|The sign you're in for some real fun.|
|"Dare you enter the Crypt-Keeper's Crypt?"|
|"The fu-- ?!"|
The movie adaptation follows the story note-for-note if not visual-for-visual. As such, it's virtually a one-woman show starring Joan Collins in kind of role she was seemingly born to play-- a cold-hearted murderer. She brains her husband with an iron poker on Christmas Eve, just after he's put her gift under the tree and settled in to read the newspaper and listen to some seasonal music on the radio. He goes down on the rug spilling blood and brains, his eyes bulging grotesquely and his tongue sticking out. Collins is wearing a party hat is a touch of the morbid humor that ran through each and every EC horror title.
And he's right outside the house! Out of all the houses he could have picked, he's drawn to the one where the future star of a movie delightfully titled The Bitch and hate-queen of the TV show Dynasty has offed her spouse! How very coincidental! How convenient! How lucky for us! Now Joan has to dispose of a body and secure the homestead against an unwelcome holiday guest. The poor woman goes through hell, only to have her innocent daughter let the seasonally-costumed killer right inside where he...
|"And down I go..."|
Director Freddie Francis, a horror veteran who would later provide cinematography for David Lynch and Martin Scorsese, camera-stalks poor Collins... all through the house (boo hoo hoo). She makes the most of her screen time. From her satisfied reaction to having committed murder-- with a sneering inflection to her post-poker "Merry Christmas," Collins coolly conveys this in such a way you believe it's been building for a while-- to her growing hysteria as she shutters the windows and locks the doors and tries to figure out what to do about her husband's carcass, it's a performance of perfect pitch. She makes you loathe yet feel strangely sympathetic to this woman when essentially you're watching a scenario that pits a calculating murderer against one of those old school nutzoids. He can't help himself. What's her excuse? No matter; Francis and Collins have done their work well.
|"Blast! Speed dial won't be invented for years!"|
|"Grandpa! You're Santa?"|
Later we're going to take a look at Craig's original and drool over it like deranged Santa Claus.