Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chris 2010 Viewings #8: Vault of Horror

UK, 1973. Directed by Roy Ward Baker. Starring Terry-Thomas, Glynis Johns, Curt Jurgens, Tom Baker, Denholm Elliot.

Like Tales from the Crypt, this is an Amicus production featuring stories from the old EC comics (though none from the Vault of Horror magazine). Tales from the Crypt has a slight edge over this one because the high points are higher, but I’d say this one is more consistent across the board.

The first story has young cad Daniel Massey tracking his sister to a small town where the residents don’t go out after dark. He is out to kill her so that he can have sole claim to the family inheritance. At first it seems he succeeds, but… this is a small town where the residents don’t go out after dark. You don’t need to expend much energy to do the calculations yourself.

Next up, fussy old bachelor Terry-Thomas a pretty young thing (played by 50 year old Glynis Johns), hoping she can keep his household up to his exacting standards. Unfortunately, she’s a klutz. He bitches her out. She reacts badly. The end.

Magician Curt Jurgens and his wife Dawn Addams are on holiday in India. Jurgens is looking for something new in his act and finds it in the Indian rope trick, But the Indian magician and his family won’t share. Mayhem ensues, and you can bet the white man won’t get away with it!

The fourth story involves a man who comes up with insurance scam that involves him simulating death, being buried, and being dug up by friend, who will claim the insurance money. That the friend could claim the insurance money without digging him up never once occurs to him. Some medical students looking to dig up a corpse toss themselves into the mix.

Finally, future Doctor Who Tom Baker is a painter in Haiti who seeks a voodoo priest’s help to get revenge on some art world figures who are financially exploiting him. From that point on, anything that happens to one of the portraits he paints also happens to the painting’s subject. A handy tool for revenge, but what about that painting of himself he recently did?

The linking story was very amusingly parodied by Steve Coogan’s series Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible. Would you believe at the end of it all that it turns out the storytellers are all dead??? And in hell???

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