Tuesday, November 25, 2014

From Beyond the Grave (1974)

Director: Kevin Connor

Writers: R. Chetwynd-Hayes, Raymond Christodoulou, Robin Clarke

Composer: Dougals Gamley

Starring: Ian Bannen, Ian Carmichael, Peter Cushing, Diana Dors, Margaret Leighton, Donald Pleasence, Nyree Dawn Porter, David Warner, Angela Pleasence, Ian Ogilvy, Lesley-Anne Down, Jack Watson, Wendy Allnutt, Rosalind Ayres, Tommy Godfrey, Ben Howard, John O'Farrell, Marcel Steiner

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Terror to delight worshippers of the Macabre.

Plot: Anthology film from Amicus adapted from four short stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes strung together about an antique dealer who owns a shop called Temptations Ltd. and the fate that befalls his customers who try to cheat him. Stories include "The Gate Crasher" with David Warner who frees an evil entity from an antique mirror, "An Act of Kindness" featuring Donald Pleasence, "The Elemental", and "The Door".



My rating:  7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

This is somewhat different than a lot of the other horror anthologies of the 60s and 70s in that it feels more mature and without much gore.  Peter Cushing is a welcome sight as The Proprietor, the man who links the stories together via his antique shop.  It's a well-shot film with some really good performances and a few familiar faces.  It just didn't strike me as solid as it tried to be but I think I just need to watch it again some dark night.

THE GATE CRASHER

This story takes its dear sweet time but it's got a great payoff.  I loves me some David Warner and he's great.  Equally great is the gruesome makeup on the man in the mirror.  This segment feels long at around 23 minutes and that's the only thing that hurts it.

AN ACT OF KINDNESS

This one's got Ian Bannen, Donald Pleasence and Angela Pleasence (his daughter).  I dig the London (?) street shooting.  Like the first segment, this one seems to go on too long but it is enjoyable with some very good performances and the ending is fun.

THE ELEMENTAL

This one was odd but with a couple of laugh out loud moments (like when Madame Orloff (Leighton) is contorting Reginald's (Carmichael) face) and a grisly end for someone.

THE DOOR

I dug this one and I just have to have that door.  How badass is that thing?  Awesome!  This segment has more of your traditional Gothic-type of British horror you'd expect.

I can't say enough about Peter Cushing.  This guy was a master actor.  Just watch how he handles that last few minutes with the burglar and especially when he address us, the viewer.  Wow.  It's the pacing that might keep you from really liking this but each story has its own rewards. 

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