Tales from the Crypt (1972)

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By Todd Kuhns and Craig Higgins. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

We kick off a month of horror anthology films with what is arguably the granddaddy of them all, Tales From The Crypt. This Amicus production was the first to use the EC Comics license, which kicked off a property that is still popular today in one form or another.

With five twisty tales and a wraparound story featuring a more subdued Cryptkeeper than we're used to, its success spawned a sequel and inspired the Stephen King/George Romero projects, Creepshow and Creepshow 2.

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Tales From The Crypt (1972)

Episode 284, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig: And I’m Craig.

Todd: Happy new year, Craig! happy new year. Well. Our second episode into the new year. We did our jaws episode last week, which was a request. And, uh, we decided that no, to shake things up a little bit, we would do a month of anthologies since we haven’t done a theme month in a while.

Our typical Christmas theme month. Uh, and actually this concept has been suggested by a couple of our listeners and some of our listeners have suggested some anthology films, which are on our list and we’ll probably get to, but this one, as far as I’m concerned, and I might be the most of the two of us, who’s enthusiastic about doing anthology movies.

I don’t know.

Craig: I love the anthology movies, but you’ve been wanting to do this forever. So I’m glad that we’re finally getting around.

Todd: Me too. And without a doubt, the very first one on my list that we just absolutely have to do is Tales from the Crypt from 1972. Uh, I mean, I think I’ve talked about my love affair with the tales from the crypt comics on one or two of our other episodes.

Um, for those of our listeners who don’t know her, who haven’t heard those episodes, this movie is directly licensed and based on that tales from the crypt property and to make a long story short back in the. Fifties horror comics were a big thing. And there was one company that just sort of seemed to Excel above all the others.

And that was easy comics, entertaining comics. Um, William Gaines was the editor there and writer of a lot of the stuff. And, uh, they took their inspiration from the old radio dramas, especially lights. Where there would be some tail usually with an O Henry type twist ending to it. You know, they’re pretty moral tales.

Really. Usually the bad guy gets what’s coming to them and they had a whole series of these comic books, which were wildly popular, especially with children, as you can imagine. And they were the Tales from the Crypt and the Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear. They had similar style stories in their books called Crime SuspenStories and Shock SuspenStories.

They even had one called combat tales, which also went into this realm as well. So, or two fisted tails and combat tails. And, and so they really excelled in this type. Anthology storytelling. Every one of their comic books had like five stories in them and each one of them were hosted by different hosts.

So the vault keeper hosted the vault of horror and the crypt keeper hosted a tales from the crypt and the old, which hosted the haunt of fear. Later on, of course, many of us are probably familiar with the HBO series Tales from the Crypt, which again, drew from the same material. One of the requirements of using their license, William Gaines, the owner of the, of the, of the licenses absolutely insisted that all of the stories in both this movie and there was a sequel to it called The Vault of Horror.

And then of course, even in the newest, uh, HBO app, All had to pull their material from the original stories in the comic book. And of course they modified them a little bit, stretched them out, put some different twists on them, but all of them have roots in this comic book, which, which is really cool. And I used to read these comics.

I’m not old enough to have been around in the fifties, but they reprinted these comics in the early. They were reprints on the shelves. They were really beautiful hardbound copies of original artwork from these that were going up on the shelves. And so I have a huge collection of these at home, which I just love reading through.

And it’s really fun to watch the tales from the crypt episodes and this movie, because I distinctly remember. Almost every single one of the actual stories, reading them for the first time, uh, in the pages of that comic book, which just had great artwork, delicious descriptions. It just, what a wonderful thing, uh, for a kid, which, uh, by the way, was sort of cut short because a lot of parents got worried about these comics and there was a very famous book written called seduction of the innocent in which I’m a child psychologist who wrote it.

Frederick Wortham claimed. Put up an argument anyway, that comic books in general, but particular horror and crime comic books, we’re creating juvenile delinquency, long, old story. Right now it’s supposedly video games, but, but, um, that caused such an uproar. Such alarm that there was actually testimony in front of Congress about it.

Fred award them came in William Gaines, who is the publisher of these comics had to come in and defend them. At the end of the day, the industry decided that instead of waiting for the government to regulate them, they would take a page from the movie industry, which went through a similar thing and regulate themselves.

And so they created the comics code, which had this. It would look right now, very puritanical, but, um, it just a list of things that the comics could and could not do. And couldn’t could not say. And what kind of words could they use and what kind of themes could they have and how far could the artwork go?

And, uh, the superhero comics had passed most of that without any problem, but all of these crime and horror comics just could not stay on the shelves, uh, in their present form. But ISI comics lived on because thankfully in their stable, they also had a little known property called mad magazine. Which turned out to be an ever even bigger hit, as we all know.

So they turned out okay, but these books, oh God, these comics are great. And we’ve got a lot of movies based on the material that we can talk about. And here we are with tales from the crypt 1972, I’ve said too much about it already, but I’m interested in know Craig, if you had seen

Craig: this before, I hadn’t and I’m kind of surprised, I guess, maybe.

It’s just the fact that it’s older and I typically don’t seek those out, but I still surprised because tales from the crypt on HBO in the nineties was like my favorite show. I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a, just, it had a really weird. Tone to it, but it also had a lot of humor. Now, granted, the humor was dark.

I mean, it was often really dark humor, but it was funny,

Todd: The Cryptkeeper character, especially right? He adds like levity to the whole thing.

Craig: Definitely. And, uh, I miss that guy. Me too. He’s, he’s kind of iconic to my adolescents and, you know, the, the television series went on for quite some time. And for whatever reason, it drew huge names.

Uh, you know, big, big stars would appear in these 25. Shorts big directors would come in and direct them and they varied in tone and quality, but overall, uh, I just really, really enjoyed them. I don’t remember when they were on, it was like Friday or Saturday night or something, but I would make up. To see them.

And I had a lot of them on VHS, uh, for

Todd: a long time, HBO into syndication. So you could actually see this on one or two networks, maybe cable, uh, maybe TBS

Craig: or something. I don’t remember. But yeah, I actually, I was just, you know, I was looking around at. Tales from the crypt stuff. And you can get the entire series on DVD for like a hundred bucks.

And I was really tempted to click on it, but then I was like, do I even have a DVD player?

Todd: I have that. I have the whole series on DVD. And I always ask myself that same question. When am I going to be able to actually whip it out and play. But at the time I get back home to my DVD collection. I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy a DVD player anywhere.

Craig: Who knows? I don’t, I don’t think they are, but I didn’t look into it, but maybe someday. And if they already are, I feel remiss for having missed it. Maybe someday there’ll be available. Streaming like on HBO, max or something. But anyway, yeah, so, I mean, that’s my, my major history. So I was familiar with the concept, very familiar with the title and, uh, I was looking forward to seeing it and I wasn’t disappointed.

The only thing that separates this from what I’m accustomed to is, there’s less emphasis on humor here. This is just pretty dark, but it does follow the formula. Like you said, of these morality plays where. The ad people do bad things and end up getting what’s coming to them, which I think is just something that is in our human nature to find satisfying.

We like seeing people get there, come up and say, you don’t know, you don’t always see that in real life, you know? Kind of usually get away with it and real life. So it’s refreshing to see

Todd: people getting it’s so true. And it’s interesting because even in the tales from the crypt series, not all of them had to do with the supernatural, because again, I was telling you, you know, they had these shocks suspense stories, crime, suspense stories, they would do the same sort of format formula, but it would be a, a jilted lover who murders her husband and then kind of ends up getting it in an ironic way.

Or, you know, there’s a lot of, uh, human drama as well. Dory’s that has nothing to do with ghosts or spirits or zombies or, or the supernatural. And, and so, like you said, it’s, it’s like, uh, we know these sorts of things do happen and we want always sort of see justice serve. So it’s, it’s good to see that happen.

I first saw this movie before I started reading the comics because I saw it in the mid to late eighties. On TV. It was one of those three, you know, Saturday afternoon thriller chillers that came on after the cartoons, which I always waited around for. And oftentimes it would be a hammer production of Dracula or something with Christopher Lee or something like that.

But in this case, this was produced by an Amicus production. And an Amicus was another British studio, kind of had their heyday also in the seventies, uh, when hammer was producing a lot of stuff, whereas hammer did a lot of Gothic, horror, Dracula, Frankenstein, kind of remakes of those and kind of bringing them up into a more modern day, a little more gory, a little more sex and, and some nudity in them.

Amycus seemed to just produce anthology, horror films. And instead of making them Gothic, I don’t think they ever did a single Gothic one. I think there were all more of these modern day, like settings. And I think the reason for that is because they could be done cheaper. You know, you don’t have to dress up a set, you don’t have to have fancy costumes.

You just, all the action happens in somebody’s apartment or down the street or your house. And this movie definitely is, is just like that. Uh, with the exception of the wraparound story, there’s nothing terribly fancy in the setting of, of any of these stories of what’s going on. And I will say the movie.

You’re looking back at it now does in a way feel a little cheap in that way. But as a kid, it made a huge impression on me because the wraparound story, after the credits and spooky music over a graveyard scenes and the right day, you get a tour group going through some catacombs in England somewhere.

And the tour guide says to this group of people, the recordings are dangerous and I missed warn you to stay with. And so this group goes along and the last five people in this group are headed up by, and it’s a long line going through these narrow catacombs are headed up by Joan Collins. It

Craig: was weird. I knew she was in this, but it took me a second.

Like I had to do a double-take because all my life. And I mean this with every ounce of respect all my life, Joan Collins has been an old woman, yellow,

Todd: at least middle aged, right? Yeah. Super young. She isn’t this one too.

Craig: Right? I mean, I guess when I was a kid and she was on whichever one of those shows she was on Dallas or whatever it was.

Yeah. Old, but me being a little kid, she was older, you know? And, um, but here she’s very young and very beautiful. And, and honestly, I don’t really know a whole lot about her career at this time or before. I’m just familiar with the stuff that happened during my lifetime. Um, so it was neat. It was neat to see her kind of in her physical prime, she looks amazing.

Oh yeah.

Todd: She’s just a beautiful, almost. Kind of like a classic seventies, European beauty, you know, with her hair and her makeup and everything. Uh, I mean she’s American, she says really

Craig: unique, beautiful bone structure. I mean, she’s just, oh yeah. And she’s still, I mean, I haven’t seen her recently. I have no idea how old she is now.

I believe she’s still alive. I think so. But, uh, the last time I saw her, I mean, she was certainly elderly, but still just stunningly. Beautiful. Well,

Todd: I mean, her career stretches back to like the early 1950s, like 19 50, 1 only in black and white movies. And she was doing a lot of movies, just like multiple movies a year.

So by this time she is an established actress and it was around. Time a little bit before this, that she started appearing on TV, she was in the original series of star Trek. She was in an episode of that. She was in Batman as the siren, a couple of times, the classic Adam West Batman. But you know, even though I remember mostly from TV, she is one of those rare actresses who bounced a lot.

Between TV and movies, which was not common, then usually you were either a TV person or a movie person right now. It’s, there’s no barrier really, but back then it was so she’s she’s. Yeah, pretty amazing. And, um, I would say that her story is one of the most, um, iconic. It’s not my favorite one, but it’s definitely one of the most iconic in here.

Well, she’s leading up at the tail end with these last five or so people and she stops, uh, in the middle of this. Catacomb, because she breached that she’s wearing is fallen and she’s looking for it. And she was like, oh, wait a minute, wait a minute. And then guys kind of help stop and help her find the brooch.

And then they can kind of see the tour guide in the rest of the group disappear further down. And then as they proceed, uh, they proceed through an open. That leads them into this huge chamber. And there’s a almost skull shaped rock and a man sitting on a plaque, a big stone chair in front of it. And they’ll just kind of wander in and the door shuts behind them.

This whole notion that this could happen was scary to me as a kid. It was like, you know, cause my family would go on trips and we kind of do interesting things. We had went on a mine tour once, you know, and, and this whole notion that, oh my God, like here’s like a normal controlled thing, right? Like a tour.

Group in a tourist attraction in the middle of the day or whatever that suddenly gets lost in here in way late. And now they’ve entered this secret scary chamber with this mysterious old man sitting up on the throne in a.

Craig: Right. And he’s not, you know, it’s not the crypt keeper of the nineties. I mean, this is just a guy in a row, but eh, he’s still effectively creepy.

And the slamming of the door is creepy. The crypt keeper just kind of starts kind of casual conversations.

Todd: What did you come from?

A kind of, we get out of it.

I’m in a hurry.

Craig: I really can’t

Todd: wait. I have an appointment.

I show you I have a.

And what are your plans

Craig: when you leave here? And it just cuts immediately to the first store. Which is on IMD B, they’re given titles. They’re not titled, you know, we don’t get a title card or anything, but it’s, it’s all through the house. And those of you who are fans of the podcast will be thinking you’re having deja VU because we have done this short before, but we did the Robert Zemeckis directed version from season one of the television series.

And we specifically said that we were doing that one because we knew that we would eventually. To this movie and we didn’t want to do the same one twice, but they’re virtually the same. And it’s, it’s a very simple story. It’s Christmas Eve and her house. Uh, this opulent house is, um, decorated beautifully for Christmas.

And her husband is walking around. I think he’s got a, you know, a drink and he’s got a little gift that he puts under the tree and he has a seat in chair or recliner or something. And you see. Some sort of instrument picked up from the fireplace. I guess it’s a poker, but it looks more like a sword or something before you even really see her.

You just see this sword come down on the back of the husband’s head and then it pans up and it’s her she’s killed her husband very calmly. She goes to the. Uh, pulls out an insurance policy. And so we know that she

Todd: has a motive, right. And then from upstairs, you hear mommy, mommy, mommy. And she goes running upstairs and you’re just like, oh shit.

You know, there’s a kid. Yeah. And

Craig: that’s the thing in both in both this and the original, I really don’t understand what this woman’s plan was like, what are you going to do with the body? You got a kid upstairs anyway. The, the only other notable thing is, you know, after she kills him, she. Picks up that present that he had put under the tree and she opens the card and it says something like to the most wonderful wife a guy could ever want or something like that, something very kind and heartfelt and she just kind of rolls her eyes and opens it up.

And it’s that broach from the beginning. Yeah.

Todd: Yeah. Which is interesting, right. Because what the crypt keeper had asked her in the crypt was what are you planning to do after you leave? Right. So wha how did she already have the broach when she later, presumably she supposed to be getting it for Christmas?

Right? So it’s a little jarring when that happens. And at one point I wondered, is this a mistake, but no later on, we’ll find out, but I really like this story because it’s, it might be one of the, I think it’s one of the stronger of the set, because all these stories are. Yeah, and they’re quite economical.

You might say too economical, but I like what it does here in a very, very short time. And I think very effectively is it brings this husband in who’s seems to be full of joy. He’s smiling. He’s written his letter to the best wife. He’s like with glee, he’s putting the package under you go, okay. This is a happy man who loves.

Then you see his wife kills him and she’s pretty stone faced about it. She runs over, pulls out the insurance policy and CC. Okay. Here’s the motivation. She has insurance policy. I. In the HBO series, they add like a, a lover, an affair. Yeah. Lover here. They don’t have that. And then she’s like dragging the body to kind of clean it up.

Just like I saw reviewer who said something like, just like, it’s one more damn thing. She has to take care of our Christmas. And then you hear mommy, mommy, and she runs upstairs. And you realize that they have a little girl, right? I mean, maybe I’m just become really sensitive, but like my heart just, I was just like, this is all kinds of wrong.

And I just hate this woman. Yeah. She she’s wicked

Craig: and heartless and greedy. I mean, she’s just, she’s a bad person. Yeah.

Todd: And you get this all in, in three weeks. It’s great. Right.

Craig: And, and the daughter asks about daddy and I don’t remember what her response is, but like it’s obvious that the daughter loves her father.

This can’t be a bad man. The mom is just wicked.

Todd: She says, good night, mommy. And then mom’s like, okay. And then she starts to close the door and she yells out the door. Good night, day.

Craig: Yeah, it’s terrible. And then she hears on the radio that a killer, an insane killer has escaped from the mental institution and is said to be prowling about in a Santa suit in this area he’s terribly dangerous and be careful.

And then Sansa immediately. Um, menacing outside her house eventually, you know, she sees him out there. She runs around locking all the windows and doors. Uh, I actually thought it was kind of amusing that once she got all the windows and doors locked, she didn’t really seem particularly concerned. Like, nah, he probably won’t get in, but her next conundrum is.

She can’t call the police because her dead husband is lying in the floor. And how is she going to explain that? So she doesn’t call the police. And like you said, this happens very quickly. I don’t remember exactly how it happens, but as she’s kind of running around, she runs into the living room. And sees she had pulled a curtain.

There’s like an entryway for the front door. And then she had pulled a curtain to kind of close off the entryway and she sees that the curtains are blowing in the wind. And, uh, I think her daughter steps out and says he came mommy. He came, Santa came, I let him in. And then, and then she pulls Santa in and, uh, in the, uh, remake, the HBO, are you.

It just ends on Mary Ellen trainer, just screaming and screaming and screaming here. We actually see Joan Collins get strangled by Santa and then. That’s the end and it cuts back to the crypt. It’s very short, but I really liked it. You know, Joan Collins gets top billing in this movie. She only has 15 lines and they’re very, very brief.

I can only imagine that this took a little to no time at all to film, but, uh, it’s fun and it sets a nice pace and a nice tone for the rest of the movie.

Todd: Yes, right now the next one is. The one that has stuck with me for all of these years, uh, in so much so that I re you know, it’s, I saw this as a kid. And then for years after I couldn’t tell you where I saw it.

I just, it just stuck in my head and bothered me for a very, very long time. And it also stars one of my all-time favorite actors, Peter Cushing. Oh, wait,

Craig: that’s not the next one. You skipped your.

Todd: Oh, you’re right. I’m okay. All right. All right. I forget what I said. Oh, you’re right. Reflect. Oh yeah. Okay. So I’m going to revise exactly what I said.

This next one for some reason is probably my least favorite of them, because I feel like it projects it’s ending a mile away. And so I was just a little impatient for it to get there, but I’ve also seen it before. So, um, maybe you have a different take. Anyway, the crib keeper talks to a man Carl and says, well, how about you?

And he says, well, I’m on my way to see my wife. He, uh,

Craig: you know, as soon as that’s the thing, like they’re introduced very quickly, like, okay, what are you going to do? And then it. Just to the next one. And when we see him, he has bags packed and he’s, he’s saying goodbye to his wife and kids seemingly just for a business trip.

But as soon as he leaves, he doesn’t go on a business trip. He goes to, um, his mistress, his apartment. I don’t know what their relationship is. Uh, I may be secretary, but her name is Susan and they leave together and they, you know, they’re running away together. Susan drops. And, uh, Carl falls asleep while she’s driving and he starts talking in his sleep.

Um, he’s, he’s upset and he screams no and wakes up from this bad dream immediately after that, they’re in a terrible wreck. They’re run off the road. The car is in flames, but he has apparently survived. But now all of a sudden the camera works shoots to hit. Point of view. So we’re seeing everything from his POV shot and he looks for Susan, but she’s nowhere to be found.

And so he starts wandering around and he wanders under a bridge and he comes upon this homeless man and the homeless man takes one, look at him and, and kind of has a look of horror on a trace and runs away. Um, he tries to flag down a driver, but the driver is also scared. He goes home. I think. If I noticed correctly that the name on his doorbell was different.

Um, but it’s his, but it’s his house and his wife opens the door, but she’s also scared of him. And there’s a new man there. Um, presumably her husband. So he goes back to Susan’s apartment and she opens the door and you can tell by the way that she’s acting that she’s blind and she is shocked. Not by his physical appearance, but just by the fact that he’s there, because she says you died, that was two years ago and you were dead.

And so he’s like what? And he looks down at the glass tabletop and sees his reflection and he’s burned and he looks like a

Todd: zombie looking.

Craig: Yeah. I mean, he looks horrible quick cut. He wakes up from that dream again. In the car and screams? No. And it’s a final destination moment where like, is he going to act quickly enough to change?

No, he’s not, they have the wreck again, uh, and he’s dead and that’s the end of the story. I didn’t love it, but it was economic enough. It, you know, it, it was quick. Um, I think that the pacing of this one. Had somewhat of a negative effect on the characterization. I didn’t really feel like I knew these characters.

I didn’t really care about them. Like there wasn’t that, you know, his wife seemed nice, but it’s not like we lingered with her or anything. So, you know, I, I didn’t have that same kind of emotional trigger that I had with the daughter in the first one. So I didn’t really care, but not a bad story.

Nonetheless, I agree with you wholeheartedly that this next story is the best of the bunch. And I just think. It’s it’s a perfect tales from the crypt story, but there’s also a kind of sentimental beauty about it that I think is just, is actually very sad and very touching and Peter Cushing stars. And I think that this, everything that I’ve just said is entirely because of him.

He just does an amazing job. Part and he wanted this role. He was offered a different role. I don’t remember which one, but he read this role and he connected with it and he wanted to do it and they expanded their role for him. And some people, you know, I, I’ve only seen a couple of things, a few things that Peter Cushing has been in.

Some of his fans believed us to be maybe one of his best friends

Todd: performances. And I think he actually said that it was one of his favorite performances ever, and he apparently put a lot of his own heart into it. And maybe part of the reason he asked for the role is that he himself had been grieving his wife’s death.

And this is about a man whose wife, you know, died a while ago and he’s grieving it. And so it probably comes through in his acting for sure. Yeah. How interesting, right? That you get a role like this? Uh, what other movie did we do where something similar had happened? Craig, do you remember where the actor was it the omen?

I don’t remember. I can’t remember which movie it was, but it was a similar deal where an actor had really gunned for the role and they, they didn’t even think he would take it because it was kind of hitting too close to home

Craig: because he had lost a child. I don’t remember if it was the omen. It may

Todd: have been anyway.

Oh yeah. So a younger guy speaks up. I mean, he’s. Thirties probably. Uh, and it’s basically like, all right, tell my story now, you know, if we’re going to do this, get it over with, and we jumped right into this story and you see Peter Cushing as this old man who’s living in a home and the English countryside, I guess, sort of a across the street from this young guy who spoke up the guy’s name is James and he lives, uh, I guess, with this.

This man, uh, who Peter Cushing plays. His name is Arthur Grimm’s Dyke, and he is just the neighborhood kind, gentle man toward kids. You know, he has kids over at his house. He’s makes toys for them. He has a bunch of dogs that he clearly cares for and loves and is entertaining the children. And, uh, James has nothing bad, but bad stuff to say.

You know, it’s just typical class kind of thing. He’s a upper-class Dick. And he thinks that this man’s house is an eyesore and his dogs are barking and he keeps the children around, makes things noisy and he’s bringing the property values in the neighborhood down. And wouldn’t it be great to just get rid of?

Craig: Yeah. And he, and he’s a garbage collector, so he must be disgusting. And I’m sure the inside of his house is disgusting. That’s what makes this one. So. Uh, gosh, heart-wrenching I think is because that guy, did he say his name was James? He’s just such a Dick. Like he has absolutely no motivation to do anything to this guy.

Other than that, he doesn’t like, there’s no reason for him not to like him. He just decides that he doesn’t. And then he proceeds to destroy the man’s life. This man has done nothing, but bring joy to the children of the neighborhood. And this James Guy just goes absolutely out of his way to completely destroy.

His life and it’s heartbreaking to watch. I mean, he just, he chips away at it. Gradually. The first thing he does is he a in the middle of the night, James goes over to Grimm’s Dyke’s next door neighbor’s house and digs up his beautiful prior. Rose garden. And the next morning, the neighbor man decides that it must have been Grimm’s dykes dogs, even though the dogs are pinned up.

Um, so the police come and take his dogs. I mean, this guy, he’s a widower. He’s all alone. He’s childless. He’s all over. You know, he’s got these dogs and he’s got these neighborhood kids. The first thing they take away from him is his dogs and being a dog guy that gutted me that then it just gets even, it just gets even worse from there.

Todd: Yeah. So then, um, he decides to write an letter to the city council and persuades them to fire him from his. Right. Remember what we rationale was for that.

Craig: I do remember what the rationale is because it was so horrible right before that I should mention that, uh, Grimm’s Dyke throughout. This is kind of trying to contact his wife through a Ouija board.

And at one point she. Either points to, I think, points too, or no, he does. I can never remember what it’s called. That kind of psychic writing, where somebody is writing through him and he’s kind of in a trance state or whatever, and the word is danger. So he he’s aware that something might be happening, but he has no idea what, um, the neighbor convinces the city council to have him.

Fired he’s up for retirement and like two or three months, but this guy says, if you fire him now, you won’t have to pay him his pension and you can hire somebody else at a much lower rate. So they do. So not only do they take away his job, but they take

Todd: away his pension and this guy, you just see the breakdown on his face.

He’s just, he just like is utterly beside himself, but he’s not running around screaming or yelling. He just is a sad. Lonely old man, and he doesn’t know what to do. And he doesn’t have anyone to talk to except the pictures of his dead wife and

Craig: eventually one warm spot. Sad sad tale. One of his little dogs comes home.

It was just the sweetest thing that he hears the dog barking. He opens the door and he picks him up. He’s like, oh, like, ah, God just, he’s so happy to just have somebody. But the worst is yet to

Todd: come. Then he basically write some letters or something to the parents around the neighborhood and says the bad guy does.

Yeah, I’m sorry. James does and says, Hey, you know, aren’t you worried that your kid is, kids are playing with this, this dirty old man, you know, basically calling him a child molester and to which the parents freak out. And so then they divert their kids away from the house. Say, I don’t want you going over there anymore.

And so now he’s like,

It works, no children, no one to make toys. So

people always got each other had.

It’s heart breaking.

Craig: Yeah. And then the neighbor has the entire town sent him Valentines. And so he’s super excited on Valentine’s day. The mailman’s like, oh, Mr. Grim steak, you got a lot of mail today. He’s like, oh, that’s nice. And he sits down and he opens the first one and it looks like a nice Valentine and every single one of them is brutally cruel.

Todd: Sure my whole day, sweetheart, this big noise, your children, haven’t heard this perfume, but you only smell your children.

Fee is beautiful. If it’s own approvement, it. Allentown isn’t cause she’ll presence who is,

Craig: and I feel that, and that’s, I that’s it, you know, that’s the, uh, straw that breaks the camel’s back. And I don’t blame this guy at all. You know, the, the neighbor, the neighbor across the street complaints about hearing the dog barking and he’s like that dog’s been barking for days. So they go over there.

First of all the bad guy, James is like, oh my God, his house is pristine. Like he just assumed because he was a garbage collector that he would be a dirty person. And in fact, he’s not, his house is very well kept. Um, very nice. And, but they find him, he, he is hung himself.

Todd: Yeah. It’s, it’s horrible. And even, they seem a little surprised by that.

Uh, but not too sad about it, then cut to one year later. And it’s Valentine’s day again. And they’re sitting in there just kind of talking to James and his father. And it’s interesting too, because you can see that his father is not really cool with what’s happening, but he’s also not doing anything to stop it.

You just see some discomfort, but he’s, you know, doesn’t seem to care enough. To do anything. Uh, and James sits down at his desk and whatever, and I think he absentmindedly pulls a drawer out and there are some Valentines still in there. Um, and that reminds him, you know, of the previous, uh, of, of what went down the previous year.

And you almost see a flash of. On his face. I think I’m no, no. Am I wrong? Did you kind of detect that too?

Craig: Uh, I regret, I don’t know, but you see that there’s at least some recognition like, oh, maybe that was mean,

Todd: and then a shot of the graveyard, just this classic smokey graveyard shot comes up to a grave of a Grimm’s Dyke and then you see a.

Come up through the grass and it kind of cuts back and forth, and then he just kind of full on, comes out of the grave. So, you know, what’s about to happen. And, uh, I think James kind of comes out into the living room or something and Grimm’s Dyke is in there in full on. Zombie mode and comes towards him.

And I don’t know if we hear a scream or something like that. And in the morning his father comes around and it comes in and sort of looking for him. Uh, can’t find anything and then walks over and sees the desk and he’s face down on his desk and there’s blood and stuff on his shirt. And there’s a crumpled up.

Uh, was it a box or is it just a crumpled up piece

Craig: of paper? Crumpled up piece of paper. Like you can see the top part, but the bottom part is like crumpled up and folded over. He reads is happy. Valentine’s day. You were mean and cruel right from the start. Now you really have no dot.dot. And then the father pulls down the page and literally James, his heart is cut out and wrapped up in the note and it’s still beating, still

Todd: beating.

That was a nice touch, a little silly. Wow, this is a

Craig: great story. I mean, it’s just, I just really liked this story and I can’t say enough, you know, there, I, I it’s burned in my brain, the image, a close-up image of Peter Cushing’s face and his eyes just completely welling with tears and

Todd: his lip quivering just it’s heartbreaking.

Craig: It really is. It really, really is. And so, again, It’s nice to see the bad guy, get his come up. And, but of all of them, this is the one that is the most uh heart-wrenching and in a very good way. I think it gives the movie a little bit of gravity that it otherwise wouldn’t have had. And that’s nice.

Todd: It’s a nice bag.

Oh, God, it’s, it’s amazing. And without Peter Cushing’s performance, it just, it wouldn’t hit the same way. I don’t think the role

Craig: was not, it wasn’t even a speaking role until Peter Cushing, uh, asked specifically for it. And in asking specifically for it, he took a pay cut that’s how badly he wanted to do it.

And it clearly resonated with. And

Todd: again with such a simple story, more or less like the layers here, you know, he’s doing this Weegee board connection with his dead wife. And you know, that made me think about Harry Houdini. You know, Harry Houdini was, you know, he, we know he was obsessed with the occult because he missed his wife.

He wanted to be with his wife and he ended up exposing me. Simply because he was going to mediums, trying to find a way to connect with his dead wife and the afterlife and being frustrated because he couldn’t find a single one. Honest that was actually capable of doing. And that’s when he started his career exposing the mediums.

It’s all in the process of actually trying to hoping that there is an authentic one. He just wanted to be with his wife. And it’s interesting here like that Grimm’s Dyke is dabbling in the occult himself, trying to communicate with her. It just it’s a layer of desperation and resonance. That just, it was unnecessary really by.

Boy, it adds a nice touch. It’s it’s interesting. It is.

Craig: And then of course, cut back to the crypt for a second. And the next person up is a guy named Ralph. And this one by the way is called wish you were here. And what’s interesting to me about this one is it literally is the story of the monkeys. Yeah.

And they even referenced that fact what we’re going through seems an awful lot. Like the monkey’s paw. Yeah, it does. Cause it’s

Todd: same story with maybe a slightly gory twist at the end, but, but yeah, you’re right. It’s the same thing. And ISI comics would do this too, but most of what they wrote was original, but they would often say, Hey, and now we’re featuring an adaptation of a story by Ray, Brad.

And so they would give credit where credit was due. And there were some really great little stories in there. Like they even took us his short story, dark carnival, which you know, was made in. Eventually something wicked this way comes and they adapted that in their comics. So, uh, it wasn’t unusual for tales in the Crip to take a classic store and do their own adaptation of it as well.

Yeah. I mean, this is probably one of my, uh, I said that the second one was my least favorite. This one wasn’t really high up there either, just because I’m so familiar with the monkeys Paul’s story, right.

Craig: Then each week, the details. And again, it’s really short. Um, Ralph is a bad businessman and so his lawyer tells him that he needs to sell all of his real estate and his property.

Um, if he wants to, you know, even land on his feet, um, he, when he tells his wife, his wife, Just happens to amble over to a statue, like being sad that she has to sell her stuff. And she’s like, wait a second. I feel like I remember that whoever we bought this statue from told us at grants, us three wishes and

Todd: wasn’t it it’s like an Oriental statue.

And it’s like, I don’t know where they got it. Where did he say? Like in Singapore or something like that. And then she. Rhyming English and scription at the base of it. Right.

Craig: But the bottom is kind of rubbed out. So they can’t really get the whole inscription, which is ominous. And that’s where one of them makes a reference to the monkey’s pie.

I think it’s the husband, the wife, the wife, offhandedly just wishes for lots and lots of money. And Ralph’s like, oh, don’t, don’t do that.

Todd: Yeah, it doesn’t end well,

Craig: the too late. And so. Seconds later the phone rings and it’s, Ralph’s lawyer calling him in and he’s like, uh, you need to come in. It’s about money.

It’s important. He gets in the car and, um, he’s driving along. And then there’s this creepy guy who had been lingering outside the house ever since the wish was made. And now this guy is chasing. Ralph, Ralph’s driving his car. This guy’s chasing him on a motorcycle

Todd: know you’ve got like a skull helmet or skull mask on.

That’s what you don’t really

Craig: see until Ralph looks in his rear view mirror and sees it very close up. It’s so

Todd: bizarre. I

Craig: think that this was supposed to be like death incarnate. It looks very much like a man in a mask. They didn’t do much to make it look supernatural. I mean, it just, it looks like a dude in a mask, but whatever he is, he’s in a car accident and he’s killed.

Um, but as white, just like in the monkeys pod, the exact same thing happens. The wife because of his insurance policy now is very, very wealthy. So she got her wish. So then

Todd: the lawyer comes over. I love this. It is so the monkey’s pop, but the best part about it is how they keep referencing the monkey’s pie in.

And right. Just sorta like we’re thinking at, at least the movie kind of acknowledges it. The lawyer comes over and, you know, to give her the money and say, you know, this is the insurance plan. And she mentioned so the wish and she says, oh, now I want to wish him. Back. And he’s like, no, no, no, don’t do that.

Don’t do that. Cause I read a similar story where something like this happen and the dead son came back, how he was mangled and stuff. And, but she does it anyway. She

Craig: tries to cricket and that’s common too. Like what does she say? She says, I want him back. Just as he was before the accident, before the accident, right.

Todd: And those doors open for creepy supernatural pallbearers, come in, drop his, his coffin off in there and leave. And it turns out that he died of a heart attack just before the car crash. So he’s still. In the coffin. Right?

So

Craig: then she thinks that she’ll out smart and again, and she wishes that Ralph were alive again right now and forever.

And he immediately wakes up riving and screaming in pain. And the lawyer’s like,

don’t you realize she’s been in bombed?

You know, the implication here is that he’s now doomed to an eternity of this suffering. And so she starts hacking at him with like an ax or something. Um, his guts are flying out. But he

Todd: won’t die. The hand is crawling across his chest. He can’t, he won’t die. And I remembered this story vividly from the comics and, uh, and the very last panel of this is this wife.

Who’s just standing there with an almost maniacally insane look on her face as she has literally hacked this body to tiny little bits that are still moving and twitching around. Well, like just a pile of pulp and goo that is still moving in eternity. It’s it’s pretty terrifying idea actually.

Craig: Yeah, it is.

And that’s another one that they remade under a different title for the television series. The last one is blind alleys, and I thought this one. Good to in a satisfying way. Um, this one’s about a guy named major Rogers, a military guy, apparently who is taking over as the new director at the Elm Ridge home for the blind.

And he has a German shepherd named Shane. And basically what it comes down to is it’s a. Uh, home, I suppose, four blind men. Um, most of these men are elderly and immediately, you know, it seems like they have things pretty nice when he arrives, but he immediately begins to neglect them. It’s a terrible winter outside, but he turns the heat off at eight o’clock at night because he tells them there’s no reason for them to be out of bed after that time.

Um, he changes their food rations and only gives them bad. And there’s this one blind man who kind of serves as the representative for all of them. And his name is Carter and he’s played by Patrick McGee. He was one of the only people that I recognized in this movie and it took me a second, but I quickly realized that he was the innkeeper from.

Monster party in the whom goo story

Todd: over that. I do. I do remember that. And he’s a pretty famous actor though. Yeah.

Craig: And I recognize, I recognize them from when we watched that movie, I recognized him and did some investigating and he was a, in a clockwork orange too. Um, and you’re right. He’s done quite a bit of stuff, but he’s good

Todd: in this.

Here’s a bit of a, um, I don’t know, he has a bit of a dark brown look to him in this. Does it the way his hair is kind of wild

Craig: ominous, but yes. Oh for sure. Yeah. A little crazy. I mean, he’s not crazy. In fact,

Todd: he seems very sane and smart and he’s very patient too. Right. He keeps going into this man’s office and saying, sir, you know, the men are complaining about the food ration, sir.

We’re getting a little more angry. So. So-and-so needs medical treatment, you know, he’s freezing and all this stuff. And every time that he goes into the office, it’s like there is, um, major Rogers. Who’s got his legs up on an easy chair with his dog there, and he’s got a nice warm fire beside him or, or he’s dying.

Yeah, dining on steak and all adds. I mean, they make a very strong contrast, which, which is also, I mean, I think there’s an implication here that well, they’re blind anyway. So he doesn’t think they’re going to even know or notice or, or, well, he probably doesn’t even care anyway. Right. But at one time, at one point in there after I think the last time McGee leaves his office and he stops by a painting on.

And he says, oh, Mr. So-and-so I, who I think was the previous guy, something like, you never would have let this happen or something like that, which I thought was interesting.

Craig: He also explains to the major he’s like, you don’t understand how losing one sense affects a person when you lose one sense, then your other senses are heightened.

So what he’s trying to explain is that they’re suffering more, you know, the fact that. Th th they are more sensitive to the cold, right. And

Todd: these other things that worse to them in the food.

Craig: Right. But he just doesn’t care. And, and at some point the residents come in in a group and are a little bit more adamant and the major basically sixes dog on them, you know, they’re, there’s not anything that they can do.

The, the last straw is when. One of the patients freezes to death in the night. And this is a patient who has been sick for days. Carter has been trying to convince the major to get. Uh, doctor in. And, um, finally, when the major comes to check on the guy himself, he’s, he’s dead and that’s the last straw. And then the residents put into effect a plan, and it’s a very smart plan and it’s a wicked and it’s.

Todd: Yeah, they get his dog. They lure his dog with food that they’ve been saving like over days or something. Right. If everybody gives like a scrap of meat at the plate gets passed around, this is cool. Like, right. Like it’s like, they all have a plan now, like this isn’t a one guy’s execution. It’s like, they’ve all agreed to do this.

So they lure the dog away, uh, into a room in the basement. The major comes downstairs, looking for his dog and they lock him in a separate room right next to his dog. He can hear the dog barking and the, there they’re starving the dog. In the meantime, they get to work hammering and banging and stuff like that.

And the major can hear something’s going on, but he doesn’t know what a, and we can see these guys picking up wood and razorblades and all this stuff. It’s like, what are they going to do? Eventually they swing open the door of his room and he steps out and he is in gosh, it’s like saw before saw he’s stepping into a big trap that is a tunnel made of wood and chicken wire and barbed wire.

And he starts walking through it and it gets more and more narrow. Until it gets to this point where it’s so narrow and they have put razorblades in there sticking straight out of the wood on both sides of the walls that he asked to extremely gingerly, get sideways and very carefully and get nicked in the process.

Um, squeezed between these two rows of razorblades and he gets to the other end of it. There’s a door at the other end and it swings open and it’s his dog and his dog is now hungry and just rabbit and ravenous. And he immediately starts to attack him, which forces him to turn around and run into those razorblades.

We don’t really see do we, we don’t really see anything happen. We just know what’s going to happen. Uh, just a few close ups, you know, they turn the lights off on them to

Craig: yes. And just leave him. Yeah. The movie is only rated, uh, PG and it is, I’m not surprised that you saw it on a Saturday afternoon. Yeah.

You could air this anytime during the day, the only, the only scene is the one from which you were here, where the guts come out, they for the initial release, they did cut that for the. Original release, but they stuck it back in later and you know, it’s gross, but it doesn’t look real at all. It’s not even bloody, it’s like white.

So yeah, it’s tame as far as gore and violence are concerned, but, um, the subject matter is still unsettling and, um, spooky. A lot. I liked all the stories, you know, we have to finish up the wrap-around. Um, basically the stories are all told. Does he just tell them they can?

Todd: I think they say that they want to leave.

And they’re like, all right, now you’ve told all the stories and they demand a leave and he says, oh, you you’re not going to leave. You can’t leave. And that’s when he tells them straight up. Um, I wasn’t warning you. What would have. Um, but I’m telling you, what’s already happened. You have all died without repentance and right.

So then it, it makes sense now with, um, her breach, right. That she had on that’s why she had it on now they’re in a hell basically. Now I know, you know, I mean, how did they get there from a thing, you know, maybe they all woke up in this tour group, whatever who knows. I mean, there’s a lot of questions about.

But it’s a cool twist.

Craig: Yeah. And the, you know, the door opens, announced, just opening into a fiery Inferno. And the first guy, I don’t remember who it is, um, kind of falls in and, you know, you see the shot of him screaming, falling into the fiery pit, but then the rest of them, it’s kind of like, Except our fate.

Like they just, they just, the, the movie ends with them just walking through the door and the door closes behind them. And then the crypt keeper addresses the audience directly with some sort of cryptic message at the end.

Todd: He’s like, and now who’s next. Maybe you.

Yeah,

Craig: it’s a, it’s a good movie. And it was fun for me to watch just because it was a nice call back to one of my very favorite shows. I mean, not even a callback for me. I mean, obviously this came first, but, um, I hadn’t seen it. So it was nice to kind of dive back into that twisted wicked little world for a minute.

Like you said, it feels a little bit cheap. I attributed that mostly to the time more so than to the quality, the acting, I think. Quite good.

Todd: Yeah. Pretty solid drought. Well, and we’ve got great actors in here. Ralph Richardson is the crypt keeper and he is, uh, by this point, just a veteran, mostly of the stage, you know, one of these sort of John Barrymore, contemporaries, you know, sort of legendary in the English and the British theater.

And so he would have been very recognizable to the people there and then an even played, I mean, up until like 1981. I don’t know if you ever saw the time bandits. That’s one of my. Movies a Terry Gilliam did it. Isn’t doctors, Jovago, you know, very, very well-respected actor and he sort of plays it that way.

I mean, this guy’s 70 something and he’s sitting up there on the throne, really not moving much, just gravely speaking to each of these folks and very seriously. It’s fine. It’s fine for this movie, I think. But as a tales from the crypt movie, especially based on the comics, just to not have that sort of gleefully punny host in between all of these things was, uh, the only downer.

But I think that they made the choice. They felt like they needed to make at that time period, they struggled

Craig: with that. They struggled, you know, the script went through several different drafts and I’m in one, the crypt keeper only directly address the. And another, there was no crypt keeper at all. And then we ended up with what we got.

Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s definitely different than the iteration that I am accustomed to. And I prefer the iteration that I’m accustomed to, but you know, this is it. This is its own thing. So I’m not, I, I don’t feel a need to compare. This is its own thing. It came first. Yeah.

Todd: I have my own. I’m again, I’m so nostalgic for this movie because I watched as a kid, it made such a deep impression on me.

Those two things, the wraparound story, I thought just was terrifying idea at the time. And then this, oh God man, that poor old man just getting destroyed was stuck with me for, for the rest of my life after I watched it. And by the way, did you know that, um, . Who’s credited as the writer on this, he actually was a producer of the monster.

And you, we talked about the monster. Yeah. And he also produced a bunch of these other Amicus ones as well. So, um, he wrote, uh, the vault of horror.

Craig: Yeah. This movie inspired. I mean, like you said, there was a sequel, but it also inspired modern horror writers and directors. Um, I think it was Stephen King and George remarried.

I said who it was, where they were actually going to remake this movie and that the result of that ended up being creep show. And then of course there were several SQLs to that there, I think. Really most, if not all of the modern horror anthologies that we watch and enjoy. Oh, at least some credit to this movie.

Todd: Yeah, for sure. It’s not, and it’s not the first anthology, but it definitely made it a deeper impact than some of the other. I just probably also because the property and the people involved so solid movie, I’m so glad we kicked off our month of anthologies with this movie because, uh, uh, you know, I think you’ve had a movie previously or it’s just like, okay, once we do this one on the podcast, I can, uh, I can die a happy man for me.

This is basically that movie.

Craig: Well, and you’ve wanted to do it forever. And I don’t know why it’s taken us so long to get to it, but I don’t think that there was any other choice to kick off this month.

Todd: Well, thank you again for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend.

You’ll find us online just by Googling Two Guys and a Chainsaw podcast. Just find us anywhere we are on Facebook or Twitter or our website, and leave us a comment there. Let us know what movies you like to see and what you thought of this episode and this film yourself until next time. And I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

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