Based on the classic EC comics and predecessor to the long-running HBO series of the same name, the fine British anthology film "Tales from the Crypt" finally comes to DVD in time for Halloween preparatory viewing.


Five tourists find themselves trapped in underground catacombs, where the Crypt Keeper (Ralph Richardson) reveals each of the bloody fates that await them. First "? and perhaps most memorable "? finds murderess Joan Collins battling an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Claus in the chilling, Christmas-set "And All Through the House."


Equally standing out are a "Monkey's Paw"-inspired yarn where a greed-stricken married couple gets more than they bargained for from an ancient Asian statue that grants three wishes in "Wish You Were Here", and "Blind Alleys," in which residents of an institution for the blind are so fed up with their egotistical administrator that they lure him into a trap strewn with razor blades and darkness "? always a great combination for utmost pain and suffering.


Fox's DVD is super-sharp; the film never has looked better. It's all a lot of fun, made even more so by the inclusion of "Crypt"'s immediate sequel, "Vault of Horror," which contains five more forays into terror-as-comeuppance.


"?Rod Lott

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