Tales from the Crypt's And All Through the House Episodes Review

Written by ZigZag

And All Through the House (1972)

Directed by Freddie Francis
Written by Milton Subotsky
1972, 12 minutes, Not Rated
Tales From The Crypt (movie) premiered on March 9th, 1972

Starring:
Joan Collins as Joanne Clayton
Oliver MacGreevy as Maniac Santa

And All Through the House (1989)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Written by Fred Dekker
1989, 29 minutes, Not Rated
Originally aired on June 10th, 1989

Starring:
Mary Ellen Trainor as Wife
Larry Drake as Maniac Santa

Review:

And All Through the House first appeared as part of the 1972 Amicus production Tales from the Crypt, starring Joan Collins (The Bitch) as Joanne, a woman who murders her husband on Christmas Eve while her young daughter is upstairs eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. News bulletins warn of an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa and armed with an axe.

When the maniac inevitably arrives, Joanne races to lock all of the doors and windows in hopes of keeping safe. Having just murdered her husband, she cannot call the police without risking prison. Once the house is secure, she checks on her daughter only to find that the little girl has gotten out of bed and let Santa inside to celebrate Christmas.

Seventeen years later, the story appeared again in the first season of HBO's Tales from the Crypt (1989). The original version ran just over 10-minutes, but this time around the tale has been expanded to fill a 30-minute window. The new incarnation brings a polished elegance that takes the central character (Mary Ellen Trainor) to new levels of panic and mayhem.

Trainor plays the wife as a far more cunning woman, quick to blame the murder of her husband on Santa (Larry Drake). She successfully fights off the maniac and manages to call for help before succumbing to her fate at the hands of the innocent daughter who invites Santa inside.

The 1972 version, written by Milton Subotsky (The Skull) is very direct in presentation and relies on the bizarre nature of the story to keep audiences entertained. The idea is solid, but the script is only passable in that while it is certainly memorable for the scenario, the tale itself is successful in large part due to the abbreviated running time.

Director Freddie Francis (Paranoiac) keeps the pace moving as the entire story unfolds in less than 15-minutes. Joan Collins is absolutely gorgeous as the evil Joanne, capable of vicious murder in her introduction and drawing audience sympathy within mere moments.

The 1989 version is aided by a fantastic script by Fred Dekker (Night of the Creeps) and masterful direction by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future). The production design and camera work are all top notch as the house becomes a more prominent trap for the un-named protagonist. Every opportunity to keep her away from her goal of protecting her daughter is packed into the script with surprising ease.

The cast is rock solid as Mary Ellen Trainor (Lethal Weapon) is a strong opponent to the maniac outside. This version features Larry Drake (Darkman) as the crazed Santa, and he is physically more intimidating than the original's Oliver MacGreevy, but also lends a dangerously playful edge to the character.

And All Through the House (1972) marked the arrival of the killer Santa Claus, and horror films have never been the same. This episode set the tone for the entire HBO series as a love letter to the original source material created by William Gaines back in the 1950s. His ghoulish comics have earned a place in the pop-culture of America and inspired countless variations on the concept of macabre justice. For better or worse the Killer Santa motif has flourished and continues to haunt movie theatres and video shelves to this day.

Grades:

And All Through the House (1972)

Movie: 2.5 Stars

 

And All Through the House(1989)

Movie: 3.5 Stars

 

You can purchase the Tales From the Crypt movie or Tales from the Crypt: The Complete First Season from Amazon US.

Day one of "ZigZag's 12 Days of Christmas".

Day 1: Tales from the Crypt's And All Through the House
Day 2: To All a Good Night
Day 3: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
Day 4: Jaws: The Revenge
Day 5: Christmas Evil
Day 6: Psycho Santa / Satan Clause Double Feature
Day 7: Santa Claws
Day 8: A Christmas Tale (aka Cuento de Navidad)
Day 9: Elves
Day 10: Dead End
Day 11: Santa's Slay
Day 12: Black Christmas (1974)

Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.

 

© 2009 HorrorTalk.com. No use of this review is permitted without expressed permission from HorrorTalk.com.

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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