When you've got Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, and Peter Lorre all in the same movie, how can you go wrong? Tales of Terror is a trio of Edgar Allen Poe stories, starring three of horror's greats and produced and directed... more » by the immortal Roger Corman. The first story, "Morella," involves a girl (Debra Paget) who returns to her isolated, spooky family home to see her estranged father (Price) for the first time in 26 years. He's let the housekeeping slide a bit--cobwebs abound and, oh, yes, his dead wife is still upstairs. Peter Lorre joins the fun for "The Black Cat," a piece with comic flavor that allows Price to show his rarely seen silly side, and then it's Basil Rathbone's turn to be creepy in "The Case of M. Valdemar," the tale of a mesmerist who decides to experiment with the unknown (bad idea). The movie is well paced, and makes good use of comedy without undercutting its chills. It's a rare treat to see this many masters of the genre working together and so clearly enjoying themselves. Don't miss it. --Ali Davis« less
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 10/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by the venerable king of quality low-budget filmmaking, Roger Corman, and scripted by the prolific and popular SF and horror writer Richard Matheson, TALES OF TERROR is comprised of three vignettes based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The incomparable Vincent Price stars in all three, with Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone each co-starring (separately, alas) in one of the others. Any knowledgeable horror fans should be nearly euphoric after reading the credentials behind this flick--and they won't be disappointed!The first story is based on Poe's "Morella," but Corman and Matheson take great liberties to make the tale darker and scarier than the original. Unfortunately, the altered plot and its resolution (?) are a bit hard to follow, and it is therefore the weaker of the three plays.The second--and best!--vignette, "The Black Cat" is actually a composite of Poe's story of the same name and his "The Cask of Amontillado." Peter Lorre hilariously hams it up as the cuckolded Montresor Herringbone, and Vincent Price is also a riot as Herringbone's nemesis, Fortunato. In spite of the humor, however, there are still plenty of chills when Lorre builds a wall around his "problems."The final vignette, based on Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," features the wonderful Basil Rathbone as the hypnotist who uses his powers to put the titular character, Valdemar (portrayed by Price), in a sort of limbo between life and death. Again, Corman and Matheson have taken liberties with the original story (e.g., making the hypnotist malevolent and self-serving), but this time it's to great effect, as Rathbone makes a delightfully devilish villain. The make-up job on Price in the final scene is pretty creepy, too, in spite of the film's low-budget effects. Good old-fashioned frights in this one.The DVD edition of TALES OF TERROR is short on extras (trailer only)--it would've been great to have a Corman commentary on this one, which many of the other MGM releases of Corman's films DO have--but seeing this film in widescreen makes it well worth the reasonable cost. A worthy addition to any fan of classic horror."
Shaun333 | 06/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a fan of Vincent Price and Peter Lorre for that matter, this was just priceless (no pun intended). Aside from Peter Lorre not aging well at all, this just makes his "tale" all the more realistic.
The first tale is called Morella where Vincent Price blames his visiting daughter for the death of his wife. Yet there is a twist to the story regarding the daughter. Really well done.The second tale is The Black Cat with Peter Lorre as the main character here in one of the best parts I've seen him play.
He puts pathetic, mean and humorous into one role and is hysterical doing the classic wine testing scene with Vincent Price. I was truly laughing out loud. The facial expressions that Price has in this one when acting with Lorre are worth this DVD alone.The third and last tale is the scariest in my view. It is called the Case of M. Valdemar where Basil Rathbone plays a man who tries to gain control over a dying Vincent Price. This is a pretty scary one, and Rathbone completes his role nicely.The ladies in these tales (Maggie Pierce, Joyce Jameson and Debra Paget) are all absolutely stunning. You just can't compare the beauty of that day with today. Get this DVD, especially if you like Price and Lorre....not to mention Poe. I promise you it is something you will watch over and over again."
Legends on parade
Bob | Boston | 09/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Roger Corman directs this trilogy of terror starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone. Corman blends weird color schemes with a wide variety of visual effects and startling closeups to make the most of a limited budget. The script was written by Richard Matheson based on Poe's tales. With this cast, there is no reason to mention the acting other than to point out that Price is featured prominently in all three shorts and given a chance to explore his acting talent. He measures up to the task 100%, especially in the humorous drinking scenes. Lorre and Rathbone are consumate professionals who at this point in their careers were comfortable with this type of role.The DVD itself features a crisp transfer that maintains all the bright colors and visual effects, however the only extra is the trailer. There are no audio commentaries from Corman or anyone else involved, but this is probably because the DVD is priced for sell thru.The image of Debra Paget laying dead for twenty-five years in her bed is now immortal thanks to Famous Monsters Magazine.Highly recommended."
Mark McKinney | Maryland | 06/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vincent Price stars in three shorts all based on Edgar Allen Poe stories. This was the first of the Roger Corman - Poe films I ever saw and it left an impact on me. Morella is the opening story and I feel it is the best and the one that is most like the rest of Corman's Poe films. Price is good at riding on the edge insanity while livng in a cob web covered house with his dead wife louning in a back room waiting to rise. Peter Lorre shows up in the Black Cat which is a combination of that story and the Cask of Amontillado. This entry is one of those horror - comedies that is very similiar to Corman's Raven. Price and Lorre both have some fine moments in this film including the dream sequence where Lorre's head is being tossed around like a ball. The Case of M.Valdemar comes last and this one has Basil Rathbone doing scientific experiments with Vincent Price with the expected ghastly results. Price has to were some gooey make-up in this one that was hot when they put it on. Price does great at playing a victim in these three different stories and there are some good people in the supporting cast. This one has the standards you expect in one of Corman's - Poe films, we have castles, corpses and killings."
The Sweet Die-and-Die
Robert E. Rodden II | Peoria, IL. United States | 02/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may be just about the best DVD in my collection. It's certainly one of my favorites. I saw this movie when I was about nine years old in the local Rialto Theater; a special Halloween weekend showing. They did things up special that night, with spiders and skeletons hanging from the ceiling, and theater attendents running around in rubber masks. The theater was old, and elegant, and dignified, and they tore her down for a parking lot. But my fond memories of seeing this fun movie in that theater are still strong with me. And this DVD transfer is superior in quality. Tales is presented in its original wide-wide screen ratio. The colors, images and sounds of this digital transfer are incredibly crip and vivid. This movie is indeed a treasure to Vincent Price/Roger Corman fans. The cast is without a doubt the finest, with Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone, and the ever sexy and competent Joyce Jameson (she would the following year (1963) play the same demure, wounded wife with Price, Lorre, and Rathbone in A Comedy of Terrors, available in VHS). The only extra is the original Theatrical Trailer, but don't let that stop you. Extras are fine, but it's really the movie, presented in the best possible manner, that a collector should be after. A movie can be watched time and time again, but extras get boring after two or three viewings. This movie is like a living, breathing Halloween party you can watch all year round, with not-too-spooky chills, and tongue in cheek horror. There are plenty of laughs, and a good dose of horror."