HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Comedy of Terrors, The Sole Coffin
Year: 1963
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Joyce Jameson, Joe E. Brown, Beverly Powers, Basil Rathbone, Alan DeWitt, Buddy Mason, Douglas Williams, Linda Rogers, Luree Holmes, Orangey
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) is, it's safe to say, an unorthodox practitioner of the undertaker's art. For example, he only has one coffin which he reuses, waiting for the mourners at the funerals to leave and then tipping out the body with the help of his assistant Felix Gillie (Peter Lorre) so that they can fill the plot with earth and scurry off with the empty casket. But Waldo is not a happy man, for his home life is something he must endure with his failed opera singer wife Amaryllis (Joyce Jameson) who berates him daily, and his deaf old coot of a father-in-law (Boris Karloff)...

Nope, nobody is happy in this supposed comedy, none of the characters at any rate, for although Gillie is in love with Amaryllis, there precious little other affection to be found here. This was another example of how assembling a dream cast of seasoned pros did not necessarily guarantee a fine entertainment, as with Richard Matheson's script backing them up that cast tended towards the hammy to keep the mood up. Of course, with this lot that was no bad thing, as watching legends like Price, Lorre and Karloff, joined by Basil Rathbone too, let their hair down and behave badly was undeniably amusing.

It's just that even for a black comedy this was a meanspirited and heavyhanded affair, relying strongly on the charms of the stars but failing to back them up with much in the way of witty lines, though the situations were solid enough. Looking for all the world like a spoof of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe cycle, even featuring a premature burial as one of its chief storylines, this did share some of the main players in his creative team, but was actually directed by Jacques Tourneur who had wound up at A.I.P. where he would essentially be ending his career. Tourneur had a history of excellent horrors, but his comedy skills were rather more questionable.

So the atmosphere was morbid and macabre, but that didn't translate into big laughs no matter how much Price rolled is eyes and smacked his lips at the intentionally overripe dialogue - he was really doing a lot of the comedic heavy lifting here. The main gimmick to the narrative was a good one: the undertakers, seeing how bad business is, turn to murder to improve their lot, breaking into houses of the elderly (Gillie has a past as a burglar, but remains reluctant nevertheless) whereupon Waldo will smother them with a pillow and just happen to be passing when the body is discovered. This works out fine for the evildoers the first time we see them try it, but that success is not going to last.

This is down to the choice of their next victim, Rathbone's Black who is their landlord and demanding money from them - a lot of money that Waldo does not have. The solution? Well, he's getting on so why not bring about hs demise? The answer to that is not just because murder is immoral, but that it causes a massive headache for the undertakers for Black suffers from catalepsy, so when they think he's dead he really is not. Rathbone is the most fun here, spouting Shakespeare as he wields both sword and axe, driven loopy by his experience, but really everyone here puts a lot more energy into the movie than perhaps it deserved (or needed). Jameson has a running gag about her singing being positively ear-splitting, Karloff has an entertaining bit delivering the service and messing it up, Lorre is a convincing sad sack, and Price's Herculean efforts keep things afloat, but the trouble was that strain did show. So appreciate it for the cast: fans of these classic perfomers would enjoy it for their interplay. Music by Les Baxter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3343 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: