Vault of Horror, Vol. 1

Review by Gary Couzens

This series of three tapes gathers together the Tales From The Crypt cable TV series under the banner Vault of Horror. And a good idea it is, too. Each of the tapes contains three stories, inducing nostalgic memories of the days when Amicus made such classics as From Beyond The Grave, Tales From The Crypt and Asylum. Of course, this is an American product, inspired by the legendary EC horror comics of the 50s. On the evidence of Vol. 1 I shall certainly be renting the other two!

Story one is directed by Joel Silver and concerns a con man’s (played brilliantly, as ever, by Joe Pesci) attempts to reap the benefits of marrying twins; when they find out what he’s been up to, the pair reap typical EC revenge by… well, let’s just say it ain’t pleasant! O.T.T. in every way with a satisfyingly macabre payoff.

The second tale involves two disturbed brothers (cracking performances by the ever reliable Bill Paxton and Brad Dourif) who plan to rob an ice cream vendor but get some very nasty surprises for their trouble. Again, this is a short, very sharp shocker, pleasingly gory to boot.

Finally, Tobe Hooper directs a story about a thief’s attempt to steal a highly prized jewel; except he hasn’t reckoned with voodoo-worker, Whoopi Goldberg, who has other things planned for him – and it involves giving head!! Say no more.

All three tales feature a wrap-around introduction from the Crypt Keeper, and the production only occasionally belies its TV origins. Nothing earth-shattering, but if you go into this expecting some gruesome fun you won’t be disappointed.

This review of a video from High Fliers Video was originally published in the January/February 1995 issue of the BFS Newsletter (Vol. 19, No. 1).