by Heather the Jane

You know, modern horror movies have their advantages. Not the least of which is modern special effects. I'll admit, sometimes the chilling scenes in the oldies can look a little, well – cheesy. But, hello from 2011 – you expect that going in. It's part of the charm, if not part of the fright. But maybe that takes the 'fright' to a deeper level? Maybe it allows us to better appreciate the madness of the story? The profound skill of the actors involved? Show us your fear. Catch us in your descent. Let us hang our heads with your grief.  Keep us riveted to the fiction, despite the lack of more realistic-looking effects....

Tales of Terror adapts four Edgar Allan Poe tales into three short films (and, oh, how perfect at the end of each when Poe's work is quoted – kind of brings it all full circle, in almost an inevitable way).

In the first film Morella, a dying daughter reunites with her estranged, reclusive father. All is not well, and doesn't get better when she discovers the body of her mother, Morella, decomposing in a bed chamber. Okay, I don't want to give away the ending, but suffice it to say – not a happy ending for all parties involved.

I thought The Black Cat was the best of the tales on this DVD. Perhaps not coincidentally, one of the short stories that this one is based on, The Cask of Amontillado, is my favorite Poe story. (The Black Cat is the other Poe tale that is borrowed from on this one.) Revenge for everyone! Hooray! A drunkard discovers his wife has fallen in love with his nemesis. Diabolical vengeance is his. But, no, it doesn't end there. Like I said ... revenge for everyone.

Finally the third tale: The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. Very cool concept: in exchange for a pain-free existence through his dying days, Valdemar agrees to let himself be hypnotized as he dies. (Seriously, wow, I love this story idea!) But the terror really begins when the hypnotist refuses to release him from his hypnotic grip, even after Valdemar is dead.

Okay, so have I convinced you to have a Vincent Price night yet? I've certainly convinced myself to have another one :-)


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