I must be a glutton for punishment, but here we go! Tonight's special feature is a no holds barred triple tag team match between the 1962 film "Tales Of Terror" and "Twice Told Tales" made in 1963! Why? I have no idea, it just seemed like a good idea at the time!
The referee in charge of this whole debacle is Mr. Vincent Price, since he's the thread that holds this whole tapestry of terrors together!
Without a doubt, "Twice Told Tales" gets the nod for having the better of the two title cards, but that just might be the last round it wins!
The first segment of "Tales Of Terror" is called "Morella!" The three tales are based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe, and the screenplays were written by one of the modern masters, and one of my favourite authors, Richard Matheson! Richard Matheson wrote the novels "The Shrinking Man" and "I Am Legend," that the movies "The Incredible Shrinking Man," and "The Last Man On Earth" were made into! He wrote the screeplays for a number of the AIP Edgar Allen Poe movies, like "The Pit And The Pendulum" and the "House Of Usher," and he wrote 16 episodes of "Twilight Zone!"
Strange for a horror movie, but for me, Roger Corman's Poe tales have always had a certain warmth or familiarity to them, that even though they're scary, I always still feel quite comfortable watching them!
In "Morella," Vincent Price hates his daughter Lenora, because he holds her responsible for his wife Morella's death, because she died while giving birth to Lenora! Lenora is played by Maggie Pierce who went on to drive Dobie Gillis nuts as three separate characters, Betty Sue Fosdick, Cynthia Vandefeller, and Pamela Lumpkin! She also went on to have one of the main roles in the TV series "My Mother The Car" as Barbara Crabtree! It's always weird to see Vincent without a mustache!
Morella is played by Leona (Scream Of The Butterfly) Gage! Both Leona and Maggie passed away a few months apart in 2010!
On the other side, the stories in "Twice Told Tales" are based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, as interpreted by the writer Robert E. Kent! The world would have been a much sorrier place to live, and a Hell of a lot less rockin' if it weren't for Robert E. Kent. Robert had some incredible writing credits that included (are you ready?) "Zombies on Broadway," "Dick Tracy Vs. Cueball," "Rock Around The Clock," "The Werewolf," "Twist Around The Clock," "Don't Knock The Twist," "Diary Of A Madman," "Hootenanny Hoot," "Hold On," "Hot Rods To Hell," and "The Fastest Guitar Alive!" He also wrote the songs "Don't Knock The Rock," and "Don't Knock The Twist!" Too bad all that rockin' talent was pretty much wasted on "Twice Told Tales!"
The first segment of "Twice Told Tales" is called "Dr.Heidegger's Experiment," and it stars along with Vincent Price, the very fine actor Sebastian Cabot, who will always be remembered for his narration on various "Winnie The Pooh" projects! The incredible "She-Devil" Mari Blanchard had the role of the lover who came back to life, Sylvia Ward!
Okay, compare Mari's dead body to that of Morella's! Even with all that amazing talent, "Tales Of Terror" obviously comes out ahead on this deal!
The second story in "Tales Of Terror" is Poe's "The Black Cat!"
Vincent Price and Peter Lorre in a wine tasting contest, C'mon, it doesn't get much better than that! Vincent's character is so highbrow and Peter's character is a such a slovenly drunk, but yet he can keep right up with Vincent's wine tasting talents! I love this segment and find it quite hilarious, but isn't anything that Peter Lorre does above reproach? Well it is, at least in my world!
In my humble opinion, "Rappaccini's Daughter" is quite the bore compared to "The Black Cat!"
Vincent Price is always worth watching, no matter what the role, but this story is tepid and never gained my attention at all!
The story is flat, and comes across like a stage play, and the characters of Joyce Taylor as Beatrice Rappaccini and Brett Halsey as Giovanni Guasconti are not interesting at all! Joyce Taylor was a singer who ended up as a regular on the TV series "Men Into Space" and had the role of Soldier in the William Castle film "13 Frightened Girls," and Brett Halsey was much better suited for his roles in "The Atomic Submarine," and "Return Of The Fly!"
That brings us to the third segment in each movie!
"The Case Of M.Valdemar" co-stars Basil (More Great Movies Than I Think It's Necessary To Go Into) Rathbone and Debra (Most Dangerous Man Alive) Paget!
Vincent's melting sequence is one of the highlights of the film! Special effects master Pat Dinga died at the very young age of 51, but still managed to work on films like "Bride Of The Monster," "House Of Usher," "Pit And The Pendulum," The Raven," "Black Zoo," "The Comedy Of Terrors," AND 11 episodes of "The Outer Limits!"
In "Twice Told Tales," one of Hawthorne's best books doesn't even stand a ghost of a chance!
Even with the talents of Beverly (It Conquered The World, Curucu - Beast Of The Amazon, Not Of This Earth, The Alligator People) Garland and Richard (Unknown Island, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Target Earth, Creature With The Atom Brain) Denning, "The House Of The Seven Gables" can't deliver the goods!
The full length version of "The House Of The Seven Gables" made in 1940 that also has Vincent Price in it, is a much better run for your money! So that's it, try it yourself, "Tales Of Terror" and "Twice Told Tales" come as a double feature DVD. "Twice Told Tales" may not be that bad of a movie, but I really think it pales in comparison, especially if you watch "Tales Of Terror" first!