Every Halloween season has to have at least one good horror anthology. Of course, Amicus Productions were the masters of the multi-story format starting with Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1964) and ending with The Monster Club (1980). In 1973, during the peak of their success, they followed up on the EC Comics theme started the previous year with Tales From The Crypt and released Vault of Horror.
Every good anthology movie has to have a framing story. In some cases, it’s pretty weak but when done properly, it can be as entertaining as the individual stories themselves. Here, we have five strangers who take an elevator in a downtown London office. However, each end up in the basement with no chance of getting out. Soon, conversation turns to storytelling as each man talks about a nightmare. What follows are five separate stories dealing with vampires, a young wife who is not what a neat freak husband had hoped for, an Indian rope trick, an insurance scam gone wrong and voodoo.
As with almost every anthology movie, not every story is a winner but you invariably have one or two worth watching. I always enjoy sitting down and watching them and Amicus really pulls these off fairly well. Vault of Horror isn’t the best of the lot but far better than some others I’ve seen over the years. The production and acting is top notch, if not entirely as scary or original as one would hope. The stories were all originally seen in the EC Comics Tales From The Crypt comic book with one exception. It is fun seeing Tom Baker in a pre-Doctor Who role as the painter living in Haiti. Well worth tracking down, whether you buy the DVD (less than $10 and paired with Tales From The Crypt) or catch it on YouTube.