Monday, January 19, 2009

Tales of Terror

In honor of the bicentenial of Edgar Allan Poe's birth let us examing this Roger Corman classic. The three tales here are not true adaptations as such but rather a reworking by my man Richard Matheson who certainly has more respect for the master's work than most are prepared to give him credit for. Alas, Corman yells for a script and you give it to him, usually right there and then I gather and while he too is an admirer of Poe deadlines and budgets are what they are. The first tale is the weakest, a rather poor rendition of Morella which allows Vincent Price to snarl and play the cranky old git. Moving on we encounter the true gem of this picture. Price and Peter Lorre square off in the humorous amalgamation of THE BLACK CAT and THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO and is simply fantastic even if slightly blasphemous to Poe puritans. The scene where Price and Joyce Jameson play catch with Lorre's head is a classic. The third segment, has Price under the spell of Basil Rathbone in THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR. Special effects slightly detract from the ending but this is still one of the better AIP offerings and fine viewing on any January 19th.


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