Tales Of Terror

  • 1962
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

The fourth entry in Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe series, this film is an anthology of three short pieces based on tales by Poe, and all three--"Morella," "The Black Cat," and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"--feature Vincent Price in the starring role. In "Morella," Price is an embittered widower who has lived alone in his gloomy mansion since the...read more

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The fourth entry in Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe series, this film is an anthology of three short pieces based on tales by Poe, and all three--"Morella," "The Black Cat," and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"--feature Vincent Price in the starring role. In "Morella," Price is an embittered

widower who has lived alone in his gloomy mansion since the death of his wife, Gage, after giving birth some 26 years ago. His daughter, Pierce, arrives and finds that her father loathes her because he blames her for his wife's death. Prowling around the house, Pierce finds Gage's mummified body

lying on a bed. Price explains he couldn't bear to have her beauty buried beneath the ground, so he had her corpse moved into the house. Pierce reveals to her father that she is dying and only has a few months left. Father and daughter are reconciled, but that night Pierce dies and her body

becomes possessed by Gage, who has been waiting all these years to return and wreak her vengeance on Price--the father of the baby that killed her. In "The Black Cat," Lorre is superb as a drunken loser whose behavior forces his wife to seek comfort in the arms of wine-taster Price. To get even,

Lorre captures his wife and her lover and walls them up in the cellar. Unbeknownst to him, however, the family cat is also entombed, and its wails give the scheme away. The final story, "The Case of Mr. Valdemar," features Price as a dying man who has fallen under the spell of an evil mesmerist,

Rathbone. Price agrees to be the subject of an experiment wherein Rathbone will put him in a state of hypnosis at the moment of death, which will, perhaps, prevent him from dying. The trick works, but when the evil Rathbone attempts to steal Price's wife and estate, Price snaps out of the spell

and attacks the mesmerist, his dead flesh melting around him. "Morella," the scariest of the tales, is an interesting precursor to THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (1965). "The Black Cat" combines the title Poe tale with Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado." It is a wonderfully funny prototype of THE RAVEN (1963),

with both Lorre and Price having a grand time poking fun at the material and themselves. The final story has several memorable moments--especially when Price's disembodied voice can be heard pleading for release from his undead state--but the ending is marred by some unnecessary optical effects

that obscure his melted visage (indeed, the production stills from this tale are more frightening than what appears in the movie).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The fourth entry in Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe series, this film is an anthology of three short pieces based on tales by Poe, and all three--"Morella," "The Black Cat," and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"--feature Vincent Price in the starring r… (more)

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