PURE TERROR MONTH: The Tell-Tale Heart (1960)

Film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane have selected this movie as one of the 15 most meritorious British B films made between World War II and 1970. That has to be worth something, correct?

Director Ernest Morris and writer Brian Clemens worked together on several films, including Operation MurderOn the RunThe BetrayalThree Sundays to Live and A Woman of Mystery amongst others. Clemens would go on to write for The Avengers, as well as And Soon the DarknessDr. Jekyll & Sister HydeCaptain Kronos Vampire Hunter and creating the Thriller TV series.

Here, they are loosely adapting Edgar Allan Poe. Have you ever noticed that nearly every time I mention someone is making a Poe movie that it’s a loose adaption?

Edgar Marsh (Laurence Payne, Vampire Circus) is a shy man who is obsessed with erotica, which in 1960 made him a dangerous maniac instead of someone with an internet connection. He notices Betty Clare (Adrienne Corri, A Clockwork Orange) getting undressed and becomes overly obsessed by her, planning their future long before she’s even interested.

What she is interested in is his friend Carl Loomis, who she hooks up with after Edgar introduces them. He watches them together and then kills his friend with a poker, then buries him in his piano room. Before you can say “loosely adapted from an Edgar Allan Poe story,” he’s hearing the tell-tale heartbeat.

It’s low budget, but not a bad film. It feels very much like a TV production, which makes sense, because it was made by those that would go on to mainly work in TV.

If you don’t have the Pure Terror set — and you should — you can also watch this on Amazon Prime.

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