This exquisite box set gathers together six of Vincent Price’s iconic collaborations with Roger Corman. These films saw the pair adapt a series of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories for the screen and you won’t find a better example of ‘60s horror than these minor masterpieces. The set contains Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror (featuring Poe’s Morella, The Black Cat and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar), The Raven, The Haunted Palace and in The Tomb of Ligeia. These films don’t just star Price, but they also contain the likes of Barbara Steele, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney Jr and Jack Nicholson.
Vincent Price’s velvet tones have never been better than when he worked with Corman. He adds a sense of depth to proceedings, which again remove it from its horror roots. Price may swerve into camp territory every so often, but oh what glorious territory it is. Price can make even the most ludicrous dialogue sound like Shakespeare and it’s always an immense pleasure to watch him on screen. Cinema (and and not just horror cinema) needs more actors like this.
Corman gives these horror movies a style that belies their low budget roots, giving them a luscious and original look. There’s a commitment to the material which makes it feel as if they were big budget prestige features. Corman uses the simple crux of Poe’s tales and builds stories around them, picking and choosing what he wants. The Haunted Palace for example is H.P Lovecraft tale, set around an Edgar Allan Poe poem but Corman uses a selection of top tier writing talent (like Richard Matheson and Towne) to craft these stories in a way that makes them feel as if they sprung from the pen of Poe.
These six gothic tales deserve to be owned. The films show both Vincent Price and Roger Corman at the peak of their powers, using the work of Edgar Allan Poe as the starting point for a selection of power horror features.
Commentaries, documentaries and remastered movies, Arrow hits the bullseye with how it presents these seminal horror films. These special features add so much to these movies that makes an upgrade from any DVD release essential. The sheer volume and quality of what is on hand here is eye-wateringly good. Don’t just think about buying it – do it.