Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tales of Terror (1962)

In a similar vain as 1963's Twice Told Tales, Vincent Price stars in three stories "inspired" by Edgar Allen Poe. While I've read very little from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Poe and I go way back. The three stories are The Black Cat, which isn't one of my favorites, The Case of M. Valdemar, which I never read, and Morella, which I never heard of. First up is Morella.

Young hottie Lenora (groan) visits dad (Price) who lives in an spooky mansion with cob webs and spiders. Where else would Price live? Lenora discovers mom resting in bed, which is a bit of a shock as she died when Lenora was an infant. Oh, and still blames her for her death.

Next is The Black Cat. Peter Lorre is an old, fat, drunk, layabout who is abusive to his wife. Despite this, his wife is fairly young and kinda hot. While about town he stumbles into a wine tasting being hosted for a famous and renowned wine taster (Price). Lorre proceeds to challenge him to a competition. Here, Price is about as gay as you've ever seen him, although he does use proper wine tasting mouth techniques, don't ask me why I know that. Being a notorious lush prepares one for so few things in life, but apparently one is to be a great wine critic. Lorre and Price strike up a friendship and Lorre brings him home to meet his young, under appreciated, and neglected wife.

The writers decided to combine the story with The Cask of Amontillado, a story I liked much better. Price's character is name Fortunato and they even sample some Amontillado.

The final story is The Case of M. Valdemar, which is based on The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. Price is a dying man and the only person who can temporarily relieve him of his pain is a mesmerizer (Basil Rathbone). Hot hot hot daughter doesn't like the good doctor and doesn't trust him, but daddy does and that's all that matters. What the doctor wants to do is mesmerize Price at the point of his death to see what happens. Oh, and to nail his hot daughter, but who wouldn't. Unfortunately for everybody, she marries a Chinese millionaire shortly after filming and retires from acting.

Roger Corman directed it while taking a break from doing absolute garbage. Somewhat darker than Twice Told Tales, I found them a little more entertaining and even handed. The sets seemed a little less cheesy. Price, Lorre, and Rathbone reunite in 1963 to do a parody called The Comedy of Terrors. Lorre would do two more undistinguished movies, then the man so amazing in M would pass from this Earth a couple months from his 60th birthday.

I liked it and so did my boys. AMRU 3.5.

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