Tales from the Crypt is certainly not a great horror film, but it has a certain magnetism about it that is hard to resist and which accounts for its enduring popularity. There's something about Crypt that makes even jaded viewers feel like they're kids sitting in their rooms late at night with the lights out, telling eerie tales with the aid of a flashlight. As with any anthology film, certain sections are stronger than others. With Crypt, the weaker stories are the 2nd and 4th, "Reflection of Death" and "Wish You Were Here." "Reflection" has little about it that is original, and though it's short, it still goes on a bit too long. "Wish" is a better piece, but it's failing is that it is essentially a rip-off of the better-known "The Monkey's Paw." Of the stronger pieces, "Poetic Justice" is the best, thanks in large part to a first rate and quite moving performance by Peter Cushing, as well as wonderfully smarmy support from Robin Phillips. Although the ending is over-the-top in a rather wonderful way, this piece has a melancholy lyricism to it that is quite special for the genre. "All Through the House" benefits from Joan Collins' bravura performance, as well as the admittedly sick allure of a homicidal Santa. "Blind Alley" goes on too long, but its memorable climax makes it well worth the wait, and it does feature some delicious overacting from Patrick Magee and Nigel Patrick. The wraparound sequences are enlivened by Ralph Richardson's tongue-in-cheek approach to the Crypt Keeper.
by Craig Butler review