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The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

Not Rated | | Comedy , Horror | 22 January 1964 (USA)
Dishonest undertaker Waldo Trumbull and his sidekick Felix Gillie are creating their own customers when they cannot find willing ones.


Jacques Tourneur


Richard Matheson (screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Waldo Trumbull
Peter Lorre ... Felix Gillie
Boris Karloff ... Amos Hinchley
Joyce Jameson ... Amaryllis Trumbull
Joe E. Brown ... Cemetery Keeper
Beverly Powers Beverly Powers ... Mrs. Phipps (as Beverly Hills)
Basil Rathbone ... Mr. John F. Black
Alan DeWitt Alan DeWitt ... Riggs
Buddy Mason Buddy Mason ... Mr. Phipps
Douglas Williams Douglas Williams ... Doctor
Linda Rogers Linda Rogers ... Phipps' Maid
Luree Holmes Luree Holmes ... Black's Servant
Orangey ... Cleopatra (as Rhubarb)


Waldo Trumbull, an undertaker who hasn't had any 'customers' in a long time is forced the pay one year's back-rent. To get money he starts to kill people in order to get new clients. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every shroud has a silver lining! See more »


Comedy | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

22 January 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Graveside Story See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alta Vista Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Completed September 1963. See more »


Peter Lorre's stunt double is quite obvious - he's clearly a younger man (with longer, darker hair), wearing a Lorre mask. See more »


Waldo Trumbull: [gesturing toward the body of Mr. Phipps] I'm afraid, madam, he has made his final journey towards that stygian shore.
Mrs. Phipps: [blankly] What?
Waldo Trumbull: [pause, then sharply] He's dead.
See more »


References The Court Jester (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Fun black comedy with four sensational veteran actors who supply entertainment and amusement
11 April 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Fun horror /comedy with an exceptional quartet who provides much fun : Price , Karloff , Lorre and Rathbone . Amusing , delightful film produced by American International , James H. Nicholson-Samuel Z. Arkoff , with a monumental team of terror all-star-cast as Price , Lorre and Karloff . This supreme adventure in terror and humor based on the novel and screenplay by Richard Matheson deals with two deranged undertakers (Vincent Price and Peter Lorre) who take bad ways to insuring their continued employment , a Funeral Parlor called ¨Wichley and Trumbull¨. A lugubrious undertaker who hasn't had any customers in a long time is obligated the pay one year's back-rent by his landlord (Basil Rathbone) . Then the wickedest undertaker Waldo Trumbull and his unfortunate , frog-like associated named Felix Gillie to get money and both of whom begin killing people in order to get new clients . The couple goes to a mansion in Winkle Road inhabited by an old man and carry out their objective . There also appears Price's chalk-white father-in-law (Boris Karloff) aged about 90 , but refusing to die and leave Waldo the Funeral Parlor . Trade is so bad that Waldo and his underling have to go out and boost business by killing his immortal landlord . It gets funnier when our two friends pitting wills against the relieved landlord . And the end takes place a funny duel between Price and Rathbone.

This is more of a satire than a true terror movie , it is immaculately staged , stylishly realized , very literate , rich in atmosphere , confidently made and plenty of eye-popping scenes . May be one of the most successful terror farce ever realized with a considerable all-star-cast and original invention . Terror has strangely been more skillfully spoofed than in this agreeable horror/comedy Jacques Tourneur directed and realized in glorious fashion . The movie is realized in the same style to the successful adaptation Edgar Allen Poe series , the cycle of ¨Tales of Terror¨ , and especially ¨The Raven¨ also with the trio Price,Lorre,Karloff directed by Roger Corman and produced by James H Nicholson and Samuel Z Arkoff . For that reason packs usual Corman's striking scenarios including lugubrious mansions , colorful atmosphere , shrieks come from gloomy coffins and gleeful gallery of ghoulishness . Glimmer cinematography in magnificence color by the series usual , Floyd Crosby . Frightening and atmospheric musical score fitting to humor and horror by Les Baxter .

The flick based on Richard Matheson's screenplay playing to the spectator in amusing fashion . In spite of his poverty-budget horror is deemed a minor cult and gave enough profit from minimal inversion . The motion picture is produced by American International (James H Nicholson , Samuel Z. Arkoff) in a low budget and well directed by the classic director Jacques Tourneur in his final feature along with 'Curse of the demon' . He was an expert on terror cinema (Cat people , Curse of the demon , I walked with a Zombie , Leopard man) and adventures (Martin the Gaucho , Flame and the arrow , The pirate woman , City under the sea) . Despite the excessive satire most children and adults will like this enormously fun film . 'Comedy of terrors' is a sensational black comedy that maintains its classicism and reaching impressive dimensions . It will appeal to youngsters and adults who swallow whole and sit convulsed in their armchair and of course Vincent Price , Karloff , Lorre fans.

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