Twice-Told Tales (1963) Poster

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Tell me again!
BrandtSponseller24 February 2005
This is a compilation of three short films based on Nathaniel Hawthorne works--Heidegger's Experiment, Rappaccini's Daughter and The House of Seven Gables. All feature Vincent Price in a lead role. In Heidegger's Experiment, Dr. Carl Heidegger (Sebastian Cabot), obsessed with his deceased fiancée for 38 years, discovers a possible fountain of youth. But will restored youth bring happiness? In Rappaccini's Daughter, Professor Rappaccini (Price) discovers a "treatment" that will prevent his daughter from committing or being subjected to the same evils as his wife. And in The House of Seven Gables, a 150-year-old injustice leads to a unshakable curse.

First, a "warning" of sorts to potential viewers who are not acclimated to films of bygone eras. When compared to modern horror such as Saw (2004), Twice-Told Tales is relatively slow, talky, stagy, and uneventful. It may even be relatively slow, talky, stagy and uneventful compared to many films of its era. That doesn't mean it isn't a good film. But if you're not acclimated to the style, it takes some getting used to.

It's definitely worth getting used to, because these three short films by director Sidney Salkow are atmospheric, captivating stories, full of horror if you are able to slow yourself down and be absorbed by them. The film's fine technical elements--the sets, costumes, cinematography, lighting, music and so on--help draw one in to the proceedings.

As with most Hawthorne, the stories have strong moral subtexts, often hinging on just deserts for questionable ethical decisions, which are often themselves made with an aim of protecting ethical "purity" in some way. Or in other words, a few bad decisions combined with trying to do the "right thing" often leads to horrifying situations due to a kind of karmic retribution--basically kicking oneself in the bum. There are occasionally innocent parties--such as Rappaccini's daughter, but they tend to be few and far between. Speaking of Rappaccini's Daughter, it's interesting to note that this could easily count as an early sci-fi tale from Hawthorne.

For horror fans, the most important aspect of the film is that Twice-Told Tales' scenarios are macabre and frequently terrifying. Although you certainly shouldn't expect gore in a film like this, there are a few skeletons, crispy critters and a surprising amount of blood in one segment. But gore in itself doesn't necessarily produce the feeling of being horrified, which is more a sinking feeling in the pit of one's stomach at the realization that everything has suddenly gone to hell. Although I agree that gore wouldn't hurt (I'm a big Fangoria fan, too), what creates the horrific in Twice-Told Tales are the impeccably established characters and relationships followed by tragic changes in their relationships. Salkow and the cast slowly but flawlessly build tension in this way, and all of the segments have wonderfully nihilistic endings. Only the House of Seven Gables offers a slight glimpse of hope at the end.

Twice-Told Tales isn't the first compilation film or even the first horror compilation film, but it is one of the earlier, better and influential examples. Salkow's impact on horror wasn't to end here, as he went on to co-direct the excellent Price vehicle The Last Man on Earth in 1964, which was a big influence on subsequent films such as 28 Days Later (2002). He also directed a few episodes of "The Addams Family", before finishing out his career with a few westerns.
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Unusual Vincent Price trilogy
funkyfry6 November 2002
Excellent little drive-in thriller thinly disguised as a literary adaption. Seeing all-time screen scream queen Beverly Garland share the screen with the master Vincent Price is a joy to fans of hammy acting everywhere! Richard Denning is also there with very strange hair and his usual straight mannerisms.

Some pretty weird, morbid tales, done with some intelligence while still giveing lots of opportunities for gore of the hanging skeleton variety. I especially liked the second story, with the killer plant, as I thought it was a refreshing idea and that the colors in the garden were quite nice. A worthy competitor to AIP's other excellent trilogies of terror.
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Great old horror film!
HeinziX25 July 2002
I may not be very objective in reviewing this movie, because I've seen it for the first time when I was young and was very impressed then, an impression, which one doesn't forget of course... I still love it, each time when I see it again, because of the three intelligent stories (one about an elixir of life and a tragic love triangle, one about a poison which separates two lovers, and one about a haunted house), which of course in view of the movie's age don't contain splatter elements but unfold a subtle horror and especially because of the atmosphere with the wonderful kitschy set and colors, which gives the movie, beside of the dated special effects, the typical and irresistible charm of old trash...
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Excellent sixties omnibus
The_Void8 January 2006
Twice-Told Tales is a trio of horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each story stars horror maestro Vincent Price, and this allows the man to show his range in a series of different roles throughout the film. All of Price's roles allow him to show his dark side, but it's the way that he is allowed to show this that makes each one stand out. Vincent Price is my favourite horror actor, and he's arguably the best ever. The fact that he stars in each segment of this film is reason enough alone to see it. The fact that every tale is good is another one. In true omnibus style, the first story is the least memorable; but it's still well worth seeing. We follow two friends who discover a virgin spring in the crypt of one of their loves. This story is good because it follows the ever-present dream of ever-lasting life. The way that the plot builds is somewhat predictable, but still good as we get to see the great horror master turn his performance around from do-gooder to something more sinister. Not the best opener to an omnibus film; but a long way from the worst.

The second story is by far the best and, in a way, it's a shame that this story was a part of the omnibus. The second tale is a fairytale horror story of love, protection and madness and follows the tale of an overbearing father that takes steps to ensure that his daughter doesn't sin like her mother did. This story is a variation on the classic 'Romero and Julliet' story, and takes in all the tragedy of that tale by its conclusion. Tale number two is highly original and would make this film worth viewing even if the other two tales were absolute rubbish (which, of course, they're not). The third and final segment is the weakest of the trio, but still manages an excellent Gothic style and a solid story. The reason it's the weakest is mainly because it's really slow; but once it gets started, this tale of greed, witchcraft and murder provides a satisfying end to this trio of stories. With a running time of two hours, Twice-Told Tales is a very long omnibus; and it could have done with being a bit shorter. However, this doesn't harm it too much, and if you're a fan of sixties horror, and/or Vincent Price, this will be a must see.
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Three Timeless Horror Tales with Vincent Price
claudio_carvalho2 November 2012
"Twice-Told Tales" is a movie composed of three timeless shorts based on horror tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne with Vincent Price.

(1) "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment": In 1859, Alex Medbourne (Vincent Price) and Dr. Carl Heidigger (Sebastian Cabot) have been best friends for decades. Carl has been grieving the loss of his beloved bride Sylvia Ward (Mari Blanchard) for thirty-eight years, on the eve of their wedding, and misses her. In a stormy night, her crypt opens and Carl and Alex find her corpse preserved. Carl notes a drop of liquid on her coffin and he collects a sample. Carl discovers that the water is a virgin spring and he restores his and Alex's youths. Further, he resurrects Sylvia with the water and plans to immediately marry her. However, he discovers a dark secret about Alex and his beloved Sylvia.

This is a tragic and dramatic story about the dream of the fountain of youth and restoration of the eternal youth, obsession and betrayal, with great special effects for a 1963 movie.

(2) "Rappaccini's Daughter": In Padua, the young Giovanni Guasconti (Brett Halsey) meets the gorgeous Beatrice Rappaccini (Joyce Taylor) in the garden and they immediately fall in love for each other. However, Giovanni learns that Beatrice is cursed, poisoning everyone and everything that she touches with her hands. Further, she was inoculated with a potion of poisonous plants by her insane father, the brilliant scientist Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini (Vincent Price) that wants to avoid that she makes the same mistakes her mother did, abandoning him. Giovanni meets Dr. Giacomo and opens his heart about his love for Beatrice, and the scientist promises to let him be closed to Beatrice forever.

This is another tragic and dramatic story about impossible love and madness visibly inspired in "Romeo and Juliet".

(3) "The House of the Seven Gables": In 1841, Gerald Pyncheon (Vincent Price) arrives with his wife Alice Pyncheon (Beverly Garland) to The House of the Seven Gables, where Gerald's sister Hannah Pyncheon (Jacqueline deWit) lives. The Pyncheon family has been cursed for one hundred and fifty years, when the blacksmith Mathew Maulle (Floyd Simmons) was murdered and buried below the house. Gerald comes to the house to seek a vault with the family fortune, and Alice is haunted by ghosts in the moment that she arrives in the house.

This is another tragic story of greed, injustice and curse, with an ambitious man returning to the family house and awaking powerful forces from the past.

My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Nos Domínios do Terror" ("In the Domain of the Terror")

Note: On 12 April 2015, I saw this movie again.
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Under-Rated Horror Gem
BaronBl00d2 April 2002
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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For Price Fans
utgard1424 December 2013
Trio of horror stories based on works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The first story is "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," about two elderly friends, Dr. Carl Heidegger (Sebastian Cabot) and Alex Medbourne (Vincent Price) who discover magical water that they use to become young again. Heidegger decides to use the water on the corpse of his long-dead love Sylvia (Mari Blanchard), with surprising results. The second story is "Rappaccini's Daughter." Giovanni Guasconti (Brett Halsey) falls in love with beautiful Beatrice Rappaccini (Joyce Taylor) at first sight. Beatrice is the daughter of scientist Giacomo Rappaccini (Vincent Price) and, much to Giovanni's horror, her father has injected her with plant toxins that make her deadly to touch. The third, and most famous, story is "The House of the Seven Gables." Gerald Pyncheon (Vincent Price) returns to his ancestral home with his new bride (Beverly Garland). Ignoring warnings of a family curse he scours the house looking for a treasure reportedly buried somewhere inside.

All of these stories are loosely adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne stories. The segments are of varying quality but they are all watchable and enjoyable enough. The first story is probably my favorite, helped in large part by Sebastian Cabot's sensitive portrayal of Heidegger. The second is my least favorite and the third is OK. Price is in all three and, as usual, is excellent. Price was also in the 1940 film adaptation of "The House of Seven Gables." It was far superior to this version so please check it out if you can. Twice-Told Tales is an enjoyable time-killer but nothing exceptional. Vincent Price fans will love it more than most.
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3 is the charm!
lee_eisenberg9 August 2005
In "Twice-Told Tales", Vincent Price does what he does best: be mysterious. He appears in three macabre stories. In the first, he plays a man helping another man try to resurrect his dead fiancée. In the second, he plays a man who has a most unusual relationship with his plants. In the third...well, let's just say that there's a dark old house (you can figure it out from there).

I try to imagine being a horny teenager going to see these movies back when they were first released. This would have been the perfect movie to see while on a date with a girl. Thank God that even in the darkest days of "family fun", you could always count on Vincent Price!
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Vincent Price shines in this solid and satisfying horror anthology
Woodyanders17 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Vincent Price stars in three effectively eerie and engrossing tales of terror based on the short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne. First and most touching vignette, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" - Price and Sebastian Cabot are superb as a couple of elderly old friend physicians who discover the secret of immortality in this thoughtful and moving meditation on death, aging and mortality. The gorgeous Mari Blanchard is radiant and ravishing as Cabot's deceased wife who's resurrected from the grave. Second and most original segment, "Rappaccini's Daughter" - The strikingly comely Joyce Taylor is enchanting as Beatrice, a lovely young lass with a lethal poisonous touch. Brett Halsey is likewise charming as the nice young man who falls in love with Beatrice while Price delivers a marvelously hateful turn as Beatrice's domineering and overprotective father. Third and most horrific episode, "The House of the Seven Gables" - Price hams it up nicely as a wicked wealthy swine who returns to a creepy crumbling family mansion that has a 150 year old curse on it to find a buried hidden fortune. Beverly Garland as Price's fetching wife, Richard Denning as a dashing, handsome rival and especially Jacqueline de Wit as Price's greedy sister lend sturdy support in this shockingly violent and gruesome yarn. Capably directed by Sydney Salkow (who reteamed with Price for the excellent "The Last Man on Earth"), with an intelligent and elegant script by Robert E. Kent, a spare, shivery score by Richard LaSalle, vibrant, richly saturated bright color cinematography by Ellis W. Carter, plenty of brooding, eerie, melancholy atmosphere (the second story is particularly sad and haunting), a slow, stately pace and uniformly fine acting from a tip-top cast, this fright feature overall rates as a solid and satisfying omnibus outing.
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Three times the terror.
Hey_Sweden30 December 2015
This is a stately, intelligent, three part horror omnibus feature adapted from stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's good enough to compare favourably with the best films in the Price / Roger Corman / A.I.P. series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. The slow pacing and length of the film may not sit well for some people, but others will take delight in the atmosphere, the performances, the story telling, and all the trappings of the genre. This also benefits from some decent special effects and capable direction by Sidney Salkow (who also guided star Vincent Price in "The Last Man on Earth").

In "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Price stars with Sebastian Cabot as they play elderly friends Alex Medbourne and Dr. Carl Heidegger. One dark and stormy night, they enter the crypt of Carls' long dead wife Sylvia Ward (Mari Blanchard), who is restored to life and youth by some miraculous, strange liquid seeping into the crypt. It also restores youth to Alex and Carl when they sample the liquid, but there are consequences for their actions - as well as some secrets that will be exposed. The single most enjoyable aspect of this segment is Cabots' wonderful, heartfelt performance.

Price plays Giacomo Rappaccini in "Rappaccini's Daughter". In addition to his lovely daughter Beatrice (Joyce Taylor), Giacomo has a rather lush garden - and Beatrice has something in common with the dangerous plants and flowers in this garden. Well intentioned young Giovanni Guasconti (Brett Halsey) yearns to be her suitor, but Giacomo seeks to interfere. This portion of the picture can boast a clever and interesting premise.

Price is the villain, Gerald Pyncheon, in an abbreviated version of "The House of the Seven Gables". (23 years earlier, he'd played the hero in a feature length adaptation of this story.) Gerald and his younger wife Alice (Beverly Garland) arrive at the family home so he can search for the treasures hidden on the premises. Alice is witness to supernatural phenomena and learns of a feud between the Pyncheon and Maulle clans. Handsome Richard Denning co-stars as the heroic Jonathan Maulle. Garland is very appealing, and Price has fun just as he always did with his villainous roles.

Fans of old school horror, anthologies, and the actors involved will likely have a good time with "Twice-Told Tales". While Salkow and company dare to take their time with the pacing, patient viewers will be pleased with the results.

Eight out of 10.
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Worth seeing, but the disappointing last third brings things down
TheLittleSongbird31 October 2012
So what was my main attraction to Twice-Told Tales? Vincent Price, one of my favourite actors and one who brings 100% no matter what the movie is like. Nathaniel Hawthorne is another good reason also. I actually enjoyed Twice-Told Tales. It does have some sparse production values, has moments where it is very stagy and talky and has ponderous pacing. It is in the third segment The House of the Seven Gables where these problems are especially prominent. The photography, some good effects and the acting, especially from Price, make the segment worth the watch at least, but it felt dull to me and tries to cram far too much in, which undermined the story-telling severely. Thankfully the other two segments really made up for it. On the whole the photography is lush, the dialogue provoking more thought and the stories much more interesting. Sidney Salkow's directing does show signs of efficiency, particularly in Rappacinni's Daughter. I wholly concur with the general consensus that the second segment Rappacinni's Daughter is the best one of the three, it is creepy and atmospheric, the most lush in look, is the most emotionally complex and has a really well-told story(it is also the most faithful to Hawthorne's writing). The first segment Dr. Heidegger's Experiment also has an effectively macabre feel, and I liked its more hopeful ending. The cast are very good in what are essentially examples of ensemble acting. Beverly Garland doesn't have a lot to do but makes the most of it. Richard Denning plays it straight and he is also not so bad. Sebastian Cabot brings to the table a very sympathetic performance, even if he has been better before, his rapport with Price is beautifully and subtly done. Jacqueline De Wit is a joy here, and the best of the support cast for me. Vincent Price is the film's best asset, he commands the screen effortlessly and all three of his roles play to his strengths. Overall, has a weak final third but two thirds of it, especially the second segment, are excellent. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Vincent Price can tell me whatever he wants and how many times he wants!
Coventry17 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Twice-Told Tales" is a wondrously fascinating horror omnibus and probably one of the most underrated genre efforts of the entire sixties. I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't really familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne's writings before (apart from multiple adaptations of "the Scarlet Letter") but, even though he's not as prominent as Edgar Allen Poe or H.P Lovecraft, his stories are pure Gothic goodness and morbidly poetic horror material. Each of the three tales told here are magnificent, albeit slightly suffering from their shortage and I'll definitely continue to look for the long-feature film version of "The House of Seven Gables", as I know it's available somewhere. The first tale; Dr. Heidegger's Experiment, is an atmospheric appetizer handling about an ancient horror topic, namely the search for eternal youth. Life-long friends Alex and Carl fortuitously discover that the water dripping on the coffin of Carl's dead bride contains the power to restore their own youth and even to resurrect the unfortunate Julie. But the revival of old friendships sadly also emerges hidden secrets and forbidden passions from the past. There are some excellent set pieces used in this first episode and the brief use of special effects is well-staged and definitely ahead of its time. Vincent Price shines as the initially reluctant guinea pig and his sudden transformation into deceptive Adonis is believable. Sebastian Cabot and Mary Blanchard are very adequate in their supportive roles. The second story is arguably the best and unquestionably the most ingenious one of the three. "Rappacchini's Daughter" also is one of the few horror tellings that ever managed to frighten me with its content. Price this time stars as the tormented scientist Rappaccini, who pumped his poor daughter Beatrice so full of poison that she absorbs the color and life out of everything she touches. Supposedly to protect her from all the evil in this world, but now the young beauty can't return the honest love of new student in town Giovanni. This particular tale is haunting, saddening and petrifying all at once! No matter how selfish and monstrous the crimes of Price's character are, he's a hurt soul and you're more likely to pity him rather than to loath him. The flower garden, where most of the story is filmed, is truly enchanting and Joyce Taylor is simply mesmerizing as the poor Beatrice. The tragic climax to this tale could have come straight from Shakespeare's repertoire. The third and final tale in this marvelous horror anthology is called "The House of Seven Gables" and revolves on a feud between two families that still lives on after several generations. Gerald Pyncheon and his sister Hannah desperately seek a hidden vault in their family mansion and the only person who knows where it might be located is Jonathan Maule, descendant of the architect who originally designed the house. But Jonathan won't help, because his ancestor was cowardly killed by the Pyncheons for falling in love with the wrong girl. Gerald's attractive wife Alice turns out to be a spiritual link between the two families and able to clear up several ancient mysteries. As mentioned above, this tale suffers the most from being part of an omnibus. The screenplay was adapted from an entire novel and thus a lot of Hawthorne's thoughtful sub plots and character drawings were lost in the 45 minutes tale. Still, it's a very decent 'haunted house' premise with nice scenery and a handful of genuinely suspenseful moments. Vincent Price is at his most fiendish here and there's quite a lot of bloodshed. Perhaps I'm over-rating this film slightly, but it deserves a bit of extra attention! It's a wonderful film, rich on symbolism and Gothic charm and it would be a damn shame if true horror fans let it pass by them.
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Three Times The Price...
azathothpwiggins18 October 2020
TWICE-TOLD TALES is an anthology of three Gothic horror stories, loosely based on the stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each stars Vincent Price.

DR. HEIDEGGER'S EXPERIMENT- The title doctor (Sebastian Cabot) finds his decades-long mourning of his late "new bride" interrupted by his discovery of what appears to be the fountain of youth. Ironically discovered in her tomb, Heidegger and his friend (Price) are both astonished and frightened by their good fortune. What seems like a blessing soon becomes a curse. Filled with treachery and betrayal, this is a nice fear fable.

RAPPACCINI'S DAUGHTER- Beatrice Rappaccini (Joyce Taylor) lives an oddly secluded life with her father (Price), until falling in love with a man (Brett Halsey) who lives nearby. Love blooms, but there's a deadly catch. This one shows the cost of love in a whole new light.

THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES- Gerald Pyncheon (Price) returns to his ancestral home to search for a fortune hidden somewhere on the grounds. Meanwhile, his wife (Beverly Garland) uncovers a ghostly secret to augment the family curse. Greed and death ensue. Mr. Price is particularly good here. Co-stars Richard Denning. A very brisk, entertaining trio of tales. Everyone is great. Price is, as always, amazing!...
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First two stories are good.
beach-1116 October 2000
The second story is the best, but the first one is good. If you watch this movie, do not bother viewing the third one, which is a shortened version of "The House of Seven Gables" with Vincent Price in the villain role [he was the hero in the much superior 1940 version].

Other good things about this movie are the music and the sets [especially in the first tale].
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at least two third satisfying
postmanwhoalwaysringstwice19 February 2003
Episodic films, such as this one are not always winners. At times they feel like there wasn't enough material for a feature, so they kind of flubbed it. I'm mainly thinking of films like "Four Rooms" and others along those lines. I think the horror genre is the exception to this rule(think "Tales from the Crypt" (1972) and "Creepshow" (1982)). With "Twice-Told Tales" there are three stories to enjoy and there's a fair chance that at least two of the three will excite your imagination. The first is a story about friendship, love, and immortality. The third is a variation on the old haunted house seen in many old chillers. The second, and my favorite of the three, is just so twisted I don't know if anything can be said about it to not spoil it for you. Here's an attempt ... it's an extreme version of Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" 'A'. Well worth a look!
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A little long-winded, but worthwhile horror anthology
gridoon20218 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Three-part horror anthology: in the first story, Sebastian Cabot finds what appears to be the elixir of youth, and re-animates his long-dead wife-to-be to boot; some good (for the time) "morphing" effects, and the payoff is both amusing and grim. In the second story (my favorite), Brett Halsey, a university student, falls in love with neighbor beauty Joyce Taylor (who gives a strong, sympathetic performance), but if touches her, he will die! Her father, Vincent Price, has turned her into living poison so that she will never be tempted by "sin". This story is more of a romantic tragedy (ala "Romeo And Juliet") than horror. In the third tale, Vincent Price returns to his (cursed!) ancestral house, determined to find a hidden vault, while his young wife (Beverly Garland, with her exquisite cheekbones) gets weird premonitions, as if someone is trying to communicate with her - from beyond the grave! This story is a little too long and clichéd, but well-done and positively shocking in some spots. Price demonstrates his versatility (playing 3 quite different characters in the same film!), and also provides opening and closing narration for each story, in his inimitable voice. *** out of 4.
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"...has man ever been able to control fate?"
classicsoncall5 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The title seems a little distracting, I imagine it refers to Nathaniel Hawthorne's original works and this Vincent Price adaptation. Hawthorne's writing style was more darkly romantic than overtly macabre, but the transition seems to work well enough. The picture follows an earlier Price trilogy in the prior year's "Tales of Terror". Fans of the actor will probably want to catch both.

Of the three entries, I liked 'Dr. Heidegger's Experiment' the best. Price and Sebastian Cabot portray long time friends who eventually find themselves at odds over Heidegger's fiancé (Mari Blanchard), who died thirty eight years earlier. She's revived by a mysterious mineral water that also acts as a fountain of youth for Heidegger and Alex Medbourne (Price). 'Tales From the Crypt' fans will probably see the ending coming, not very surprising but satisfying enough to conclude this chapter.

"Rappaccini's Daughter" has some creative and novel elements at work, but strains one's credibility to learn that Beatrice (Joyce Taylor) has never ventured outside the garden gate that surrounds her home. The toxic plant business is a bit of a stretch too, making Dr. Rappaccini (Price) it's final victim in this story of unrequited love and it's tragic aftermath.

The third part of the trilogy is a much condensed version of Hawthorne's 'House of the Seven Gables', and mysterious enough to recommend that I get the source material to check it out in novel form. Once Alice Pyncheon's (Beverly Garland) role in the story is established, it takes a fair amount of concentration to follow the family's sordid history. It comes to a rather rushed conclusion, evidenced by some glaring continuity errors. For example, after Gerald Pyncheon (Price once more) discovers the cellar vault, he has the lid to the vault almost back in position, and after a quick cutaway, he's shown with the lid standing up once again about to place it. Then, as the Pyncheon mansion is beginning to implode, Jonathan Maulle (Richard Denning) attempts to remove the same slab, but it's thicker than the one Price's character dealt with. I don't think the ghosts at work in the house would have bothered.

But all in all, not an altogether bad bit of fun for Vincent Price fans. You have to give any actor credit for allowing himself to be killed off so many times for the sake of his craft.
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Twice-Told Tales
Scarecrow-8821 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A trio of tales, all starring Vincent Price, has a virgin spring that returns youth, a scientific experiment which causes an acidic touch, and a hidden vault long sought after somewhere in an old manor deemed cursed. The first tale has Vincent Price as Alex Medbourne, sharing a whiskey with long time friend, Dr. Carl Heidigger (Sebastian Cabot), as the two talk about old times while a thunderstorm stirs outside. Carl has long mourned the loss of his fiancée, Sylvia (Mari Blanchard), not knowing she was having an affair with Alex. Noticing the crypt's door open, Alex and Carl enter to see what's up, where they discover Sylvia's body as if it hadn't aged a day since her death 38 years ago—the reason is a spring that drips from a crack above her casket. Carl and Alex drink from this water and become young again, soon awakening Sylvia from her slumber. As passions reawaken, Carl will discover the betrayal and seek to get even for their sins. The second tale has Vincent Price as an embittered father, Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini, whose wife left him for another man, inflicting his daughter, Beatrice (Joyce Taylor) with an affliction where her touch is acidic, killing anyone or thing instantly. Student Giovanni Guasconti (Brett Halsey) takes a shine to Beatrice and the feelings are mutual but her affliction puts a damper on any idea of romance. Giacomo, who caused Beatrice's affliction as a means to "protect her", will try to appease her after she attempts suicide with tragic consequences. The third tale has Price portraying a scoundrel, Gerald Pyncheon, who has gambled away all his inheritance, returning to his ancestral manor, considered cursed as the past men on his family line have died in a blood-stained chair sitting near a fireplace with a portrait that bleeds from the lips. Alice Pyncheon (Beverly Garland, simply stunning) is Gerald's unhappy wife who seems to be possessed by a ghost who knows things she shouldn't. Jonathan Maulle (Richard Denning), whose family are enemies with the Pyncheons for the thievery of the ancestral home (with Maulle's ancestor said to be buried somewhere in the home), might just know where the vault resides. Alice and Jonathan seem to "connect" as if they know each other with Gerald hoping the two of them will lead him to the vault. Meanwhile Gerald's sister, Hannah (Jacqueline deWit), isn't about to let her brother get the hidden loot all for himself, constantly reminding him of her right to some of the money. In the third tale, Price is at his ghoulish best, quite a vindictive bastard concerned only with securing the missing money, willing to kill anyone who stands in his way. In the first tale, Price is simply a backstabber who seemed to be Carl's friend, for over 40 years, only to hide the fact that he was the one Sylvia truly loved. The second tale provides Price with a bitter character who causes emotional crisis to the daughter he thought he was keeping safe from sin and eventually afflicting the man she loves, resulting in tragedy. While perhaps not better or worse than Corman's Poe movies, the Hammer horrors, or the Amicus anthology movies, "Twice-Told Tales" has plenty of Price, with each tale featuring him in a role that causes turmoil and pain to those around him, particularly to the people he is supposed to care for. The third tale is the most similar to a Corman Price film as the manor collapses into ruin as the villain meets a fate most unkind (involving a severed skeletal arm!).
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Vincent Price - Undisputed Master Of The Macabre Warning: Spoilers
One year after Roger Corman's "Tales Of Terror", the incomparable Vincent Price starred in another ghoulish and great Horror anthology, namely Sidney Salkow's "Twice-Told Tales" of 1963. Price is one of my favorite actors of all-time, and while this is not one of my favorites of this great Horror icon's films from the early 60s, it is yet another excellent Price film from that time. The film is divided into three Gothic tales, all three starring Price, all three based on the writings of the magnificent Nathaniel Hawthorne, all three compelling, atmospheric and wonderfully eerie.

The first segment, "Dr Heidegger's experiment" is about the classic topic of resurrection and eternal youth. Dr. Carl Heidegger (Sebastian Cabot) and Alex Medbourne (Vincent Price) have been best friends for all their life. On Carl's 79th birthday, the two walk in the tomb of Carl's former fiancée Sylvia (Mari Blanchard), who has died decades ago, the night before their wedding. When they open the coffin, they are astonished to see that Sylvia's corpse has not aged a bit...

The second tale, "Rappacini's Daughter" is the most macabre of the three. After being left by his wife, the scientist Rappacini (Price) has chemically modified the body of his only daughter Beatrice (Joyce Taylor). Due to his obsession to 'protect' her, he has turned his daughter into something poisonous. While Beatrice is still beautiful on the outside, the poor girl's pure touch is lethal to animals and men alike. When young medical student Giovanni (Brett Halsey) moves in next door, he immediately falls in love with beautiful Beatrice... This second segment is both macabre and sad. It gives Price the opportunity to appear at his maddest, and yet his character is not necessarily purely villainous, but merely a tormented man whose pain has driven him into insanity.

When the second segment is the most macabre, the third tale, "The House of the Seven is the one with the most uncanny Gothic atmosphere. Terriffically set in an eerie old mansion, the story is about an old curse that has been infested on a family for a long time. In the 1690s a curse has been spelled over the House of Pyncheon by Matthew Maulle, who was executed as a witch because a Pyncheon, who was the magistrate at the time, wanted Maulle's property. 150 years later, Gerald Pyncheon (Price) returns to the 'House of the Seven Gables' , well-aware that all of his male ancestors have died horrible deaths there, but even more keen on finding a lost family treasure...

All three stories are atmospheric and gloomy, and while the first one, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" is slightly lesser to the others, it makes a great first segment in the anthology. Vincent Price shines in all three of his roles as always. To me personally, Price is arguably the greatest Horror-icon of all-time, and my all-time favorite actor. The supporting performances are entirely very good, especially beautiful Joyce Taylor is great in the second segment. Eerie settings, colors that are sometimes lush and yet uncanny, great photography and a nice score build up a gloomy atmosphere. "The House of the Seven Gables" had already been filmed in 1940, also starring Price, a film that I am more than a bit curious to see. All things considered, "Twice-Told Tales" is great Gothic Horror cinema that should not be missed by any lover of Horror, and especially a must-see to all my fellow Vincent Price fans! Highly recommended!
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Surprisingly good Anthology series
kannibalcorpsegrinder30 October 2014
Bound together in one package, three stories from writer Nathaniel Hawthorne are presented in one collection.

The Good Stor(ies): Dr. Heidegger's Experiment-Dining together, two friends start in on his long-deceased wife and his desire to see her again. As he continues on into the night, they notice her crypt disturbed during a thunderstorm and investigate, venturing into her tomb. Finding a water-vein that drips onto it, they find that it preserves eternal youth, only for there to be grave consequences. This is a frustratingly uneven segment. There's a lot to love with it's Gothic atmosphere on display, from the raging thunderstorm that opens it that sets the mood for this almost perfectly to the way the tomb looks and its overall layout all provide general Gothic ambiance and feeling. Perhaps the best is the standout shock scene that occurs when the discovery of its effects wear off, and one turns around to see a bride standing as a skeleton wearing the dress, where just a moment before was seen to be fully viewed as a human, before crumbling to dust. The segment hits a low-point, though, when it concerns the endless prattling on over the love and marriage. It just goes on and becomes somewhat irritating, especially the amount of time that's devoted to that issue. The positives, though, outweigh the negatives.

The House of the 7 Gables-Returning to his home, a man immediately causes a stir between the women in his life over the supposed family curse. Laughing it off as mere superstition, he goes about in search of a long-lost treasure that will help him with his gambling debts to her utter contempt. As events occur within the house that lead them to believe something is wrong, he goes about trying to do whatever is possible to rid the curse upon the family and find the treasure before it affects him as well. This is another mixed segment which had some good points and bad ones, but it's a much stronger segment and is it's best one overall. One of the best aspects is the fact that this one feels like it's an actual segment, as there's a much more thought-out and complete aspect to this one missing from the others. The story is really strong and actually has some strength to it, managing to break free of its clichéd trappings and deliver some nice thrills, including some really nifty floating action early on and throughout the middle segment as well. The house has an appropriately creepy feel, inspired by the Gothic classics and working just as well as any other entry here with some rather impressive and spectacular showings from the finale. As the house begins to crumble, as per usual, a fantastic shock scene erupts from the painting that is simply incredibly delivered, and there's the rush as the search-and-rescue carries on while the house still crumbles, and upon exiting, the house is singularly destroyed once and for all in a classic shot that is far better than anything else attempted with that style. The story here and the attempts of the film to play off them are where it scores best, and almost all those scenes score nicely. It's just simply hurt by a clichéd and completely un-surprising romance angle that develops, which can't be too hard to guess, is set-up to come out exactly like it anyways and just drags the segment, and the film as a whole, out much longer than needed. Otherwise, there's enough positives here to lift the segment up anyways.

The Bad Stor(ies): Rappacini's Daughter-Moving into a new house, a man finds that his neighbor lives alone with her father and tries to be friends. When she constantly backs away from his advances, he tries to understand why they are so fearful of others, only to be stone-walled at every turn. When he finally discovers the true reason for their condition, he races to stop them before it becomes too late. This is an extremely disappointing segment that really should've been much better than it actually is. One of the main flaws is that there's very little action to it. There's a pattern of a meeting she blows off cryptically, his investigation into the family followed by another meeting, starting off the same cycle and it gets rather boring. There's also a quite questions that go unanswered in it. There's little that's said about how the surgery worked that gave her the condition in the first place, or even how the poison managed not to kill her to begin with. It does a rather poor job explaining these, along with a couple others in here as well. Despite this, there's some good to be had. The effectiveness of the poison is well-done, conveyed through several nice scenes where the power is demonstrated to great effect, and there's some real suspense to be had when we know but he doesn't, and the potential is there as the premise to this is nice, but it's shot down due to the focus on the lame love story, and overall becomes a huge missed opportunity.

Today's Rating/PG-13: Violence.
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The 60's version of "Creepshow"
Chromium_527 December 2004
This overlooked Vincent Price movie, supposedly based on the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, appears to be the inspiration for "Creepshow," complete with a skeleton hand turning the pages between stories. It has some fun moments, and a great second story involving a plant/human hybrid, but the overall quality is dangerously close to the B-movie level. The acting, sets, effects, etc., are all silly. The last story (The House of the Seven Gables) has a floating skeleton hand that must be seen to be believed. It is worth noting because of the other anthologies it seems to have inspired, but it doesn't have much else to offer. 5/10 stars.
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A Great Horror Trilogy
Rainey-Dawn17 December 2014
Here we have yet another film I have not seen in years, watching it again after all these years I found the film quite good - even better than I recalled it to be. Three stories based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales - all three a excellent!

Dr. Heidegger's Experiment - I quite enjoyed Sebastian Cabot heartbreaking performance as Dr. Carl Heidigger. It is a sad romantic tale of a man who was to be married but his wife died the night before the wedding. He remained in-love with her for 38 years. One night he and his long time friend Alex Medbourne (Price) discover a secret - a type of fountain of youth. That same night Dr. Heidegger also discovered another secret - a 38 year old dark secret.

Rappaccini's Daughter - Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini (Price) wife was an adulteress - he only wanted to protect his daughter from the pains of adultery and to make sure she did not make the same mistake her mother did. Rappaccini's Daughter, Beatrice (Taylor), falls for a young man and he falls for her. But how can they marry when Beatrice can kill him with one touch of the poison her father inoculates her with?

The House of the Seven Gables - Gerald Pyncheon (Price) and his sister Hannah Pyncheon (deWit) have inherited the haunted house and a family curse. There is more to their inheritance than this if they can find the vault. But will Mathew's ghost allow them to?

All three of the tales are good but of the three it is Dr. Heidegger's Experiment that I found was the best, saddest and most horrifying of all.

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Endearingly awful...
moonspinner5531 October 2008
Vincent Price heads up a B-cast in this middle-drawer trilogy of not-so-terrifying tales from writer Nathaniel Hawthorne's dark side. Price stars in all three stories and manages to retain his dignified air, even if there isn't a whole lot for him to do other than look wide-eyed. The opener, "Dr. Heidigger's Experiment", is probably the best of the lot, with Price and Sebastian Cabot acting wonderfully persnickety as a couple of old codgers living together like sisters; they discover a "virgin spring" in the mausoleum of Cabot's deceased sweetheart and use it to bring back their youth...and re-animate the corpse! There isn't much to the story, which is heavy on unfair irony instead of shocks, but the actors make it enjoyable. The second episode, "Rappaccini's Daughter", has Price playing a great scientist/hermit who has replaced his beautiful's daughter's blood with the acidic juice from a Chinese plant, causing her to be untouchable without the proper gloves; the story doesn't bear close scrutiny, but the set design here is interesting. Director Sidney Salkow, apparently saving the 'best' for last, lets loose with "The House of the Seven Gables" (previously filmed as a feature in 1940, co-starring Vincent Price!), a haunted house meller with bleeding walls and a skeleton's arm in the secret vault; it is unintentionally hilarious, leaden-paced, woodenly acted, and enjoyably ridiculous all at the same time. ** from ****
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Can't say that I'll be watching this more than once.
BA_Harrison10 March 2017
A skeletal hand turns the pages of a book, revealing three tales of the macabre loosely based on the works of 19th century author Nathaniel Hawthorne, all starring horror legend Vincent Price, who plays a different character in each.

In the first story, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Price plays Alex, who meets with his old friend Carl Heidegger (Sebastian Cabot), who is celebrating his 79th birthday. When a lightning bolt strikes the crypt outside, the pair investigate, and to their surprise find the perfectly preserved body of Heidegger's fiancée Sylvia, who died 38 years before. After studying the water that has been dripping onto Sylvia's coffin, Heidegger believes that the liquid not only has the power to preserve, but also to reverse the ageing process, and even bring his beloved back to life.

The second tale, "Rappaccini's Daughter", sees Price as reclusive Dr. Giacomo Rappaccini, whose wife ran off with another man, leaving him to raise his daughter Beatrice (Joyce Taylor). To ensure that Beatrice can never sin like her mother, Giacomo has used a rare plant to turn his daughter's blood into poison, making her deadly to the touch. When Giovanni (Brett Halsey), the young man living next door, falls for Beatrice from afar, the young woman is distraught, knowing that she can never be near him. However, after she threatens to take her own life, Giacomo conducts a procedure that means the couple can finally be together, but his actions have tragic consequences.

The closing chapter is "The House of the Seven Gables", in which Price stars as Gerald Pyncheon, who, accompanied by his young wife Alice (Beverly Garland), moves into his ancestral home, which is also occupied by his sister Hannah (Jacqueline deWit). Gerald is convinced that the house holds a hidden vault containing his ancestor's fortune, but a centuries old curse and a malevolent ghost ensure that his search for the treasure results in madness, death and the destruction of the Pyncheon home.

They might be called Twice-Told Tales, but I'll wager that most horror fans will be satisfied to see these stories unfold just the once, Hawthorne's 'dark romanticism' resulting in a trilogy that is heavy on Gothic atmosphere, melodrama and Shakespearean tragedy (Hawthorne borrowed the title 'Twice-told Tales' from a play by the bard), but extremely light on terror. The film's leaden pacing doesn't help matters much either, especially with the film clocking in at two hours. Price puts in three commendable performances, but even with the star on fine form, Twice Told Tales is a rather dismal and depressing addition to the horror anthology sub-genre.
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Pretty tepid
preppy-314 April 2006
Three tales from Nathaniel Hawthorne are shown each starring Vincent Price. The first is "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" with Heidegger (Sebastian Cabot) and an old friend (Price) discovering the fountain of a terrible price. Next is "Rappaccini's Daughter" played by Joyce Taylor. Drop dead handsome Giovanni (Brett Halsey) loves her--but her touch can kill--literally. Price plays her mad father. Last is "The House of the Seven Gables" involving ghosts and possession. It's billed as a horror film but only the last tale can qualify as that.

Pretty bad movie. It was made on a very low budget that shows. A garden in the second story and the house at the end are laughably obvious miniature models. Special effects are lousy too. The stories are all slow, obvious and heavy-handed. Basically they're all far too long for their own good. All in all the movie is very dull. There's good acting in it--especially by Price--but it's not enough to save this. This is pretty much unknown--there's a reason for that! You can skip this one. Gets a 6 for Price and Halsey.
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