The Vault of Horror (1973)

R | 86, 93 or 105 mins | Horror | March 1973

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HISTORY

Working titles for the film were Futher Tales from the Crypt and Tales from the Crypt, Part III . The Var review mistakenly lists the title for the first story as Midnight Mass . The Vault of Horror was a sequel to the 1972 production Tales from the Crypt (see above), also produced by Max J. Rosenberg and Milton J. Subotsky and based upon stories written by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines. In the opening credits a card reads: "As originally published by William M. Gaines in the comic magazines entitled: 'The Vault of Horror' and 'Tales From the Crypt.'" Gaines was the publisher and co-editor of EC Comics and Mad magazine.
       The Vault of Horror was the only feature collaboration between brother and sister Daniel and Anna Massey, whose father was noted actor Raymond Massey. As noted in onscreen credits, the film was shot at Twickenham Studios, London; additional shooting took place throughout London. ... More Less

Working titles for the film were Futher Tales from the Crypt and Tales from the Crypt, Part III . The Var review mistakenly lists the title for the first story as Midnight Mass . The Vault of Horror was a sequel to the 1972 production Tales from the Crypt (see above), also produced by Max J. Rosenberg and Milton J. Subotsky and based upon stories written by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines. In the opening credits a card reads: "As originally published by William M. Gaines in the comic magazines entitled: 'The Vault of Horror' and 'Tales From the Crypt.'" Gaines was the publisher and co-editor of EC Comics and Mad magazine.
       The Vault of Horror was the only feature collaboration between brother and sister Daniel and Anna Massey, whose father was noted actor Raymond Massey. As noted in onscreen credits, the film was shot at Twickenham Studios, London; additional shooting took place throughout London. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Apr 1973
p. 4578.
Daily Variety
11 Oct 1972.
---
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1972
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 1973
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 1973
p. 3.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
6 Apr 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1973.
---
Motion Picture Herald
17 Mar 1973.
---
New York Times
17 Mar 1973
p. 17.
Variety
21 Mar 1973
p. 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Ward master
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd mixer
Dubbing mixer
MAKEUP
Chief makeup
Chief hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod supv
Casting dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on comic book stories by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines published in Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt (1950--1955).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Tales from the Crypt, Part III
Further Tales from the Crypt
Release Date:
March 1973
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 16 March 1973
Production Date:
early October 1972--late March 1973 in Twickenham Studios, London
Copyright Claimant:
Metromedia Producers Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 March 1973
Copyright Number:
LP42588
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color processed by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
86, 93 or 105
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a south London skyscraper, five men, Harold Rogers, Arthur Critchit, Sebastian, Maitland and Moore, enter an elevator that ignores their request to stop on the ground floor, letting them off instead in a sub-basement. Although perplexed, the men are drawn to a table with an inviting array of cocktails and comfortable chairs. While the men seat themselves, Harold observes that the experience feels peculiar, as if it were a frightening dream, similar to a recurring one he often experiences.
       Midnight Mess : After meeting with a hired detective to learn the whereabouts of his sister Donna, Harold strangles the detective then heads off to a small country village in which Donna resides. Initially receiving no answer at Donna’s home, Harold wanders down the street toward a restaurant only to be told by an old waiter that they are closing because of the encroaching darkness. Perplexed, Harold nevertheless returns to Donna’s door, which his suspicious sister answers. Entering and greeting Donna sardonically, Harold reveals that he has been searching for her for four months, since their father died. Bitterly acknowledging that their father left all of his estate to Donna for her lifetime, Harold then pulls out a knife and stabs his sister to death. Departing the house, Harold notices lights and movement from the restaurant and returns to find it filled with people. Accepting the waiter’s recommendation of the evening’s special multi-course meal, Harold is baffled by the odd tasting red cocktail ... +


In a south London skyscraper, five men, Harold Rogers, Arthur Critchit, Sebastian, Maitland and Moore, enter an elevator that ignores their request to stop on the ground floor, letting them off instead in a sub-basement. Although perplexed, the men are drawn to a table with an inviting array of cocktails and comfortable chairs. While the men seat themselves, Harold observes that the experience feels peculiar, as if it were a frightening dream, similar to a recurring one he often experiences.
       Midnight Mess : After meeting with a hired detective to learn the whereabouts of his sister Donna, Harold strangles the detective then heads off to a small country village in which Donna resides. Initially receiving no answer at Donna’s home, Harold wanders down the street toward a restaurant only to be told by an old waiter that they are closing because of the encroaching darkness. Perplexed, Harold nevertheless returns to Donna’s door, which his suspicious sister answers. Entering and greeting Donna sardonically, Harold reveals that he has been searching for her for four months, since their father died. Bitterly acknowledging that their father left all of his estate to Donna for her lifetime, Harold then pulls out a knife and stabs his sister to death. Departing the house, Harold notices lights and movement from the restaurant and returns to find it filled with people. Accepting the waiter’s recommendation of the evening’s special multi-course meal, Harold is baffled by the odd tasting red cocktail provided and then by the mysteriously dark, thick soup. When the waiter then politely inquires how Harold would like the blood-clots cooked, he gags. Apprehensive, the waiter then pulls back curtains revealing a wall-size mirror and Harold realizes with horror that he is the only one in the crowded room with a reflection. When the other patrons begin circling Harold, the front door opens to admit Donna who holds up Harold’s knife and smiles. Within moments, Donna murders Harold who is then strung upside down to provide the room full of vampires with delectably fresh blood. Back in the vault room, Harold insists that he does not have a sister and does not understand his dream, then asks Arthur if he has never had a nightmare.
       The Neat Job : Elderly fussbudget Arthur reveals to a friend that he has decided to marry a woman, several years his junior and believes it should be a happy union as he is so easy-going. A few nights after marrying the woman, Eleanor, Arthur is disturbed to find that she has rearranged certain things in the living room. Apologizing, Eleanor promises to return everything to its former place. The next morning when Arthur inadvertently pulls on a pair of Eleanor’s hose rather than his own socks, he demands to know why she has moved items again. Taking Eleanor downstairs to his painstakingly ordered workshop, Arthur firmly states that having everything in its proper place is essential for accomplishing anything. That evening, Arthur surprises Eleanor by offering to cook dinner for her only to explode in fury when he discovers several cooking items have not been restocked. Angrily demonstrating his careful and methodical system of making sure that food items always be replenished, Arthur berates Eleanor for not even attempting to follow his notes. The next morning, Arthur is delighted to find that Eleanor has an ideal breakfast awaiting him in a kitchen perfectly gleaming and organized. Later that day, only moments before Arthur’s usual six o’clock return, Eleanor realizes several things need tidying. In her haste to clean up, Eleanor inadvertently makes an increasingly larger mess and Arthur arrives to find her standing in his workshop now in disarray. Hysterically asking Eleanor if she cannot do anything neatly, Arthur is surprised when his wife slams the back of a hammer neatly into his skull. The next morning, Eleanor proudly looks at the efficient and tidy job of dismembering, packaging and jarring Arthur and laughs. After Arthur’s rueful revelation, Sebastian admits he has also had a distressing, recurring dream.
       This Trick’ll Kill You : At a bazaar in India, husband and wife magicians Sebastian and Inez stop to watch an old man and boy perform an illusion which Sebastian then exposes to the gathered crowd, as the man’s young female assistant glares resentfully. Later that evening while walking, Sebastian hears a flute playing and discovers the magician's assistant serenading a basket from which a thick coil of rope rises. When the rope reaches several feet in height, the girl lays down the flute and climbs to the top of it as Sebastian watches in amazement. When Sebastian demands to know how the trick is done, the girl states there is no trick, and that the magic resides in the rope which has been handed down through several generations of her maternal family line. After the girl refuses Sebastian’s sizeable offer to purchase the rope he returns angrily to the hotel to relate the event to Inez, who agrees the trick would be priceless for their act. The following day, Sebastian asks the girl if she will demonstrate the rope trick to Inez at the hotel. The girl agrees, but in the middle of her performance, Sebastian fatally stabs her in the back. Taking up the flute, Sebastian is startled when he plays the instrument and the rope responds, rising from the basket. When it reaches the ceiling, Inez climbs to the top delightedly only to look up, scream and disappear. Terrified when a bloodstain forms on the ceiling above the rope, Sebastian attempts to flee, but the rope, snapping and coiling, stops him, finally encircling his neck and strangling him. Down in the street bazaar, the old magician plays to a gathering crowd as his young restored female assistant plays the flute knowingly. Maitland then uneasily describes his unusual dream.
       Bargain in Death : Tired of living in a dreary boarding house, unsuccessful horror story writer Maitland devises a plan with his friend Alex to feign his own death so that Alex can collect on Maitland’s life insurance. Agreeing to be buried alive to add reality to the scheme, Maitland secretly plans to do away with Alex afterward, unaware that his friend has the same idea. After taking drugs to simulate death, Maitland is discovered by the housekeeper whose shrieks draw the attention of two young medical students in the home, Tom and Jerry. In order to procure a cadaver for their studies, the students pay a gravedigger to unearth Maitland soon after his burial. Meanwhile, Maitland awakens in the casket and panics over the lack of air. After applying for the life insurance, Alex departs with no intention of rescuing Maitland. Meanwhile, the gravedigger reaches Maitland, who, nearly suffocated, terrifies the men by bolting upright and screaming. When Tom and Jerry dart away in fright, they run across the road just as Alex drives by, forcing him to swerve and crash into a tree. The gravedigger summons Tom and Jerry back to the grave to advise them that they can still have the body and apologizes for lopping off the head with his spade. Although reluctant, artist Moore then relates his own terrifying dream.
       Drawn and Quartered : In Haiti, the impoverished Moore receives a surprise visit from friend Bob Dixon, who informs him that London gallery owner Arthur Gaskill has sold one of Moore’s paintings for 1,000 pounds on behalf of his agent, Laurence Ditant. When the stunned Moore asks why a work of his would be so valuable, Bob relates that art critic Fenton Breedley has raved about it. That night, Moore visits a medicine man to ask for the power of voodoo in order to take revenge on the men who have cheated him. After ordering the artist to place his hand in a boiling pot, the medicine man tells Moore that his revenge will come from his creations. Returning to his hut, Moore idly sketches a jar, then, displeased, tears it up only to be amazed when the real jar then shatters. Going to a self-portrait, Moore then draws a cut on the face of his self-portrait and later, awakens to find he has a matching cut on his cheek. Borrowing money from Bob, Moore returns to London where he rents his old studio and a large safe where he places his self-portrait. Meeting with Ditant, Breedley and Gaskill, Moore accuses them of plotting to over-inflate his work to make a profit. Returning to the studio, Moore spends all night painting individual portraits of each man. The next morning he declares that Breedley will never see another work of art again and cuts out the eyes on the painting. At home arguing with his wife about his infidelity, Breedley laughs until his wife grabs a bottle of acid that she hurls into his eyes. Moore then cuts off the hands in Gaskill’s painting and later, in the art studio, the impatient gallery owner accidentally slices off his hands with a canvas cutter. The next day, Moore visits Ditant at his office and, removing his wristwatch and placing it in front of the agent, informs him he has two minutes to live. Frightened, Ditant draws a pistol as Moore unveils Ditant’s portrait on which he then marks a small red dot between the eyes. Overwhelmed, Ditant turns the gun on himself and fires. Feeling oddly smothered, Moore abruptly returns to the studio where he removes the self-portrait from the suffocating safe. Placing the painting on an easel under the bright windowed roof, Moore suddenly recalls that he left his wristwatch at Ditant’s. As the artist frantically rushes out into the street to hail a taxi, a billboard painter above the studio accidentally kicks a can of turpentine through the glass roof onto Moore’s portrait. As the painting dissolves, Moore is run over in the street.
       In the vault the men wonder if their dreams might be warnings of what is to come. As the elevator bell suddenly rings, the men go to the door which opens upon a graveyard. As each man wanders off into the mist, Sebastian sadly realizes they are cursed to tell the stories of their evil doings every night for all of eternity. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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