American-International Pictures follow up to The Raven, this movie reunites Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. Adding to the trio is Basil Rathbone, giving this film an astounding cast. They’re all working from a script by Richard Matheson and direction by Jacques Tourneur, who for my money made some of the greatest horror movies ever like Night of the Demon, The Leopard Man and Cat People.
Price is Waldo Trumbull, a funeral home owner, a business that he stole from his partner Amos Hinchley (Karloff) after marrying his daughter Amaryllis (Joyce Jameson). They only have one coffin, which saves them money, as Felix Gillie (Lorre) dumps the bodies when he isn’t setting up the death of wealthy clients.
Rathbone plays John F. Black, Esq., the landlord that tries to evict Trumbull but keeps dying and coming back to life, giving soliloquies and dying again. The cat, who keeps waking him up due to allergies, is played by Orangey the cat, who also menaced The Incredible Shrinking Man.
While a fun movie, this one could have really used Corman’s touch. That said I’m a big fan of Tourneur. It wasn’t a big success, but it’s still worth a watch. You might even spot the hearse coach that now is part of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.
This new Kino Lorber release has commentary by film historian Tim Lucas, a feature on Matheson, a trailer and a great looking slipcase. You can get it directly from Kino Lorber.