Ashley Westwood's second-half brace rescued a 3-3 home draw for Crewe and stretched Torquay's winless run to nine games.
Mark Ellis headed the Gulls into a two-goal lead with just 16 minutes on the clock, twice connecting with Kevin Nicholson set pieces.
Crewe were thrown a lifeline a minute before the break when Guy Branston handled in the box, but Lee Bell blasted the penalty against the crossbar. Nevertheless, Clayton Donaldson slotted home Luke Murphy's deflected pass 60 seconds later to pull one back.
The Gulls regained their two-goal cushion in the 67th minute when Elliot Benyon rolled a quickly taken free-kick to Joe Oastler who picked out Eunan O'Kane to race clear and blast into the roof of the net.
But Westwood crashed in a stunning first-time volley from the edge of the box in the 73rd minute. And the midfielder completed the Crewe comeback from the spot three minutes later after Branston brought down AJ Leitch-Smith in the box.
Torquay almost the nicked the points at the death but Danny Blanchett was on hand to head another Ellis header off the line.