Tales of Terror (1962)

TALES OF TERROR (1962)
Article #1289 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-24-2004
Posting Date: 2-21-2005
Directed by Roger Corman
Featuring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone

Three tales from Edgar Allan Poe are presented.

There are some definite benefits to presenting Poe in this sort of anthology. For one thing, when you have an actor playing major roles in all the tales (as Vincent Price does here), it gives him a chance to show his range, which would otherwise require the viewing of several movies to appreciate. Another is that it avoids the problem of padding out the stories to fill a feature-length movie. The four stories (two of which are combined into a single entity) are well selected, giving us a good range of Poe’s work. The first, MORELLA, is probably the weakest, but it does cleanse the palate somewhat by allowing Corman to get his conflagration out of the way. The second is truly wonderful; Price, Peter Lorre, and Joyce Jameson all give excellent performances in a story that successfully merges THE BLACK CAT and THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO while giving it a strong comic twist (kudos to Richard Matheson). The third one is the most straightforward horror story of the bunch, and it is also quite good, with Price joined by Debra Paget and Basil Rathbone. In many ways, this movie paved the way for both THE RAVEN and THE COMEDY OF TERRORS. My favorite moments are from the middle story; the great wine-tasting sequence is a classic, and I also like the scene where Price and Jameson play “head games” with Lorre.

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