Of course, there will be spoilers here . . . so if you haven't seen either the 1972 film or the TV episode yet . . . turn away now!
Tales From The Crypt is a fine example of a British Horror anthology (of which, there was quite a boom in the early to mid-1970s, with Amicus releasing the best of the bunch). It's got five separate stories, tied neatly together by an engaging wrap-around, all of which serve as the sort of morality tale the original source comics did in the 1950s.
|"I know he's got that insurance money on him somewhere!"|
|Joan Collins thinks it's Linda Evans outside her window!|
|Santa, wash your hands before taking a cookie please!|
All in all, this original version of "...And All Through The House" is the perfect kick-off to a great film where every story is a corker! In fact, it also may very well be the first (?) [or at least first "modern" - ED.] "Killer Santa" film! Everything is played pretty straight, though there is an underlying sense of dark humor in the segment's penultimate twist as young Carol finally lets "Santa" into the house with the same sort of naïve and giddy smile any child would have at seeing Saint Nick at their house!
True be told, the television remake of "...And All Through The House" was actually the first Tales From The Crypt episode that I ever saw -- at least part of it! I vividly remember my dad being excited about the premiere of Tales From The Crypt, recalling the old comics and there was even Mom chiming in about seeing the 1972 film back in the day as well! Of course, the first episode was "The Man Who Was Death" with William Sadler taking the law into his own hands after he's laid off as the city jail's executioner; of course, being a good dad and shielding my then 6yr old eyes, my Daddy-O quickly changed the channel at the first sight of female nudity! We, of course, came back to HBO a short time later, picking up with the "...And All Through The House" episode which, again, I recall Dad putting his foot down and changing it quickly deeming it to be "too scary" for my young eyes!
Alas, series show-runner Robert Zemeckis directed "...And All Through The House", which effectively retells the classic story as seen in the original 1972 film [and Vault of Horror #35 - ED.] though, as with most remakes, things are expanded a bit.
|Drinking too much can cause a splitting headache.|
|What? No more Lethal Weapon movies?!|
Trainor herself is quite effective as well, as she again displays a range of emotions; going from cold-blooded murderer to a mom whose trying to hide her misdeed to a frightened mom trying to protect herself and her daughter. Her blood-curdling screams at the story's close as, once again, "Santa" finds his way into the house, are pretty chilling too, if not a bit over the top.
|'Dem cookies ya got there are bad for my teeth!|
Ultimately, this episode perfectly sets the tone that the rest of the series would follow -- horror morality tales, soaked in dark humor. It perfectly updates the (then) modern sensibilities of the story and expands a little to pad out the running time for a full episode. All in all, not a bad piece!
If you were to hold a gun to my head and ask me to choose which version of "...And All Through The House" was better, I'd probably go with 1972 because Joan Collins. Although, my love for that particular telling may be mostly due to the nostalgia I feel for the first time I saw Tales From The Crypt from front to back; the same could be said for the Zemeckis version as well, with a similar nostalgia for the television series! If you haven't seen either of them, do yourself a favor and make it happen -- Tales From The Crypt is available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory in its original, uncut form, paired in an awesome double feature with its 1973 sequel The Vault of Horror (presented in two different versions!) and, of course, HBO's awesome Tales From The Crypt series is available via Complete Season sets or multi-packs depending on your needs (you wants Season 1, of course, for "...And All Through The House").