Tales of Terror
When you've got Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, and Peter Lorre all in the same movie, how can you go wrong? Tales of Terror is a trio of Edgar Allen Poe stories, starring three of horror's greats and produced and directed by the immortal Roger Corman. The first story, "Morella," involves a girl (Debra Paget) who returns to her isolated, spooky family home to see her estranged father (Price) for the first time in 26 years. He's let the housekeeping slide a bit--cobwebs abound and, oh, yes, his dead wife is still upstairs. Peter Lorre joins the fun for "The Black Cat," a piece with comic flavor that allows Price to show his rarely seen silly side, and then it's Basil Rathbone's turn to be creepy in "The Case of M. Valdemar," the tale of a mesmerist who decides to experiment with the unknown (bad idea). The movie is well paced, and makes good use of comedy without undercutting its chills. It's a rare treat to see this many masters of the genre working together and so clearly enjoying themselves. Don't miss it. --Ali Davis
Top Customer Reviews
In his earlier Edgar Allan Poe films, Roger Corman took short stories by the great Gothic master and expanded them into full-length features. Here, by contrast, the stories stay short, the only other thing they have in common being the participation of Vincent Price.
In Morella, Vincent Price plays a tormented man forced to confront a dark family secret when his long-estranged daughter tracks him down. In 'The Black Cat,' he's the rakish lover of the wife of Peter Lorre, who naturally plots a deadly revenge. And in the title role of 'The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,' Vincent Price tries to relieve chronic pain by asking Basil Rathbone to hypnotise him, something that leaves poor Valdemar hovering on the border between the dead and the living.
Roger Corman's previous Edgar Allan Poe films were played completely straight, and parts of 'TALES OF TERROR' are as authentically creepy as any of them. But he also stirred comedy into the Edgar Allan Poe brew for the first time, particularly in the scenes between Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. Narrated by Vincent Price.
FILM FACT: Patricia Medina was originally cast as Helene in the episode "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" but was replaced by Debra Paget. The British censor deleted the gruesome final shot from the "M. Valdemar" segment and substituted it with a fade to black. "The Black Cat" has been adapted to film numerous times with varying degrees of faithfulness to the original story. The most famous version is Edgar G. Ulmer's 1934 version with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.Read more ›
The first story is based on Poe's "Morella," but Corman and Matheson take great liberties to make the tale darker and scarier than the original. Unfortunately, the altered plot and its resolution (?) are a bit hard to follow, and it is therefore the weaker of the three plays.
The second--and best!--vignette, "The Black Cat" is actually a composite of Poe's story of the same name and his "The Cask of Amontillado." Peter Lorre hilariously hams it up as the cuckolded Montresor Herringbone, and Vincent Price is also a riot as Herringbone's nemesis, Fortunato. In spite of the humor, however, there are still plenty of chills when Lorre builds a wall around his "problems."
The final vignette, based on Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," features the wonderful Basil Rathbone as the hypnotist who uses his powers to put the titular character, Valdemar (portrayed by Price), in a sort of limbo between life and death. Again, Corman and Matheson have taken liberties with the original story (e.g., making the hypnotist malevolent and self-serving), but this time it's to great effect, as Rathbone makes a delightfully devilish villain. The make-up job on Price in the final scene is pretty creepy, too, in spite of the film's low-budget effects.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
These are old pictures I enjoyed when I was Young going to the movies.
This is a great bargain for the quality DVD's I received.
ce film est suppose avoir l,audio francais et il est seulement en anglaisPublished 1 month ago by gilles Vallee
This is an excellently balanced trilogy of stories: dramatic, humorous, and tragic. Mr. Price in all three, and again demonstrating his superlative theatrical skills.Published 4 months ago by Dr. Brien L. Chomica
Great Vincent Price!!! If you love Vincent Price movies, then you can't miss this one!!! Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe novels, this one is surely impressive,as do many others soon to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by RM300
What happens when you take great actors (Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone), a great writer (Richard Matheson), great source material (E.A. Read morePublished on Nov. 2 2002 by mrliteral
Interesting but lame all-star trio of Poe stories that kids may find fun. Admittedly bravura cast saddled with tame treatment of Poe tales tries to make good but ultimately sink... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2002 by Mark Norvell
First of all, let me say that Mr. Price was incredible on all three stories. Although the movie scripts of Matheson didn't convince me, Price saves the movie. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2002 by Daniel Alberto Malo Payan
This is an interesting of tales based loosely on Poe's writings. The first tells of a family reunion-the daughter returns to her family's home to discover dear ole Dad (Price)... Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2002
Three Segments are Told in the Stories from the Works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Segments are:Morella-About a Dying Father (Vincent Price) and also His Dying Daughter (Maggie Pierce)... Read morePublished on April 19 2002 by Christian Pelchat
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