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The Comedy of Terrors
The Graveside Story

USA 1963
produced by
Samuel Z. Arkoff, James H. Nicholson, Richard Matheson (associate) for Alta Vista/AIP
directed by Jacques Tourneur
starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Joyce Jameson, Basil Rathbone, Joe E. Brown, Beverly Hills (= Beverly Powers), Alan DeWitt, Buddy Mason, Douglas Williams, Linda Rogers, Luree Holmes, Paul Barselou, Harvey Parry
written by Richard Matheson, music by Les Baxter

review by
Mike Haberfelner




Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) is a hopeless drunk who runs the funeral parlor of his deaf father-in-law Amos Hinchley (Boris Karloff) together with his associate Felix Gillie (Peter Lorre), who in turn is madly in love with Trumbull's wife Amaryllis (Joyce Jameson), a failed opera singer whose main purpose is to drive Trumbull up the walls, which he returns in kind. Thing is, business isn't going very well, and their landlord Mr. Black (Basil Rathbone) threatens to evict them if they don't come up with last year's rent soon. So they go out to make themselves a customer by killing wealthy Mr. Phipps (Buddy Mason). But while his wife (Beverly Hills) hires them for the funeral services, she then takes off without paying them. So Trumbull comes up with the idea to just kill Black. And even if Gillie totally botches that up, Black dies from a heart attack that night. Black though has a rare condition that renders him in a state of apparent dead to which he always comes to after a few hours. So at Trumbull's funeral home, Trumbull and Gillie soon have their hands full keeping Black dead long enough for the funeral - but he comes to in his crypt and is freed by the cemetery keeper (Joe E. Brown), to return to Trumbull's place with murder on his mind and an ax in his hands - only while trying to kill Trumbull, he dies a few more times, and ultimately is shot dead by Trumbull, who then has to fight it out with Gillie, and is ultimately accidently poisoned with his own "medicine" by his father-in-law ...

 

After the success of the horror comedy The Raven, AIP were quick to put the trio Price-Lorre-Karloff into another horror comedy, very aptly titled Comedy of Terrors, and one thing's for certain, they have lost none of their chemistry when playing off one another, and seem to have had a good time doing so, something that clearly transpires in this film, with especially the conflicting acting styles of Lorre and Price once again being a pretty awesome source of comedy. However, despite the addition of veteran comedian Joe E. Brown and horror mainstay Basil Rathbone in full Shakespeare-quoting mode, the comedy doesn't really take off: Sure, some isolated scenes are hilarious, and the acting is really top notch, but as a whole the story is too convoluted, tries to stuff too much conflict into its 84 minutes of running time, and really lacks stringency. And while Jacques Tourneur is quite probably the most subtle horror director of his day, his approach to comedy is rather blunt and lacks restraint. That all said, this one's still fun to watch, but it's definitely not on a level with The Raven, and also it failed to repeat that film's success at the box office.

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD