consists of good horror for its time, sure to please those who love their 70s horror.

While touring a crypt five strangers become lost and stumble upon the crypt keeper’s lair where they are each told stories of how they died and wound up there.

If you know my love for anthologies, as well as the Tales from the Crypt TV series (plus Demon Knight), then you know why I just had to watch this piece, and why I enjoyed it. The story takes off right away with our five protagonists embarking on a guided tour of an old crypt and eventually losing the rest of the group and winding up in the crypt keeper’s lair, and once the first story kicks in we are given horror that would never relinquish for the rest of the film.

I could go into what each of the five stories was about, but they were quite simple and I would rather you watch the film for yourself and enjoy what I enjoyed. Some were obviously better than others, but each carried a good feeling of dread and came with positive kill sequences as well, but with this being a PG film you can only expect so much horror, therefore there was nothing too gratuitous or overly scary. Did I mind the lack of great scares? Not really, I saw the film for what it was and saw that the horror was scary in nature despite the lack of on-screen spooks. Of course, no anthology would be right without a positive wraparound story, and the wraparound closes out the anthology in the greatest way possible, and providing the most dread for the five protagonists as well.

Freddie Francis did a positive job directing this piece, giving us fantastic atmosphere and good performances by all involved, including horror legend Peter Cushing who was told to “as as himself” portraying a man who uses a Ouija board to contact his dead wife, an ironic role given Cushing had just recently lost his wife in real life (IRL for you noobs). The horror provided was well executed and came with a decent amount of gore at times for a PG film, and I applaud Francis for turning this very simple horror film into a classic that I am sure will be remembered for many more decades to come.

Overall, Tales from the Crypt is a great horror anthology that brings that awesome feel of the 70s along with good horror that did well for being a PG effort. The film’s rating may have been what held it back from providing horror that would have aided it in keeping up with other notable 70s films (Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, etc.) but in the end this is one flick worth watching merely for its original ties to the famed comic series.

Rating: 7/10

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