Tales of Terror/Twice Told Tales Roger Corman/Sidney Salkow

Nobody in the '60s could deliver chills and thrills as effectively as Vincent Price. Now, these two classic Price-starring trilogies are joined together in a fitting dual-disc marriage. Bringing the short stories of literary greats Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne to the screen, these two films show Price at his peak. Tales of Terror captures the essence of Poe masterfully (something Price was born to do). "Morella" features Price as a man haunted by his wife's unexpected death. When his estranged daughter shows up, he learns to love again just as his dead wife's plan comes into diabolical effect. In "The Black Cat," however, it's the inimitable Peter Lorre who steals the show as a town drunk who loses his wife to an expert wine taster only to murder the pair and suffer the guilt-ridden consequences. "The Case of M. Valdemar" features Price as a dying man hypnotised before his demise and held prisoner by a sadistic doctor looking to steal his wife. The ending of the short film is not only a riveting moment but also an eye-opening scene-stealer where Price melts onscreen. Twice Told Tales is just as alluring, though Hawthorne's tales aren't quite as spooky as Poe's. "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" uses the fountain of youth for disastrous results when a pair of aging scientist friends discovers they can not only become younger but also revive the dead woman they both love. "Rappaccini's Daughter" is the most unique tale on either disc. Beatrice, a young woman with a mysterious condition that prevents her from having contact with living organisms, shares her life with a poisonous plant in her father's yard. When a young man moves in next door, he falls for Beatrice only to learn his love is forbidden, until her father injects him with the same poison that runs through her veins so they can be together. Finally, "The House of Seven Gables" is a ghost story about a cursed house that belongs to a greedy, evil family who stole it from the relatives of the phantom. Price plays the last living male family member, who returns to the house in order to fulfil his gluttonous plan and find the vault filled with riches, no matter what it takes, including his own calculated death. Each of the six tales adapted on this DVD are delightfully wicked and give a perfect example of just how well short film trilogies can work if they involve the right parties. Even more, this collection displays how flexible Vincent Price was in the fields of horror/thriller/mystery, playing all sorts of characters with the utmost precision. (MGM)