FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Classic Horror Titans!

 

 

It’s our Frightening Flix Horror Titans of Yore come to celebrate our HorrorAddicts.net anniversary!

Alfred Hitchcock Primer Video

The Birds

Christopher Lee Delights

Edgar Allan Poe Video Revisit

Jean Rollin Saucy

Mario Bava Special

The Oblong Box and Scream and Scream Again

Peter Cushing Passion

Silent Film Scares

Vincent Price Maestro

 

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: The Haunted Palace

The Haunted Palace is a Creepy Little Treat.

By Kristin Battestella

In all my Vincent Price, Roger Corman, AIP, and Poe celebrations, it’s been quite tough to find The Haunted Palace again.  Though this 1963 tale borrows much more from Lovecraft than it does Poe, all the creepy, freaky moods and twists are here in fine form.

In the 18th century, Arkham townsfolk burn the warlock Joseph Curwen (Price) for using the Necronomicon and local women in sadistic experiments- but Curwen vows to return and curses the village descendants. 100 years later, Charles Dexter Ward (also Price) and his wife Anne (Debra Paget) inherit Curwen’s mansion and return to the New England ruin. Dr. Willet (Frank Maxwell) informs the couple of the town’s twisted history, but the rest of the villagers fear Ward as local strange occurrences and bizarre deaths increase.  They use their deformed children to frighten Anne, and she begins to suspect the spirit of Curwen is indeed trying to take over her husband.  Unfortunately, their caretaker Simon (Lon Chaney, Jr.) knows more than he’s saying…

Writer Charles Beaumont (The Twilight Zone, Premature Burial, The Masque of the Red Death) teams with director Roger Corman (House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum) for this Lovecraftian adaptation that got unfortunately shoehorned into American International Picture’s Edgar Allan Poe cycle. Yes, it’s based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward more than any reaching at Poe titles or poetry- which might automatically put off the Poe faithful or the Lovecraft purists alike. However, the spooky moods and sinister atmosphere are here from the onset, with great traditional jumpy moments and heck, it’s actually scary in some scenes.  Even if you expect the smoke and mirror twists, it’s still dang suspenseful as the sinister past increasingly takes hold.  Indeed, the Necronomicon back story and Cthulhu allusions could be better explained, and the revenge plotlines are similar to later films like The Abominable Dr. Phibes.  There’s reused fire filmmaking for the finale and the end is somewhat abrupt, too, but overall, this is an entertaining and scary little picture.

Naturally, the resemblance between Curwen and Ward is uncanny! Our Man Vincent differentiates the two men nicely to start, allowing a slow possession to brew. The naughty implications, man handlings, and great outbursts build perfectly as the Victorian gentleman Ward becomes increasing overtaken with the ruthless warlock Curwen.  The tender scenes and inner torment as Ward realizes the takeover is happening are well done, too.  Again, I don’t see any over the top acting. Price’s subtle inner conflict and physical alterations are quite the opposite in fact. The pacing on the possession is good, but I do wish the film were a bit longer, as Debra Paget (The Ten Commandments with Price) as Ward’s wife Anne does become a bit typical. She’s active, suspects, and doesn’t scream too much, but it just seems like they ran out of time in developing her suspicions on Curwen overtaking her husband. Of course, Paget looks wonderful- and looks good scared, that’s not always an easy thing to master.  The Wards also sleep in the same bed, whoa! Anne ends up the good little woman, but their tender relationship and its explosive breakdown are well done, and it adds an extra personal dimension to the twistedness at hand.

Instead of the usual stock company throwaways, the supporting village men in The Haunted Palace lift up the horror here. Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolf Man) is perfection as the creepy and most definitely not so innocent caretaker Simon.  Of course, he knows more about Curwen than he lets on to the Wards, and his scary introduction is great. Frank Maxwell (Our Man Higgins) does fine work as the would be voice of reason among the otherwise superstitious townsfolk, but again, I wish there were more of his Dr. Willet and town scaredy cat Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon, House on Haunted Hill). Leo Gordon (McLintock!) is also a lot of fun, as are the weird, deformed, and disturbed village descendants. Oh, girls with no eyes or freaky eyeless men and worse shouldn’t be so scary, but when used in full force here, it’s downright frightening.

Although the Cthulhu- like tentacles and dungeon scenery leave something to be desired, the other period styles and designs establish The Haunted Palace wonderfully. The spider web motifs over the credits will be dang freaky for arachnophobes, and the opening colonial mayhem looks on form. The fog and lightning create all the atmosphere needed, and eerie music tops off the titular mansion’s décor, red candles, and sweet candelabras.  Those dungeons, however, are a little too dark to see- even when its daylight. Of course, the video is due some restoration, and the matte paintings supposedly providing scope are fairly poor, but that is to be expected.  Thankfully, the Victorian standards, ornate frocks, and wispy nightgowns more than make up the difference.

Unfortunately, The Haunted Palace is dang tough to find. Netflix is mum and its double bill DVD release with Tower of London is downright elusive. For Price Fans, Corman completists, and old school horror fans, however, The Haunted Palace is well worth the hunt.  Catch it whenever you can or delight again on a spooky late night whenever you need that hint of Lovecraft. Or Poe for that matter, hehe.

FRIGHTENING FLIX: Revisiting Poe Video Review

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz (and a special feline guest) discusses new appreciations in revisiting the short fiction of Edgar Allan Poe including The Fall of the House of Usher and The Tell Tale Heart in addition to comparing and contrasting the Vincent Price and Roger Corman Poe Film Adaptations.

 

 

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FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Poe Excursions!

 

An Excursion in Poe

by Kristin Battestella

 

A little bit of Edgar can be found in anywhere – if you know where to look.

 

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval PortraitStormy nights, carriages, red velvet, and antiques accent this loose 1972 adaptation alongside candles, staircases, ominous housekeepers, late relatives, and ghostly piano playing. The titular painting, apparitions, and haunted house atmosphere come early with eerie music, lovelorn letters, and fainting ladies. However the inaccurate Civil War costumes, shabby uniforms, off kilter voices, and dark print make it difficult to tell who’s Union or Confederate. The echoing overlays, visions of past couples, and angry artist can’t overcome the lookalike characters, soap opera stylings, and rip off plots. Sure Poe’s tale is thin, but here the new wife shocks everyone by coming down the stairs in Rebecca’s clothes – and yes that’s the late subject’s name. More people keep arriving, but the ghostly possessions are put on hold for flashbacks with rally calls, cavalry, and a soldier on the lamb that look borrowed from another picture. If this scandal is where the story starts, why not begin there? Of course, there’s also confusion between this movie and another with the same cast called One Minute Before Death, and the bookends make it seem like the two movies are combined into one on top of weak scripting, fly by night production, and jumpy flash cuts between the back and forth that never lets the forbidden love build. The muddled dialogue and stalling gothic romance feel like part of the story is missing – compromising the illicit, funerals, and grave robbing before more hysterics, wills, and tacked on ghosts. Though watchable – bemusing even thanks to the overlong, nonsensical dancing with the corpse finale that’s probably followed by some good old fashioned necrophilia – this could have been a better, faithful adaptation of Poe’s story instead of some kind of two for the price of one messy that doesn’t go together.

 

The Fall of the House of UsherThere’s not a lot of information available on this elusive 1949 British adaptation of Poe’s famously flawed siblings. The opening here is weird, with Brit pimps in their boys club chatting up their Poe favorites. When the story moves into the tale itself, however, solid dialogue from the book, lovely period décor, and bizarre designs put on the right demented atmosphere. Piano interludes, candlelight, unique photography, and one very creepy crazy mama add to the fun. Yes, today’s audiences may feel the plot meanders a bit with seeming slow or quiet scenes. Fortunately, the fade-in editing, ticking clocks, and slow-burning wicks encapsulate the tomb-like mood. This actually does what an adaptation should do- I want to go read the source again! It’s a bit dry, but this one is worth the Poe study or classroom comparison for the scares and macabre it gets right.

The Raven He’s hamming it up and quoting death as his talisman – Bela Lugosi is creepy as ever behind his doctor’s mask and a suave god complex for this 1935 Poe based hour. The bearded, raspy, demented looking Boris Karloff (also of the unrelated 1963 mash-up of the same name with Vincent Price and Peter Lorre) is trying to reform his criminal ways, but Lugosi’s twisted doctoring wrenches that! This quick plot wastes no time thanks to car accidents, desperate medicine, titular quotes, mad love, and torture gear. Though not a full-on, proper adaptation of the famed poem, great shadows, interiors, organ music, furs, fedoras, and screams accent the obsessed with Poe layers and madcap style. A large ensemble can make it tough to tell who is who, and we don’t see much of the Poe-esque devices or their violence compared to the torture porn we expect today. However, the time here is steeped in an entertaining interwar gothic atmosphere – the wild contraptions are fun yet there are poignant moments and comeuppance amid the haunted house attraction mayhem. Edgar aficionados and fans of the cast will enjoy the uncanny charm here.

 

Spirits of the DeadI’m not really a Jane Fonda fan, but she looks superb in this colorful 1968 Italian anthology with designs from Edgar Allan Poe. Perfect locales, music, horses, castles, and foggy coasts set an ethereal, dreamy mood for the first tale here. The period costumes and sixties fusion might be a bit too Barbarella, and some will be put off by the spoken French and reading subtitles. Yet Fonda fans will enjoy the suggested kinky and ménage taunts- even if it’s her brother Peter (Easy Rider) sparking the obsessions. ‘Metzengerstein’ is more sauce than scares, but it might have made a nice fantasy movie by itself.  By contrast, ‘William Wilson’ adds Italian occupation and religious motifs for the second installment.  Iffy kid acting, look a likes, and flashbacks can be confusing to start and some of the butchery won’t be for everyone. However great fashions, sweet cadavers, autopsy educations, and historical brutalities are scary good- not to mention a dark-haired, poker playing Brigitte Bardot (And God Created Woman) to keep the questions on one’s conscious and duality from getting too dry. Terrence Stamp (Billy Budd) is a wonderful drunkard in the almost too trippy ‘Toby Dammit’ finale, but cool Roman amusement, bizarre locations, and weird play within a play production keep the plot from being too nonsensical. Though the final ten minutes get tough, the well-edited and intense driving scenes make for a fitting overall conclusion.  Not all will enjoy the near-psychedelic period and foreign sensibilities, but this is some twisted fun for fans of the players and all involved.

 

Tale of a Vampire – A delicious Julian Sands (Warlock, people, Warlock) leads this 1992 brooding character study brimming with “Annabel Lee” and Poe references to match the bleak back alleys, dark morgues, abandoned blue buildings, and dreary British mood. Despite the underlying urge to bite, predatory love, black cats, creepy vampire beds, and sucking on some bloody fingers, this isn’t a gorefest thanks to multilayered social awkwardness, melancholy, loss, and conflict. This lovelorn vampire spends his time in the rare books section of a sweet old library – you use that card catalog! The plot is unfortunately very slow, the isolated characters have no sounding board, and confusing flashbacks of lookalike women and lost bliss don’t explain much. The centuries ago golden patinas are well shot, however the uneven pacing and flawed constructs interfere with the storytelling. We should have seen the past to start, using that previous to accent the current torment and slightly unreal, demented fairy tale tone. Why is the audience more sad than creeped by this thirsty stalker? Fine performances carry the drama once the characters actually interact by quoting history and poets in insightful two-handers. “’Tis better to have loved and lost” and all that. Lighting and shadow schemes add to the mysterious rivals, for good love or ill pain possibilities, and strange seductions. Can it really be love if a vampire’s idea of romance is to consume the life of his lover? It’s oddly pleasing to see this kind of twisted vampire bite symbolism rather than teenage moon eyes, and this simmer builds to a fine finale with some interesting surprises. While not scary, the Gothic romanticism and Victorian waxing on forever and death not being the end of love provide a solid helping of morbid and memento mori.

 

An Interview With Loren Rhoads

Our featured author for episode 134 of the Horror Addicts Podcast is Loren Rhoads. Loren had an article in Horror Addicts Guide To Life and has written guest blogs for our blog in the past. Recently we asked Loren a few questions about her writing:

What is your story for episode 134 about?

29741039It comes from my book Lost Angels, which came out earlier this year. The succubus Lorelei sees an angel in her boss’s dance club.  She pursues Azaziel, who inflicts a mortal girl’s soul on her.  Lorelei has to survive Hell’s attacks long enough to find a fallen priest who can exorcise the mortal soul from her infernal body.  The scene I’m reading for the podcast takes place after Lorelei is possessed, when she’s trying to make an alliance with a fiend to protect her until the exorcism.

When did you start writing?

I started writing stories down in junior high, after I discovered the work of Edgar Allan Poe.  My family visited the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia – and Poe’s dorm room at the University of Virginia – and I realized that he was a real person who wrote real stories.  I’m not sure what I thought created books before that, except that they seemed fully formed objects without humans attached.  Once I figured out that people wrote stories, I wanted to do it too.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

That’s a hard question.  Last year I wrote a space opera trilogy.  This year, I’m completing a series about2148570 angels and devils in the real world.  Next, I’m going to finish a book about a witch doing everything she can to prevent the death of someone she loves.  I’ve written a lot of stories about Alondra’s adventures, which have appeared recently in the books Fright Mare: Women Write Horror and nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and the Macabre.  One of my Alondra stories will appear in Best New Horror in 2017.

I guess my favorite topics are women, because I find the ways they think and interact with the world fascinating.  I’m also interested in love, what it is and how it is used. And I’m interested in traveling, how being out of your familiar space shows you who you really are.

Who or what inspires you?

6355365Strangely enough, I find a lot of inspiration on Facebook.  I’m curious every morning to see what we will be angry about each day. All kidding aside, I’m glad to see the discussions of racism and sexism and how people grapple with those issues.  We’re in a place now where people feel they can speak out, which I think is amazing.  Of course there is a lot of turmoil, but it’s leading to growth.  I find it all riveting: challenging, but ultimately positive.  My stories are my attempts to add to those conversations.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

I’m glad to see so many women bringing their stories to the genre now.  When I was growing up, it was all King, Straub, Streiber, then Clive Barker.  The only well-known woman at the time was Anne Rice, but her vampire books weren’t considered “real” horror.  Now we have Gemma Files and Caitlin Kiernan and Dana Fredsti, Maria Alexander and Lisa Lane and Eden Royce … more women than I can name in a paragraph. No one can deny that they are writing real horror, whatever that means.  And they are all writing such different stories.  I can’t wait to discover more of it.

Could you tell us about the As Above, So Below series?

23130135Originally Lost Angels and Angelus Rose were one massive novel. No one would publish it at that length, so I split it into two books. Black Bed Sheet Books originally published the first book in 2013 as As Above, So Below.  When the rights came back, Brian and I decided that it was time to publish the second – more apocalyptic – half of the story.  Angelus Rose will be coming out on Automatism Press in November 2016.

Could you tell us about your nonfiction writing?

In my not-so-secret other life, I write about visiting graveyards.  As I travel, I always stop into local cemeteries to see how they reflect the cultures that surround them, what’s different and what is similar from place to place. I always like to grab a little peace when I travel, so a graveyard is the perfect place.

In August, my parents took me to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to see a couple of plays.  I snuck off one morning to see St. Mark’s Churchyard, which predates the War of 1812.  One of the large flat grave markers is all gouged up.  Apparently, when the church served as a hospital during the War, that gravestone was where the surgeons performed amputations. The marks of their cleavers striking off limbs is still visible, two centuries later.  Great story, right?

18010009At the moment, I’m publishing other people’s stories on my Cemetery Travel blog.  The goal is to gather a collection of them to be published as Death’s Garden Revisited.  I encourage anyone who has had something special happen to them in a graveyard – whether they took a date there or visited the grave of someone meaningful or stopped in while they were on vacation – to get in touch with me at cemetarytravel.com.  The call for submissions is here: https://cemeterytravel.com/deaths-garden-call-for-submissions/.

What are some of the other books you have available?

The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, my space opera trilogy, have been accused of bringing grimdark to outer space.  The books are about surviving in the galaxy after humanity started – and lost – an interstellar war.  They’re available in paperback, as ebooks, or as audiobooks.

My collection of cemetery travel essays, Wish You Were Here, collects my stories from Morbid Curiosity magazine, my cemetery column at Gothic.Net, and from various literary magazines.  The essays range from London to Paris to Prague to Rome and Tokyo, then across the US from Boston to Maui.  A new edition of the book will be coming out from Automatism Press early next year, but for now, the book is still available from Western Legends Press.

976431Back in the misty past, I edited a magazine called Morbid Curiosity.  It published confessional nonfiction essays about all kinds of things, from adventures in modern medicine to grim travel destinations to encounters with serial killers and much, much more.  A collection of my favorite pieces from the zine came out as Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual.  It’s available online as an ebook, but I still have some copies of it in paperback.

Where can we find you online?

My homepage: www.lorenrhoads.com

My blog: www.lorenrhoads.com/blog

The As Above page: http://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loren.rhoads.5

Twitter: www.twitter.com/morbidloren

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/morbidloren/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/976431.Loren_Rhoads

Cemetery Travel: https://cemeterytravel.com/

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Nickie Jamison

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Nickie Jamison and recently she talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMelody of Bones is a mashup of the Grimm’s tales The Singing Bone and The Pied Piper of Hameln – stories of love, music, and betrayal.

What inspired the idea? 

My inspiration came from music. The idea came to me during a Valentine Wolfe concert at ConCarolinas. The band was promoting their newest album and the song Twisted Melody resonated with me and became my twisted fairy tale.

When did you start writing?

I don’t remember a time in my life that I was never making up and telling stories. My Barbies and other toys all had complicated and amazing backstories. The first story that I put to pen and paper was during 5th grade. It was a horror story that got me into trouble…apparently you’re not supposed to write about blood, guts, gore, dismemberment, and other gross things when you are a student at a private Conservative Christian Academy. Who knew? *shrug*

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I don’t think that I have a favored topic, I tend to write whatever madness is going through my mind at the present moment.

What are some of your influences?

I saw an R.L. Stine Fear Street novel in the Dollar Tree the other day and almost cried. Stine, 26607074Christopher Pike, Ann M. Martin, and I can name author’s ad nauseum, but my greatest influence is my dad. No one told him you aren’t supposed to read the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Scott FitzGerald, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, H.G. Wells, and Stephen King or Stephen Hawking to your kid as a bedtime story. I think I just broke my ad nauseum rule…oops.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

I’m fascinated by the types of fear that can be explored. You’ve got your good ol’ jump scare, but you can also play with the deep rooted fears and phobias.

What are some of the works you have available?

Most of my published works are in the Romance/ Erotica genre. You can find me on Amazon
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on my first full-length novel, another fairytale, but modern and less gore.

Where can we find you online?

Kbatz: Tomb of Ligeia and An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe

Frightening Flix

Tomb of Ligeia and An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe Surprisingly Good

Several months ago, I saw an interview with Cassandra Peterson-aka Elvira-discussing Tomb of Ligeia, one of her favorites in the American Pictures International’s Poe series by director Roger Corman. Unfortunately, for the life of me I couldn’t recall having seen this final adaptation starring Vincent Price. When the 1969 film came on out on a double billed DVD with An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe, I gave the set my full attention. Perhaps it’s not a total shocker since I like the rest of Corman’s Poe series, but Tomb of Ligeia and An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe are surprisingly good.

Verden Fell (Price) vows that his late wife Ligeia (Elizabeth Shepherd) will defy death. He becomes reclusive and keeps away from sunlight with his dark colored glasses-until the beautiful Rowena (also Shepherd) erroneously comes to his ruined abbey. The couple falls in love, despite Rowena’s previous attachment to Verden’s friend Christopher (John Westbrook). They marry, but Rowena is ill at ease in Ligeia’s former home. Ligeia’s Egyptian antiques are everywhere; her spirit seems to linger over Verden during the night, and there’s a nasty black cat about that makes her displeasure known.

Director Roger Corman (House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum) takes a few departures from his earlier Poe films by brightening up Tomb of Ligeia with natural locations and a little more romance than usual. Adapted by Robert Towne (Shampoo, Chinatown, Tequila Sunrise) from Poe’s short story, the analysis of mind and will power over death itself weaves the film together with ancient Egyptian allusions and plenty of ambiguity towards black cats. Each plot resolves satisfactory, but Poe’s twists and Corman’s interpretations leave the viewing thinking longer than prior pure shock conclusions.

Even though this is the last of the Poe pictures, Vincent Price looks younger here. His Verden is a little more sympathetic than his earlier, often evil roles. Not only is Price not as over the top as we love, but he’s actually sad sometimes, even pathetic with his dependence on his little glasses. But of course, Tomb of Ligeia does have the bizarrity we’d expect, including some ambiguity about necrophilia. Ew! Thankfully, Price looks good with Elizabeth Shepherd (Bleak House, Side Effects, Damien: Omen II). Any age difference doesn’t seem to factor in; they match well, and have nice, genuine chemistry. The more romantic tone between Verden and Rowena isn’t so tough to believe amid the scares. Nice as it is to have the sweet emotion amid the creeps; Shepherd is freaky in the duel bits as Ligeia. It’s obvious it is she, of course, but the showdown with Ligeia and the dream sequence with the ladies are well done. John Westbrook’s (The First Churchills) Christopher is in the odd middleman position in this love triangle, but his outside, sane perspective helps the audience balance out some of the horrors.

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While not as stylized as its Poe predecessor The Masque of the Red Death, Tomb of Ligeia has some beautiful natural locals and production. There’s a hefty amount of daylight scenes here-and they all work in the spooky, gothic, Early Victorian setting. There are some great ruined abbeys, the English countryside, and even a romantic stroll through Stonehenge. You might think these pieces don’t go together, but the morbid set interiors match the abbey in gothic look and spooky tone. The Victorian costumes are also early in style, alluding to a bit of the Bronte Sisters, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. And of course, there’s a very disturbing classic Corman dream sequence that scares better than some of the stranger, more bizarre visual dream trickery previously done.

Side B of our set offers more Vincent Price in a one-man show called An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe. Price showcases four tales from Poe in various stage settings, beginning with “The Tell Tale Heart.” I imagine you’re familiar with the tale, and Price is delightfully over the top here. His crazed style suits the story. The production here looks a little low and bare, but theatre fans can certainly enjoy this spirited Poe dramatization. “The Sphinx” is actually a Poe story that’s new to me. Price changes his looks and time period for each tale, strengthening his suave approach to the audience. He is clearly enjoying the punch line here, and this tale is better dressed than “The Tell Tale Heart.” Some might think a one-man production is stale and boring, but swift camera movement keeps things fresh. Not the crazy angles and dizzying modern zooms, but there’s just enough cuts and close ups to create the illusions needed.

So, that’s how “The Cask of Amontillado” is pronounced! I was never quite sure. The older Price is made up even older here for this unusual interpretation. You’d expect to see this one played out, not in effect told as perhaps “The Tell-Tale Heart” can only be. Price, however, does the voices of both men involved, playing on the amusement of the story and the unreliable status of the narrator. The camera again moves with him, cutting from several sides and using duel tricks almost like Gollum and Smeagol in The Two Towers. It’s a simple maneuver, but it works with the very handsomely dressed dining room stage.

It’s strange that director Kenneth Johnson (V, Alien Nation) would do “The Pit and the Pendulum” here in 1972 when Roger Corman did the feature length film ten years earlier. Nevertheless, Price looks the old and crazy part. Each tale has progressed his age, the time period, and the story’s deceit. This short here is more abstract and dream like than Corman’s back story filled movie. The fire and brimstone effects in this Pit go for more frights rather than a Twilight Zone twist ending. You would think Vincent Price effectively reading books line for line onscreen would be boring, but no. The stories dramatized in these readings are all told in the past tense with Poe’s great unreliable narrator telling his askew interpretation to the audience. Even though it may look old or too theatre to modern audiences, An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe is perfect for Vincent Price fans, film students, or literature teachers looking for a short and sweet visual accompaniment for the classroom.

The DVD set of Tomb of Ligeia and An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe is relatively simplistic, with only a commentary of Roger Corman and Elizabeth Shepherd. It’s a little slow in pacing, but fun and informative for the die-hard fan. The subtitles for Ligeia are great, too. Fans of the previous Poe pictures or sixties horror films can enjoy Tomb of Ligeia, but period piece and gothic fans should tune in, too. However, hardcore viewers looking for a blood fest and straight horror should skip these stylized tales. Likewise, I also don’t know about cat lovers enjoying Tomb of Ligeia. Feline folks will delight in the pesky cat scenarios, but cat enthusiasts won’t like some of the black cat bashing, either. Ah, it’s the beauty of Poe, something for everyone!