Decent horror anthology - don't miss the 3rd segment!
Decent anthology horror movie. I saw the Cinefear Video of it, which is the English- dubbed Master of Horror version, but with the "Tell-Tale Heart" segment (also English- dubbed) edited back in, apparently from Something Weird Video's tape of Legend of Horror (1972).
The wraparound story is very slight: a maid is alone in a house during a lightning storm, and reads to herself from an Edgar Allen Poe book. She gets startled by a phone call, a cat, and a mouse. That's it!
The first story, "The Case of Mr. Valdemar," was the least interesting to me. The story has been adapted in two other horror anthologies: Tales of Terror (1962) and George Romero's segment in Due occhi diabolici (1990). Before we get to Valdemar, the mesmerist tries to help a young woman who has been in a state of shock. He has mixed results. Later, when we get to the expected corpse, it is actually fairly gruesome.
"The Cask of Amontillado" was better, I think, but still not great. (Also found in Tales of Terror, mixed with another story, The Black Cat.) A salesman comes to a winemaking town on a day of celebration, and takes a room - and takes up with his host's wife. I was in for a little surprise at the end; either I forgot part of the original story, or a slight change was made.
Anyone who saw the American version with only the above two segments was cheated. "The Tell-Tale Heart," the third segment, was the best part. It is at times deliriously weird, and certainly horrific. The characters are much more intense, and the camerawork is much more interesting. It departs from the story somewhat, giving us more backstory.
A young man appears at a store (selling mostly, but not exclusively, clocks) run by a hideous, cruel, miserly old man. He has a letter of introduction indicating he is the old man's nephew and needs room and board. The old man isn't interested, but accedes when the young man promises to work in the shop and not be a freeloader. He
befriends a young crippled boy the old man had been mistreating. He has some trouble sleeping, since the clocks tick all night long, and the various cuckoo clocks go off as usual. The young man talks curiously about perfection, and we start to wonder about him. The film story ends much like Poe's, but there are some surprises on the way that (I think) are still in keeping with Poe's style.
This movie can be recommended for the third segment. Without it, I wouldn't bother.
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