Twice- Told Tales

Three times the Price

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated dvd & blu-ray -

Re­lease Date: 18 May 1963 | 12 | DVD Direc­tor: Sid­ney Salkow Cast: Vin­cent Price, Joyce Tay­lor, Se­bas­tian Cabot, Brett Halsey, Bev­erly Gar­land, Richard Den­ning

Three adap­ta­tions of tales by nine­teenth cen­tury Amer­i­can writer Nathaniel Hawthorne make up this hor­ror an­thol­ogy, which could be mis­taken for one of Roger Cor­man’s pic­tures of the era, in that it stars Vin­cent Price and is “tightly” bud­geted.

First story “Dr Hei­deg­ger’s Ex­per­i­ment” is prob­a­bly the best. Price is the friend of the tit­u­lar doc­tor who dis­cov­ers a wa­ter sup­ply that ap­pears to re­store youth, but of course there’s a shock in store – which pro­vides the movie’s most mem­o­rable im­age. Silly but fun.

Even dafter is “Rap­pac­cini’s Daugh­ter”, in which Price plays a sort of twisted Alan Titch­marsh, in­oc­u­lat­ing his daugh­ter with poi­son so she can never leave his gar­den of ven­omous plants. Like its pre­de­ces­sor, it’s shot on a cou­ple of cramped sets, but has a mod­icum of twisted ap­peal.

Fi­nal tale “The House Of The Seven Gables” con­cerns a fam­ily curse that here man­i­fests it­self by fright­en­ing a lady in a spooky house. This much- com­pressed adap­ta­tion of Hawthorne’s novel still man­ages to feel a lit­tle slug­gish, with the ex­citable sound­track writ­ing cheques that the script can’t cash. It’s es­sen­tially an old- fash­ioned scare story, and em­blem­atic of its en­com­pass­ing film. By the end of the ’ 60s th­ese sorts of gen­teel, stately US hor­ror films would be blown away by the new wave – a shame, but ab­so­lutely in­evitable.

Ex­tras: Just an im­age gallery. Rus­sell Lewin

Vin­cent Price also starred in a 1940 film of The House Of The Seven Gables, which didn’t have a su­per­nat­u­ral an­gle.

Price’s at­tacker had seen bet­ter days.

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