Tuesday, November 27, 2012

'70s Horror: The Vault of Horror

Another Horror film off of my Bucket List!  Today's film is The Vault of Horror, the sort-of sequel to Tales from the Crypt.  Essentially, it's based on tales from the same Comic series and features a similar Anthology format.  The film features a slew of Character Actors, including Terry Thomas, Denholm Elliott, Dawn Addams and THE Doctor Who- Tom Baker.  I'm the son of a Third Doctor Fan- it's just genetic.  Another good thing is that I can now check one film off of the 'You need to see this' list too.  Good.  The film's framing device is...weird.  Speaking of weird, the film is called The Vault of Horror, but none of the tales are from the Vault of Horror comic book.  It's a random point, but whatever.  To find out how this well-known, but also obscure film turned out, read on...
Five men ride a single Elevator to a room with a giant mirror on the ceiling.  Kudos for the camera angle...even if it is completely-superfluous.
In Story 1, a man tracks down and kills his sister.  Rather than, you know, flee the town and get away with it, he goes to a nearby Diner.  They dared close on him!

As it turns out, the town is full of Vampires- including his sister- and they kill him.  This silly fang effect doesn't help.
In Story 2, Terry Thomas is a neat-freak who finally marries and drives his wife mad.

She goes through a comedic bunch of mishaps and runs into Thomas, who she kills and categorizes his body parts.  Ew.
In Story 3, a pair of Magicians travel to India (not really) to find a new trick for their show.  When they see a rope trick that they can't decipher, they trick the performer into coming into their room and kill her.

The magical Rope attacks them- killing the wife by...um, making her disappear into the ceiling- and kills them, while the performer is actually alive.  Don't diagram this one, please.
In Story 4, a man plans to fake his own death to collect the insurance.  As it turns out, there's 'no money in the horror business.'  Oh and he reads from the novelization of the 'Tales from the Crypt' film.  META!
After some wacky, out-of-place comedy, the man he was working with crashes the car (why was he there) and the Undertaker kills him.

That will show you...I guess.
In Story 5, Tom Baker is a Painter who is living on an island after not making it in the industry.  By sheer happenstance (or lazy writing), he learns that his paintings sold for a lot without him.
 He gets magic Voodoo powers related to his painting and manages to get revenge on them.  However, a self-portrait he did is his weakness.  When paint thinner spills on it, his head is run over by a truck.
In The End, we learn that these men are in some sort of Hell and forced to retell their death stories every time.  My question- what about the other people who committed crimes too?  Were they not-evil enough to warrant this punishment?
Don't leave this one locked up in the Vault.  Honestly, I didn't know what to expect here.  I liked Tales, even if I only watched it last year for the Killer Santa story.  This one is a mixed bag, quality-wise.  I have no major complaints about any of the Stories, but I could certainly pick them apart a bit.  In Story 1, there's no reason for him NOT to leave town, other than story convenience.  In Story 2, the mix of comedy and really graphic gore at the end is...odd.  In Story 3, I can't even begin to explain the actual events all that well.  Was the lady immortal or some sort of illusion?  Given how she appears outside while she's supposed to be dead in the closet, who knows?  In Story 4, the mix of comedy and sudden death is weird.  The two Doctors who come to buy the body are called 'Tom' and 'Jerry.'  Ha ha.  Another thing is that the co-conspirator comments about how he's not going to dig up the Author...which is why he's driving by the Cemetery that night.  Why were you there again?  In Story 5, the vague way that the magic of his painting powers works is a bit odd.  Oh and they only gave Denholm Elliott two lines- why?  As a whole, it's a decent film that just suffers from a slew of little errors/questions that only people like me would care about.  Enjoy this confusing censoring/effect to close us out...
Up next, a French film that's NOT a Jean Rollin film (I know, I know).  It features a hot young lady, old people and Cannibalism.  Stay tuned...

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