The fourth of Roger Corman’s Poe films — which includes House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Premature Burial, The Raven, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia — Tales of Terror was released on a double bill with Panic in the Year Zero!
Each of the three stories is narrated by Vincent Price, who also appears in all three parts of this anthology.
In “Morella,” Poe’s story forms the basics of the story but this take on the story is near-apocalyptic. Lenora Locke has come to visit her father (Price), who refuses her company as he believes that she killed her mother Morella in childbirth. That’s when the daughter discovers that her mother is rotten in her father’s ancient home, father learns that the daughter is dying and the mother comes back for everyone.
“The Black Cat” has Montresor Herringbone (Peter Lorre) discovering that his wife Annebelle is cuckolding him with the world’s foremost wine taster, Fortunato Luchresi (Vincent Price). So he does what any of us would: entomb them inside a wall along with his wife’s black cat. Obviously, this story also has elements of another Poe story, The Cask of Amontillado. If you enjoyed this story, it was also filmed by Lucio Fulci as The Black Cat and Dario Argento within the Poe double feature Two Evil Eyes.
In the last story, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” finds hypnotist Mr. Carmichael (Basil Rathbone) helping to stop the suffering of the dying M. Valdemar (Vincent Price). However, Carmichael places him in a trance between life and death, taking control of his entire life and even trying to take his wife. This story features Price’s face literally melting away, which is really horrifying for a 1962 movie.
Roger Corman and Richard Matheson were really working together quite well here. I’m a sucker for a good anthology and these stories move quick and pack a punch.