Tales of Terror (1962) is a triple delight, comprising of the Poe stories Morella, The Black Cat, and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar; technically, The Black Cat has the Cask of Amontillado and something else blended in as well.
Morella is on the bland side for me, I found myself wandering and not really watching it. The set was a normal Corman set, over-done cobwebs, house on the cliffside, waves splashing, then the super-imposed fire burning the roof at the end. I get the reusing of sets to help with budget, but at least, like with other films, change stuff around a little. Obviously, not my favorite in the trio.
The Black Cat on the other hand is quite fun. Peter Lorre plays a great drunk, Montresor Herringbone. The nightmare is my favorite scene, the low-fi effects adds to the B-level of this short. Herringbone’s delirium tremens of reptiles is an interesting addition. Then suddenly we get a taste of Tell-tale Heart with him hallucinating his wife and Fortunato Luchresi’s voices when he goes into the cellar with the police.
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar is the perfect ending to this collection of tales. I’m not familiar with the Poe story (I know, how can it be?) so this is a great way to be introduced. The Gothic elements are on point. Basil Rathbone as Mr. Carmichael the cruel antagonist is fantastic; I’ve always had a strange infatuation with him, stemming from his role as Sherlock Holmes. Debra Paget has that ear-shattering scream that causes the hair to rise.
This collection of short movies is fantastic, though not all of them tickled me, I still give it 4 out of 5 Stars.