The Vault of Horror (1973)

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

A group of strangers tell each other about their nightmares while stuck inside a mysterious room.


Horror, Anthology

Horror, Supernatural


Midnight Mess

Rogers - Daniel Massey

Donna - Anna Massey

Clive - Michael Pratt

Old Waiter - Erik Chitty

Waiter - Jerold Wells

Passerby on Street - Roy Evans

The Neat Job

Critchit - Terry-Thomas

Eleanor - Glynis Johns

Jane - Marianne Stone

Wilson - John Forbes-Robertson

This Trick'll Kill You

Sebastian - Curt Jurgens

Inez - Dawn Addams

Indian Girl - Jasmina Hilton

Fakir - Ishaq Bux

Bargain in Death

Maitland - Michael Craig

Alex - Edward Judd

Tom - Robin Nedwell

Jerry - Geoffrey Davies

Gravedigger - Arthur Mullard

Landlady - Geraldine Hart

Drawn and Quartered

Moore - Tom Baker

Diltant - Denholm Elliott

Breedley - Terence Alexander

Gaskill - John Witty

Bob Dickson - Maurice Kaufmann

Voodoo Man - Tony Hazel

Landlord - Tommy Godfrey

Mrs. Breedley - Sylvia Marriott

Cutter - Daniel Johns

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Rogers gets into an elevator and presses the button to go down to the ground floor. The door opens and Maitland gets inside of the elevator and it continues downward. This continues as Sebastian, Critchit and Moore get on the elevator. They become startled when it stops at the subbasement level and the door opens into a room with five chairs surrounding a table with bottles of liquor and glasses. They decide to sit at the table and Rogers tells them about a dream he had.

Midnight Mess

Rogers answers the door and Clive walks into his hotel room. Rogers asks him if he found Donna and Clive demands money. Rogers gives him money and Clive hands him a piece of paper with an address on it. Rogers then strangles Clive with his tie and takes his money back. He goes to the house listed on the address, but no one answers the door. He sees a restaurant across the street and as he is walking towards it, is told by Passerby on Street that he should get inside as it is getting dark. Rogers sits down at a table at the restaurant and is told by Old Waiter that they are closing, due to it getting dark soon. Rogers walks back to Donna's house and this time she answers the door. She asks him what he wants and he tells her he came to see her and asks why everyone is afraid of the dark. She tells him it is because of "Them", and seventeen bodies have been found drained of their blood. He tells her their father died four weeks ago and she inherited all of the money as she was their father's favorite. Rogers then stabs Donna to death with a knife. He takes a rose from a bushel Donna had on her table and leaves the house. He sees a group of people go into the now reopened restaurant and goes back inside. He takes a seat at a table and Waiter suggests he get the table d'hote. The Waiter brings Rogers what he thinks is tomato juice, but has a weird taste. He is next served a reddish colored soup and the Waiter asks him how he wants his roast clots served. Rogers spits out his soup and the Waiter pulls back a large curtain to reveal a mirror. The Waiter and the patrons and then Rogers notices he is the only one visible in the mirror. He is then grabbed by the other patrons as Donna walks in holding the knife Rogers had left embedded in her. Rogers is tied up and a keg tap is placed into his neck. Donna and the other patrons are then served blood from Rogers' tapped neck.

The next to tell about their dream is Critchit.

The Neat Job

Critchit is having dinner with Wilson when he tells him that he is engaged to Eleanor. At their home, Critchit criticizes Eleanor when he notices she moved his magazine rack and tells her there is a place for everything and everything has a place. In the morning after his shower, Critchit complains when he finds out Eleanor has moved her clothes to her side of the bed and his clothes to his side of the bed. He takes her to his workshop and shows her how he has all of his tools neatly organized by size, length, thread, etc. Eleanor has lunch with Jane and tells her she married Critchit, because her father had no money and she had no professional abilities. She tells Jane that Critchit is nice, but the only thing she can seem to do for him is to keep his house tidy. In the evening, Critchit tells Eleanor he will cook for her. He goes into the kitchen to cook and as he looks for some tomatoes, he finds there aren't any fresh ones or canned ones. He yells at Eleanor to come into the kitchen and shows her a laminated list he has on the inside doors of the cupboard which has the names of everything within the cupboard along with count. In the morning, Critchit comes into the kitchen and finds it organized and correct and Eleanor tells him she worked all night on it. While standing around bored, Eleanor puts her glass on the coffee table. She picks it up and notices a water stain and hurriedly places it on a coaster and hurriedly starts to put things away, causing more mess as she does it. She goes into Critchit's basement workshop and gets some wood polish, which she spills as she is cleaning up the coffee table. As she is stumbling to the basement, she knocks over a painting, which causes a scratch in the wall. Eleanor goes into the basement and opens and spreads out jar after jar of nails and screws to find the right one and as she is going to the stairs, Critchit comes down them. He sees his workshop and starts screaming at Eleanor asking her if she can do anything neatly over and over until she screams and puts the claw of the hammer into his head, killing Critchit. Later she tells a not present Critchit that she made it tidy and stares at the jars neatly labeled and filled with Critchit's dissected organs and body parts.

Sebastian begins his story next.

This Trick'll Kill You

Sebastian and Inez are walking through a market in India when they come to a magic act being performed by a Fakir with the help of an Indian Girl. The Fakir performs the magic basket trick where he has a young boy named Akbar step into a basket apparently blessed by the gods and then stabs a sword multiple times through the basket. The Fakir then opens the basket and Akbar stands up in perfect health. He then performs a trick to show supernatural power of the human body to ignore pain. He takes a long knife and stabs it through one side of his cheek to the other side. A member of the crowd exclaims it is a trick and after the Fakir says it is not, Sebastian walks up to the Fakir and shows the crowd, the real knife is in the Fakir's sleeve. He then spins the basket around to the show it has an opening in which Akbar could climb out of. Sebastian assures the crowd there is no magic involved and identified himself as a fellow magician. The crowd then laughs at the Fakir and Indian Girl looks angrily at Sebastian as he and Inez walk away. Sebastian and Inez go back to their hotel room and Inez wants to leave due to them not finding any new magic, while Sebastian wants to stay for another day or two. As Sebastian is walking through the market at night, he hears a flute playing and sees the Indian Girl performing the magic rope from the jar trick. He watches as the rope rises into the sky and Indian Girl climbs it. Sebastian fiddles with the rope to try and figure out how she did it and offers to pay her to learn the trick. The Indian Girl tells him there is no trick and it is all due to the rope and Sebastian offers to buy the rope, but the Indian Girl refuses to sell it. He goes back to his hotel room and tells Inez about the trick. The next evening, Sebastian returns to the Indian Girl and offers to pay her money to perform the magic for his sick wife. The Indian Girl and Sebastian go to his hotel room and the Indian Girl performs the trick for Inez as Sebastian locks the door. As the Indian Girl performs the trick, Sebastian stabs her in the back and he and Inez put her body in the closet. They try and figure out the trick and as Sebastian uses the flute, the rope starts to rise. Inez climbs the rope and as she reaches the top, screams and disappears. A red blood stain starts to spread along the ceiling and the rope starts to attack Sebastian. He tries to run away, but it eventually catches and straggles him. Outside, the Fakir performs his tricks in front of a crowd, along with Indian Girl and the Fakir looks towards an open window, showing a strangled Sebastian.

Maitland says he has had a similar vision and begins his story.

Bargain in Death

He starts the story off about waking up in a freshly dug grave. He then goes back to things from the past. He is relating a plan to Alex in which Maitland will take a drug to fool doctors into thinking he is dead so they can collect Maitland's insurance money and split it. After Alex leaves, Maitland reveals he plans on killing Alex once the insurance money is received. Maitland injects himself with the drug and then hides it in his room after grabbing a matchbook and sitting down to read a book entitled Tales from the Crypt. As Tom is reading Fundamentals of Current Medical Treatment, he tells Jerry he won't be able to learn anatomy without a body to work on. The Landlady gets the mail and brings it to Maitland's room. She knocks on his door and when he doesn't answer it, she goes inside and screams when she sees him apparently dead. Tom and Jerry run into the room and Jerry gives Tom a look and looks down at Maitland's body. Later Tom and Jerry go to the cemetery and meet up with the Gravedigger and they agree to pay him after he digs up Maitland's body. Maitland, now conscious lies in the coffin as he quickly runs out of oxygen. Alex smiles as he packs his belongings into a suitcase. As the Gravedigger continues to dig, Tom thinks he hears a cough. Alex drives towards the cemetery and comments how long it will take before Maitland realizes he isn't coming to dig him out of his grave. The Gravedigger finishes digging and as he opens the coffin door, Maitland jumps up and screams Alex causing Tom and Jerry to run away out of the cemetery and into the street. Alex, who is driving nearby, swerves to miss them and crashes his car into a tree, causing it to burst into flames. The Gravedigger calls to Tom and Jerry and tells them he is sorry about the head as he shows them the body of the now really dead Maitland which has a shovel wound in the forehead.

The last to tell their tale is Moore.

Drawn and Quartered

Moore is painting in Haiti when Bob Dickson stops by while visiting the island. When Moore mentions how his paintings are worthless, Bob says how one of them was recently sold for 5,000 pounds by Gaskill. He continues that Gaskill sold it for Diltant after they were highly praised by Breedley. Moore goes to see a Voodoo Man and tells him he wishes to buy Voodoo to get revenge on those who wronged him. The Voodoo Man asks what Moore does as a living and tells him to put his painting hand in a boiling pot of water. Moore at first refuses, but then sticks his hand inside before pulling it out and not experiencing any damage to his hand. The Voodoo Man then tells Moore to leave and as Moore pays him and exits, the Voodoo Man shakes his head. Later, Moore sketches his paint brush holder, but rips it up and throws it away, which causes the real paint brush holder to shatter. He cuts a piece of bread from a loaf and draws it before erasing a corner of it and a mouse crawls into his cottage and bites off a portion that matches his sketch. He draws a red mark on the cheek of his self portrait and after falling asleep has a nightmare of the Voodoo Man and falls off of his bed and scratches himself on the cheek. He borrows money from Bob and flies to London, taking along his self portrait. He rents his old studio from Landlord who shows him the safe he brought up just as Moore wanted. Moore puts his self portrait in the safe and locks it. He has a meeting with Diltant, Breedley and Gaskill where he accuses them of cheating him. He tells them he will have his revenge and they all laugh at him. Moore goes back to his studio and sketches portraits of Breedley, Gaskill and Diltant. He stares at Breedley's portrait and accuses him of lying about Moore's paintings to the public. He then removes the eyes from the portrait. At his home, Breedley argues with Mrs. Breedley about the woman he is cheating on her with and she splashes a bottle of acid on his face, blinding him. Moore then looks at the portrait of Gaskill and accuses him of lying about the sale-ability of his artwork. Moore then cuts off the hands from Gaskill's portrait. At his gallery, Gaskill sees Cutter at the paper cutter and tells him he is using the paper cutter wrong. He insults the Cutter and as Gaskill is showing him how to use the paper cutter, Gaskill cuts off his own forearms. The next day, Moore goes to Diltant's office and when he sees Diltant reading the paper, tells him it is his turn next. Diltant pulls a gun on Moore and Moore shows him the portrait he made of him. Moore then draws a red circle on the forehead of Diltant's portrait. Diltant then takes his gun and shoots himself in the head. Moore suddenly starts to choke and runs back to his studio when he realizes the lack of oxygen in the safe holding his portrait is the cause. He manages to pull his portrait out in time and places it on an easel, but realizes he left his watch behind at Diltant's office. As he is searching for a taxi, a worker knocks over a can of turpentine that falls through the skylight in Moore's studio, soaking Moore's portrait. As he races towards a taxi he is hit by a large truck, which crushes his skull, mimicking the damage from the turpentine.

Sebastian wonders if their dreams are a warning of what may happen, but Critchit thinks it is nonsense. The elevator door opens, but instead of an elevator, it leads to a graveyard. The five men walk out into the graveyard and disappear one by one until Sebastian is the last one and he realizes that due to their evil deeds they will be forced to relay their stories for eternity.