This classic features some serious heavy hitters: Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre and Roger Corman!
Beautiful. There’s a reason classic movie posters are so popular, they are just so much fun to look at. Here we have three icons of the silver screen, like the Mount Rushmore of horror each with a slightly different expression.
The smaller pictures on the poster nicely hint at whats to come, a spooky old mansion, a rotting corpse that seems to be reaching out to us, and a woman in bondage visited by two men. Is she the beautiful woman in the main part of the poster? Let’s find out!
The movie is a series of three short stories based on tales by Edgar Allen Poe. In each Price plays a different character.
The first and last stories involve forms of the living dead. The first, the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth returning to attack her husband. The third a man trapped in a purifying corpse unable to pass on who rises to destroy his tormentor.
If you like the gothic horror and all the fun visuals and trappings that go with it you’ll love this. The clothes, the mansion, the giant spiders and candles etc. It’s the foundation of all our most popular Halloween imagery.
There are some pretty fun little bits in this movie. A shadow passing over a set of winding stairs reminiscent of Nosferatu, Corman’s brilliant makeup and visual effects and the acting from each performer. Though it will seem more like something from a stage play than a movie, it’s still fun.
All the copies I was able to find had a horrible robotic tone to them as a result of their digital transfer or the sites I saw them on? I’m not sure. It’s not the movies’ fault at all but if you are looking for this online you might find it a bit annoying.
As with a lot of stories like this there is a lot to baffle the mind in terms of sheer logic. In the first story, Price’s character does some ridiculous things. He may have been drunk the entire time but still, his reactions are so slow and overdone at times to seem a bit too much. His daughter dies and he doesn’t seek help, just leaves her there. Then she seems to revive, and he just covers her up. Then she starts moving. Do something man! This is Boston, not the boondocks. Get help! When he knocks over an oil lamp the old house goes up lickety split. It’s crazy how fast the place goes up. And yeah I know it’s just a visual depiction but it’s the sort of thing that a lot of people are going to look at and say “Yeah, I don’t think so.”
This movie is an absolute product of its time so a lot of the trappings of the time don’t really fit with modern sensibilities. The dry ice fog on the ground, the staged look to things and the goofy drama and unrealistic gore.
These are the things of kids’s stories today.
But even though I see this as a real drawback and distraction for most modern viewers, I think anyone with a love for the genre or for story telling in general will see this as a slice of the style from the time.