Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TALES OF TERROR


TALES OF TERROR (1962). Director: Roger Corman.

There really isn't much terror in this light adaptation of several stories by Edgar Allan Poe starring Vincent Price. The dead "Morella" (Leona Gage) blames her infant daughter for causing her death, and when the grown woman, Lenora (Maggie Pierce), shows up to see her father (Price) after many years, Morella seizes the opportunity to take over her body. In "The Black Cat," which also incorporates elements from "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor (Peter Lorre) walls up his wife (Joyce Jameson) and her lover, Fortunato (Price), but is seemingly haunted by their spirits. "The Case of M. Valdemar" has a dying man (Price again) agreeing to allow mesmerist Carmichael (Basil Rathbone) to hypnotize him at the moment of his death, keeping his soul tormented and imprisoned in his dead flesh. Debra Paget and David Frankham play Valdemar's wife and doctor, respectively. It's great fun to watch old pros Price and Lorre (see photo) sparring with each other, especially during a delightful wine-tasting contest between the two, but the movie itself is mediocre and lacks chills.

Verdict: Watch this, but then read Poe's original stories for the real spirit of the Master. **1/2.

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