TALES OF TERROR. 1962. DIRECTED BY ROGER CORMAN. STARRING VINCENT PRICE, BASIL RATHBONE AND PETER LORRE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is a deliciously sumptuous, luxurious horror film from a bygone era that really bloody knew how to do good horror. There are three creepy stories in it based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe.
In the first vignette, Vincent Price plays a man driven mad by grief after the death of his beloved wife Morella more than two decades ago. After the fashion of true madmen, he has refused to bury her and keeps her lying in state in her bedroom.
Their fabulous mansion has fallen into serious disrepair in the style of crazy old Miss Havisham. He seems to just wander around in his dressing-gown all the time grieving. It’s all terribly self-indulgent.
Into this unhealthy situation comes the pretty Lenora, the daughter whom Vincent Price blames for the death of Morella. Lenora has been away at school for a very long time . Now she’s back and, after some initial surliness, Daddy Dearest is as happy as Larry that they’ve found each other again.
There’s someone else in the equation, though, who’s not so happy at the return of the Prodigal Daughter. What would you think if I told you that it’s someone who’s been dead for over twenty years…?
Peter Lorre stars in the second story as an obnoxious drunkard who’s a perfectly dreadful husband to his beautiful, much younger wife Annabel. Vincent Price hams it up delightfully as Fortunato Luchresi, the expert wine-taster who makes a cuckold out of Montresor Herringbone, our charmless drunkard.
Montresor is not entirely without discernment, however, even if he is without charm. He concocts a fiendish plan to revenge himself against the horny pair. How do things pan out…? Ask the cat. She knows…
Finally, Vincent Price plays a dying man- Valdemar- who uses a hypnotist to help control his pain levels. The hypnotist, played by the wonderful Basil Rathbone just five years before his death, takes things a step further, however.
He hypnotises Valdemar at the point of his death and continues to control his mind after he’s deceased, entirely against the wishes of the man’s wife and his doctor. He callously manipulates the dead man for his own nefarious ends. When the evil hypnotist puts the moves on the beautiful young widow, can anyone save her from his odious advances…?
The sets and costumes are all gorgeous, characterised by lots of rich russets, browns, burnt oranges and dark velvety blue. Poe and Vincent Price go together like bacon and eggs. Some of the writing is actually pretty witty, as in the case of Montresor and Fortunato sparring together over the sauvignons, and it was a pleasure to witness three fine such actors at the top of their craft. Sigh. They sure don’t make ’em like this anymore Actors or films. More’s the pity.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY