Three horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the first story titled "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Heidegger attempts to restore the youth of himself, his fiancee ...
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An American writer goes to a remote Welsh manor on a twenty thousand dollar bet: can he write a classic novel like "Wuthering Heights" in twenty-four hours? Upon his arrival, however, the ... See full summary »
Three horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the first story titled "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Heidegger attempts to restore the youth of himself, his fiancee and his best friend. In "Rappaccini's Daughter", Vincent Price plays a demented father inoculating his daughter with poison so she may never leave her garden of poisonous plants. In the final story "The House of the Seven Gables", the Pyncheon family suffers from a hundred year old curse and the Pyncheon brother returns to his home to search for a hidden vault.Written by
Dylan Conner, Donna Jolly
Nathaniel Hawthorne is not Edgar Allan Poe. His stories do contain elements of horror and terror, but much of it is fodder for the religious symbolism that tears through much of his work. That being said, some will find the three tales used in Twice-Told Tales comparitively slow to those of Poe. What they lack in speed, however, they more than make up for in thematic exploration, symbolic meanings, and suspenseful pacing. The first story is Dr. Heidegger's experiment. Vincent Price and Sebastion Cabot play two very old friends that get together on the good doctor's birthday. Both men talk about the harsh realities of growing old, but Cabot talks of his growing old more as a means to be with the one he loved so many years ago, the woman who died on their day to be wed, and now reposes in a crypt nearby outside. A storm opens the crypt, the two men investigate and find that the body of the girl has not aged at all thanks to some trickling water that seems to keep it in its natural state upon death. The doctor takes the water and experiments with its powers on himself, his friend, and the corpse. The end result becomes Hawthorne's look at human beings...given a second chance. Would they change or do the things that brought them unhappiness any different? The story, although changed greatly from the original Hawthorne story, is visualized very nicely with Price turning in one of his more subtle performances and Cabot doing a splendid job. The second story is Rappicinni's Daughter. It tells of a girl that has been altered by her scientist father to not touch any living thing. This way she will always be pure....innocent of the evils of men and, in particular, unknown to the touch of men. The story is highly symbolic and beautifully directed. Price plays the scientist who specializes in plants of unknown origins. A well-crafted selection to be sure. The third story is easily the weakest because it tries cramming a novel into an anthology sized space. The House of the Seven Gables tells of sins of a past family against another and how these sins have been borne by the family manse. Some of the special effects here are rather good, but the acting by Richard Denning and Beverly Garland is not so good. Price carries the segment with his slightly over-the-top performance and a real acting gem is given by Jacqueline de Wit as his sister. All in all, the three tales are very representative of Hawthorne's unique vision, his religious background, and taut narration. This is a good film, but it's not a Poe film...once that is realized maybe some viewers can appreciate it on its own merits rather than a constant intentional or unintentional comparison to the king of horror.
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