6.9/10
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Tales of Terror (1962)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Horror, Mystery | 18 December 1962 (Italy)
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Three tales of terror involve a grieving widower and the daughter he abandoned; a drunkard and his wife's black cat; and a hypnotist who prolongs the moment of a man's death.

Director:

Roger Corman

Writers:

Richard Matheson (screenplay), Edgar Allan Poe (based on the stories by)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Locke / Fortunato Luchresi / Ernest Valdemar
Maggie Pierce ... Lenora (segment "Morella")
Leona Gage ... Morella (segment "Morella")
Peter Lorre ... Montresor (segment "The Black Cat")
Joyce Jameson ... Annabel (segment "The Black Cat")
Basil Rathbone ... Carmichael (segment "The Case of M. Valdemar")
Debra Paget ... Helene (segment "The Case of M. Valdemar")
David Frankham David Frankham ... Dr. James (segment "The Case of M. Valdemar")
Lennie Weinrib Lennie Weinrib ... Policeman (segment "The Black Cat")
Wally Campo Wally Campo ... Barman Wilkins (segment "The Black Cat")
Alan DeWitt Alan DeWitt ... Chairman of Wine Society (segment "The Black Cat") (as Alan DeWit)
John Hackett John Hackett ... Policeman (segment "The Black Cat")
Edmund Cobb ... Driver (segment "Morella") (as Ed Cobb)
Scott Brown Scott Brown ... Servant (segment "The Case of M. Valdemar")
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Storyline

Three stories adapted from the work of Edgar Allen Poe. A man and his daughter are reunited, but the blame for the death of his wife hangs over them, unresolved. A derelict challenges the local wine-tasting champion to a competition, but finds the man's attention to his wife worthy of more dramatic action. A man dying and in great pain agrees to be hypnotized at the moment of death, with unexpected consequences. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Trilogy of Shock and Horror!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1962 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Virginia, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,500,000, 31 December 1962
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alta Vista Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Pathé Colour)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the story "The Black Cat", Vincent Price based his character of Fortunado on Ernie Kovacs's television character Percy Dovetonsils. See more »

Goofs

When Morella takes control of Lenora's body, as Vincent Price walks up the last time before the reveal, you can see a red backstage light in the "window." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Driver: Ma'am, I have to get back to Boston.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Anti-Disney
6 October 2002 | by telegonusSee all my reviews

This Roger Corman adaptation of three Edgar Allan Poe stories is fun to watch, hard to take too seriously. The first tale, Morella, is the most sombre, featuring Vincent Price mourning the death of his wife, for which he blames his young daughter. It's short and quite dramatic. The second story, The Black Cat, is an amiable mess, featuring Price and Peter Lorre. It has some agreeable humor, especially in its wine tasting scenes, and has some evocative nineteenth century street and tavern sets. The final tale, Facts In the Case Of M. Valdemar, features Price as a dying man whose consciousness but not body is kept alive by a scheming mesmerist, played by Basil Rathbone. This one ends on a note of pure horror, and is nearest to Poe in its mood and ideas.

Screenwriter Richard Matheson did a reasonable job of adapting Poe, and Corman was probably wise to emphasize jokes in the middle tale, as Poe was one grim, death-haunted writer, and each of these stories is a meditation on death and the tricks it plays on us. Perhaps to compensate somewhat for the morbidity of the stories, Corman emphasizes bright colors throughout, as the decor and costumes are quite attractive, almost garish at times. The actors are fine, the older ones especially, though Maggie Pierce in Morella is quite good, if too contemporary in looks and voice.

I can't resist a few sociological comments on the Corman-Poe cycle of films of the early sixties. Tales Of Terror came out in 1962, the high noon of the New Frontier. This was a time of optimism and social change, the start of the space program and the Civil Rights movement, and yet in the middle of it all there was this series of low budget horror films, aimed mostly at children and teenagers, and quite unwholesome in atmosphere and subject matter. These weren't even monster movies, like the horrors of old, they were morbid movies about death, torture, witchcraft and premature burials. They were like anti-Disney films, with Price, Lorre and Rathbone instead of MacMurray, Brian Keith and Dorothy McGuire. If in Disney nothing really bad ever happened, in Corman-Poe nothing really good ever happened. Disney represented the smiling surface of America, while Corman-Poe hinted as anxieties just below the surface, and as such, sad to say, portents of things to come.


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