TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972)

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Twenty-One – 10/21/18

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Vying for the title of “The Perfect Halloween movie,” the ascent of TRICK ‘R’ TREAT to top the lists of many horror fans, as their new favorite anthology ever (which Yours Cruelly completely agrees with) is yet another tale of one of those “Little Films That Could…And Did!”

Writer/director MICHAEL DOUGHERTY had one hell of an ally helping him get his movie made: his former boss, BRYAN SINGER, who agreed to produce it through his company, Bad Hat Harry Films. When Warner’s had no idea how to market it, they dumped it into theaters and then onto DVD, thinking it would sink without a trace. They were gravely mistaken. Word-of-mouth is a powerful form of communication among movie fans, and that’s how the scoop on TRICK ‘R’ TREAT went out. Soon the DVD began to develop a loyal following, which is how a sequel finally came to be greenlighted.

But enough backstory. The reason why anyone is talking about this great little gem of a holiday shocker is the story, and the wonderfully dark way in which it’s told.  It’s an anthology piece, but unlike most anthologies that have stand-alone stories all linked together by a single theme, like HOLIDAYS, for example, this one hearkens back more to a classic story collection like DEAD OF NIGHT, ASYLUM or TALES FROM THE CRYPT, typically in which a group of people are all held in a place where their stories unfold, one-by-one, and they all get terrifyingly closer to knowing why they’re there, and what their fates will be.

A young couple, Henry and Emma (TAHMOH PENIKETT and LESLIE BIBB) are returning from a party, in costume. While he enjoys everything about All Hallows’ Eve, she’s more of a Halloween “Grinch.” (In a story where such “Grinches” never fare well, as you’ll soon see).  As they return home, neither one of them knows that they’re being watched.  Or who is watching them…

In spite of his warnings to the contrary, Emma snuffs out the lit Jack O’Lantern in their yard before midnight…something you aren’t supposed to do. Henry, who’s already gone into the house, doesn’t realize that his girlfriend is about to pay the ultimate price for her holiday transgression. But when he comes back out, he discovers that she definitely has…in the most gruesome way possible.  And this is just the opening sequence!

Zombie ghosts, vampires, werewolves,  serial killers and “Sam” (QUINN LORD) – the cutest-yet-most-terrifying demonic presence ever to grace a movie screen all await you, in interlocking stories that follow the townsfolk as they celebrate Halloween…each in his or her own way. And the ‘monsters’ and these people, as well as the horrific secrets they have in common, are all revealed in a manner unlike many anthologies had attempted to carry through on, but the ones that followed TREAT got a clue from Dougherty’s deft storytelling skills pretty quickly, (example: the brilliantly hellish anthology, SOUTHBOUND.)  Murder, betrayal, revenge, retribution…all neatly tied up in a bag not unlike the one that little “Sam” has been known to carry…with blood dripping from the bottom!

The storytelling alone would be good enough for it to warrant the growing following it’s gotten since its release to DVD, but the cast being augmented by the talents of ANNA PAQUIN (before TRUE BLOOD), DYLAN BAKER and BRIAN COX certainly doesn’t hurt, (though the fates some characters suffer most certainly do!)

You could always do worse than this for a night of treat-laden terror! And fans have long been stoked about the news about that sequel, due out very soon!

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: Springing out to yell “BOO!” in 2007: GRINDHOUSE, REC, THE ORPHANAGE, INSIDE, 28 WEEKS LATER, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE MIST, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and Stephen King’s 1408!

Posted by Samuel Glass in ANTHOLOGY, EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES, 1 comment