Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Twice-Told Tales (1963)

Following the success of AIP's Poe series that teamed Roger Corman with Vincent Price, Sydney Salkow capitalized on the 60s Gothic Horror revival under Admiral Pictures by using Price in another trio of terrors adapted from the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The results are three competently directed and beautifully shot vignettes that ranks closely beside AIP efforts like TALES OF TERROR. In the first story, a virgin spring restores the youth of an aged doctor and his old friend, but the temptation to use the elixir on his deceased wife proves to be too strong to resist. Bringing back the dead only serves to revive past betrayals and rivalries that time had seemingly forgotten. Heidegger's Experiment is well played despite Price's usual eccentricities, ending in a perfect irony that serves as a fitting punishment for the characters' crimes against nature. It includes some fun reverse photography and lap dissolves, which are topped by the excellent (though cramped) set designs. Next, an enamored youth seeks the love of a reclusive girl whose father has made her incapable of human touch by inducing her with a potent acid. The Puritanical themes of celibacy and monogamy are contrasted with an underlying incestuous subtext, recalling Hawthorne's similar themes in The Scarlet Letter. Unfortunately, the claustrophobic setting and hammy overacting make this a bland entry. Finally, a house divided by greed and betrayal befalls a decade-old curse in The House of the Seven Gables. Though it gets off to a slow start, this wicked little tale poses some impressive effects for the budget, and generates a creepy atmosphere through its bleeding walls and portraits. TWICE-TOLD TALES is a small but effective film built on character and style, and is worth checking out for any fans of Corman's Edgar Allen Poe series.

Rating: 7/10.
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5 comments:

  1. This one was okay. A bit too long, but it was decent enough. Nice cast, too.

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  2. Wings the Vincent Price collection is a must own, well worth the $25 it can be purchased for on DeepDiscount!

    V, Im with you there, I enjoyed the first and third entries, but they never really struck above average for the time

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  3. As my last list showed, anthology tales starring Vincent Price are a weak-spot of mine.

    While not perfect, this movie is unjustly-overlooked by many due to it not being a Poe film.

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  4. Agreed, I always try to account for budget constraints in each of my reviews, and given the scale of this picture it was filmed well and offers good sets, I liked it overall

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