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Classic Horror > The Vault Of Horror (1973)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I had never seen this before on video or television. I didn't know it even existed until I rented TALES a few days ago and had to rush out and buy the disc! Another excellent Amicus adaptation.

THE VAUT OF HORROR (Roy Ward Baker, 1973, UK) “Heh. Heh. Ready for another fiendish feast? Then welcome to my Blooditarian restaurant; hope the atmosphere doesn’t, err…suck! Looks like a seeping serving of supernatural is the soup de jour. What? You’ve already eaten? No matter, you just happen to be on the menu this evening. Fangs for the tap!”

The Amicus produced companion to their first EC adaptation TALES FROM THE CRYPT and just as darkly humorous and enjoyable. Roy Ward Baker takes the helm this time; director of one of my favorite science fiction flicks QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. He competently sews together the five various extremities into a coherent whole, tapping the vein of the delicious corpus delicti. The story involves five strangers on a mysterious elevator ride who find themselves in a fully furnished sub-basement. They each begin to talk about their insane dreams, which seem so real and convincing. The first story MIDNIGHT MESS (Tales From The Crypt #35) has been altered from the original to make the brother a more despicable and deserving late night snack. Upon reflection, he probably regrets his choice of fine dinning establishments because he is served as a just dessert! THE NEAT JOB (Shock SuspenStories #1) finds the wife of an obsessive compulsive domineering husband finally organizing their cluttered marriage. THIS TRICK’LL KILL YOU (Tales From The Crypt #3) concerns a vacationing magician and his wife who get all tied up over a magic trick…but the husband just can’t overcome his hang-ups. An insurance scam goes awry in BARGAIN IN DEATH (Tales From The Crypt #28). The scammer gets more than he bargained for and digs himself deeper into a hole he can’t escape from. The artist in DRAWN AND QUARTERED (Tales From The Crypt #26) draws a self-preserving portrait…but he should have used permanent ink. The film ends as four characters wander through the doorway (once the elevator shaft) and into a ghostly graveyard. They each fade away like a bad memory as the final character proclaims their punishment: to meet unknowingly each night and profess their ghastly crimes. For all eternity. (B-)


message 2: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I noticed the censoring. I did a little research and discovered that the UK version is not censored but offered in only the full screen DVD version. Maybe someday they will be properly remastered. Like I said in TALES, it's funny that the comics are much more gruesome and they were written for kids!

Rob, if you get the chance pick up the Gladstone EC reprints. The reprints didn't follow the same numbering as the originals so I'm not sure if every story here is available.


message 3: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I met a woman whose step-father had left her the first 23 MAD comics when he passed: she had them in an old cardboard box that was stained and mildewed. I nearly passed out. She asked me if they were valuable and I felt my honesty tested. I held MAD #1 (in fine condition, no less!) in my hand, that was exciting. I helped her purchase expensive sleeves and gave her advice to store them properly. But I just couldn't afford to make her a reasonable offer: if I were dishonest, I could have had them for a hundred dollars, she was ready to dump them. To this day, I still occasionally dream about these MAD comics and how they would look in my EC collection.


message 4: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) I used to read Mad Magazine and my Dad's old Conan the Barbarian Comics.


message 5: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I remember WEREWOLF BY NIGHT. Good stuff! I remember buying WEIRD WAR TALES from a creaky metal rack at my corner soda shop circa 1975. I was a horror nut too.


message 6: by George (new)

George | 157 comments Hey, I remember when comics went from 10 cents to 12.


message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments George, do you still have any of those 10 cent comics?


message 8: by Phillip (new)

Phillip i still have about 40 mad paperbacks from the 60's...classic dave berg, spy vs spy, don martin, et al...they still crack me up.


message 9: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Aug 28, 2008 11:38AM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I grew up with House Of Mystery, House of Secrets, Weird War Tales, The Witching Hour, Tales of The Unexpected, and still have many in my collection. I loved these books and missed them when the superhero genre made them obsolete. But it wasn't until the '90s when the EC series began to get seriously reprinted that I realized what horror comics were once like: they were gruesome, witty, and the artwork was very cinematic! Rob, the horror comics from our generation (including the present tense) were censored and bounded by strict visual and textual rules. The ECs were over-the-top brutal! My favorite cover is Crime SuspenStories #22: a man is holding a woman's severed head in one hand and the other grips a dripping bloody axe! Wow, that's a ten cent comic for kids? Or check out the great story 'Foul Play" from haunt Of fear #19: a baseball team eviscerates one of their opponents and uses his innards for the infield, his head for a ball, his chest cavity for a chest protector...well, you get the idea. The DC and Marvel horror comics of the 70s were nothing like this. The EC stories were probably scary to young children but they are much more than that: they are meant to be ironic and darkly humorous. I never really liked the TV show Tales From The Crypt because the writers didn't adapt this humor well, they went strictly for the visceral payoff. And the Crypt Keeper was annoying. Hope you can find some color reprints.


message 10: by Phillip (new)

Phillip i've seen that don martin book, rob - it's fantastic!


message 11: by George (new)

George | 157 comments Alex, Nope, my parents threw them out. I do a have a Conan #1 I bought later on. I had Spiderman going back to 33 before they went out in the trash.


message 12: by Phillip (last edited Sep 02, 2008 10:22AM) (new)

Phillip I rented Tales from the Crypt in order to watch it again and it was so great to see it; it held up pretty well. The DVD also has Vault of Horror, so I'm going to watch that tonight.


message 13: by Phillip (new)

Phillip I was disapoined by Vault of Horror. It's a similar setup to Tales from the Crypt, and it should work, for the general art direction stays fairly close stylistically, but there isn't much suspense abounding in any of the expositions. The Terry Thomas (whom I like in the Abominable Doctor Phibes) episode was boring, there wasn't any real tension around his ocd behavior. His murder was kind of funny though...


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