Superior to the HBO Series
Movie Lover: Richard Bartram
Huntington, WV US
-- September, 9, 2007
Both "Tales From the Crypt" and the follow-up "Vault of Horror" are superior film adaptations of the famed EC Comics that Robert Zemeckis and others chose to bastardize more than 15 years later.
In spite of promises to be faithful to the original stories, the HBO producers created slick, expensive, but shallow productions that oft-times bore little-to-no resemblance to their source. Amicus, on the other hand, with low budgets, inspired talent, and a respect for the ECs, created two films that hold up far better than their more recent successors.
A prime example of the HBO series lack of respect for the story-telling technique that made the ECs famous is a comparison to the two adaptations of the story, "All Through the House". The prerequisite EC twist ending that came as a suprise in the Amicus production is telegraphed minutes in advance in the Zemeckis adaptation. Other HBO adaptations were just as guilty of the same story-telling error and too often added unnecessary twists to otherwise fine climaxes. Too much attention was paid to the HBO expenditure of money on stars and appearance and too little was spent on noting that the EC stories had endured for 40 years without the need of egotistic screenwriter enhancement.
The Amicus productions were such that they attracted the likes of Peter Cushing, Sir Ralph Richardson, Patrick Magee, Terry Thomas, Curt Jurgens, Glynis Johns and other great actors. It is safe to say that both films were shot on a budget that was less than any single 30 minute episode produced for HBO.
Of particular note is the performance of Peter Cushing in the story, "Poetic Justice", where, in a few brief minutes, the underrated actor proves why Sir Lawrence Olivier once complemented him with the observation that he was one of the best film actors of his generation.