“Tales of Terror” is an anthology narrated by Vincent Price. The film was released in 1962. The movie was produced and directed by Roger Corman and written by Richard Matheson. This is the fourth Corman/Poe/AIP production. There are three stories representing four short stories by Poe.
Lenora Locke (Maggie Pierce) returns to her home after being away for 26 years. She had been sent away by her father (Vincent Price) after the death of her mother Morella Leona Gage). Her father is still in mourning and an alcoholic. At first he rejects his daughter blaming her for the death of her mother. After awhile he learns that his daughter is dying. They begin to make amends, however the spirit of Morella is not at rest. She blames her daughter for her death and now that Lenora is back she will have her revenge.
"The Black Cat"
Montresor Herringbone (Peter Lorre) is a lush. He berates his wife Annabel (Joyce Jameson) constantly and spends all their money on wine. One evening he sees a wine tasting event. He goes in and challenges the wine expert, Fortunato Luchresi (Vincent Price), to a contest. Herringbone gets drunk as usual. Luchresi escorts him home and meets his wife, the lovely Annabel. After awhile Annabel and Luchresi become lovers. When Herringbone finds out he kills Annabel and entombs Annabel’s body and Luchresi alive in a basement wall. However, Annabel’s beloved cat manages to best Herringbone and avenge his mistress’s death.
"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" M. Valdemar (Vincent Price) is dying. He hires Mr. Carmichael (Basil Rathbone), a hypnotist, to alleviate his pain by the use of hypnosis. On his death bed Carmichael puts him in a trance and refuses to release him. His body is dead but his mind lives on. He is between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Valdemar begs Carmichael to release his soul so he can die. Carmichael refuses. Month after month as Valdemar's body begins to rot his mind is in the control of the hypnotist. Carmichael refuses to release Valdemar’s mind unless Valdemar's wife Helene (Debra Paget) marries him.
152 cats auditioned for the role in “The Black Cat”. Although the role went to a professional cat, seven cats were chosen as understudies. The story “The Black Cat” is an amalgam of Poe’s stories “The Black Cat” and “The Cask of Amontillado”. The movie is in the comedy/horror genre. I found it creepy enough to lie more on the horror side of things than the comedy. Even “The Black Cat” had an ending that was just plain eerie. I’m not big on anthologies, but Roger did a good job on these.