After the commercial success of Tales from the Crypt (1972) there was a certain inevitability about Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg’s decision to once again return to the black humour and irony of EC Comics’ gore soaked pages. The stories of Al Feldstein and William M. Gaines were particularly suited to Amicus’ method of production, even if Amicus were never able to fully realise the viscera. Unfortunately The Vault of Horror is too light and inconsequential a follow up to Tales from the Crypt, and in all honesty is probably the companies weakest anthology. In the space of just a year what seemed exciting and interesting had degenerated into tiredness and datedness. The names on the marquee which included Tom Baker, Terry Thomas, Daniel Massey, Curt Jurgens, and Edward Judd represent the weakest casting to date for an Amicus anthology. Though scraping below the surface we do get dependable turns from Denholm Elliot, Anna Massey, Glynis Johns and Dawn Addams. The film opens with a series of establishing shots of Westminster, The Thames, and The Houses of Parliament as if too emphasis the films British credentials.. The only surprise in the film is that the ‘Vault’ itself is situated in the sub-basement of a non-descript tower block. Once our exclusively male incumbents have seated themselves they began to tell each other about the recurring dreams they have been experiencing. The only successful aspect of this extremely weak bridging narrative is the occasional inspirational shot from Roy Ward Baker.
In memoriam to Roy Ward Baker - 19/12/1916 - 05/10/2010
© Shaun Anderson 2010