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American Horror Stories: 12 Movie Collection [3 Discs] (DVD)

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    Synopsis

    Includes:
  • House on Haunted Hill (1958), MPAA Rating: PG
  • A Bucket of Blood (1959)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1960), MPAA Rating: NR
  • The Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)
  • Nightmare Castle (1965)
  • Point of Terror (1971), MPAA Rating: R
  • Horror Express (1972), MPAA Rating: R
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night (1973), MPAA Rating: R
  • Don't Look In The Basement! (1973), MPAA Rating: R
  • Drive-In Massacre (1974), MPAA Rating: R
  • Driller Killer (1976), MPAA Rating: R
  • Don't Answer the Phone (1980), MPAA Rating: R

    House on Haunted Hill
    A perennial favorite of the "Shock Theatre" TV circuit, House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as sinister gent (you're surprised?) Frederick Loren, who resides in a sinister mansion on a sinister hill, where seven murders have occurred. He makes a proposal to several strangers, offtering $10,000 to anyone who can last the entire night. Loren festively gives each of his guests a tiny coffin containing a loaded handgun, designed to protect them from the spooks that emerge in the house over the course of the night. The picture hinges on its surprise ending, which packs in several by-now-familiar twists. When originally released to theaters, House on Haunted Hill was accompanied by one of those gimmicks so beloved of producer/director William Castle: the gimmick was "Emergo," and it involved a prop skeleton that "emerged" from the side of the screen at a crucial moment to frighten the audience. Like most of Castle's best films, House didn't really need the gimmick, but its presence added to the fun -- especially when second- and third-time viewers responded to "Emergo" by bombarding the skeleton with popcorn and empty soda bottles. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    A Bucket of Blood
    A fine example -- perhaps the best available -- of "B"-movie overlord Roger Corman's "Weekend Wonders" from the producer/director's early career (see also the original Little Shop of Horrors), this horror-comedy was also the first of beloved actor Dick Miller's dozen-odd portrayals of the character Walter Paisley. A geeky waiter and busboy at a happening Beatnik café, Walter is intensely jealous of the swinging social lives of the artistic types who hang there. A bizarre twist of fate changes everything; when Paisley accidentally kills his landlady's cat, his frantic attempts to hide the body lead him to encase it in a layer of clay, creating a morbid sculpture -- which is eventually discovered and hailed as an artistic triumph by the unwitting Bohemian art crowd. (When asked what he's named the piece, the befuddled Walter stammers, "Uhh... Dead Cat?") Beset by numerous requests for similar "truthful" works, the moronic Paisley is forced to find inspiration -- a matter which is readily solved when a nosy undercover cop tries to slap a heroin-possession charge on him and finds himself on the business end of a cast-iron skillet. Before long, the creative urge prods Walter to narrow the competition by whacking his peers with various blunt or sharp implements, and the demand for more sculptures just keeps growing. Miller's tour-de-force performance, writer Charles B. Griffith's hilarious "Daddy-O" dialogue, and Corman's emphasis on the story's more lurid aspects raise this bargain-basement production (ultra-cheap even by Corman's standards) to classic status. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Little Shop of Horrors
    Perhaps the greatest movie ever shot in two days, Little Shop of Horrors was originally conceived as a followup to Roger Corman's black comedy A Bucket of Blood (1959). Jonathan Haze plays Seymour Krelboin, a schlemiel's schlemiel who works at the Skid Row flower shop of Mr. Mushnick (Mel Welles). Experimenting in his spare time, Seymour develops a new plant species that he hopes will lead him to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the mutated plant -- named Audrey Junior, in honor of Seymour's girlfriend Audrey (Jackie Joseph) -- subsists on blood and human flesh. It also talks, or rather, commands: "Feed Me! FEEEEED ME!" Before long, the luckless Seymour has fed his plant the bodies of a railroad detective, a sadistic dentist, and a flashy trollop. Meanwhile, Mr. Mushnik, who has stumbled onto Seymour's secret, has inadvertently offered up a burglar (played by Charles Griffith, who also wrote the script and supplied the plant's voice) as a midnight snack for the voracious, ever-growing Audrey Junior. (When the plant blooms, the faces of its various victims are reproduced in its flowers.) Ignored on its initial release, Little Shop of Horrors began building up a cult following via repeated TV exposure in the 1960s. By the mid-1970s, it had attained classic status, spawning a big-budget Broadway musical (and followup feature film) in the 1980s and a Saturday morning cartoon series in the 1990s. Enhancing the original Little Shop's reputation was the brief appearance by star-in-the-making Jack Nicholson as a masochistic dental patient (Nicholson is often incorrectly referred to as the star of the film, though in fact he barely receives billing). Much as we love Nicholson, our vote for the most memorable Little Shop cast member goes to the ubiquitous Dick Miller ("No thanks, I'll eat it here"). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    The Bloody Pit of Horror
    Ex-Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay plays the thick, musclebound host for the evil spirit of the notorious "Crimson Executioner," a sadistic Italian Baron in whose former castle Hargitay and a collection of sexy models are staging a Gothic-themed photo shoot. Before long, the sweaty brute is hauling the poor lasses into the dungeon to have at them with a wide assortment of torture devices. The film's ad slicks proudly proclaim this Euro-cheapie as being "Based on the works of the Marquis de Sade." Although this statement is pretty unlikely, it's still hard to refute: Who's to say a movie depicting the torture of numerous scantily-clad ladies isn't something the Marquis wouldn't heartily endorse? Authentic or not, it's certainly a sleazy little film, notable only for the novelty presence of Hargitay (Jane Mansfield's husband). Video-seekers can take their pick from a wide assortment of alternate titles: Bloody Pit of Horror, The Crimson Executioner, The Scarlet Executioner, Virgins for the Hangman and probably half a dozen others. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Nightmare Castle
    Known in U.S. distribution as Nightmare Castle, this eerie Gothic thriller offers two Barbara Steeles for the price of one. Steele first portrays the wife of a deranged scientist (Paul Muller) whose latest experiments involve electro-stimulation of human blood. When the mad doctor discovers his wife is having an affair, he tortures, disfigures and kills her alongside her lover, then removes and preserves the hearts of the victims, using their blood to restore youth and beauty to his own lover. When the madman discovers that his late wife left all her wealth to her mentally unstable sister (Steele again, a blonde this time), he quickly sets about courting and marrying the poor girl, then proceeds to drive her completely mad in order to inherit her fortune. It may be an easier task than he predicted -- too easy for comfort, in fact -- since the honeymoon is attended by the spectral presence of the murdered lovers who have risen from their own ashes to avenge their deaths. This film's pervasive feeling of impending doom is aided by shadowy, low-contrast cinematography and a robust score from Ennio Morricone, and features a riveting performance from Steele, whose large eyes pierce the screen with dangerous beauty. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Point of Terror
    In this low-budget drama, an aspiring rocker makes bad choices in his desperate bid for stardom. His first mistake is to agree to dump his loyal lover and embark upon a tawdry affair with a music publisher's wife. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

    Horror Express
    This horror science-fiction thriller, a cult favorite, takes place in 1907. Professor Caxton (Christopher Lee), a fossil-hunter has discovered some sort of pre-human creature frozen in ancient Manchurian ice. He is traveling to London with his find on the Trans-Siberian Railway and is horrified to discover that his frozen man is missing, and corpses and zombies are appearing all over the train. It turns out that the frozen specimen is an alien with some unusual powers. The combined forces of Professor Caxton, his rival Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing), and a Cossack captain (Telly Savalas) are needed to save the world from this monstrous being. Skillfully told, with a good dose of humor, this film also features the train which appeared a year before in Nicholas and Alexandra . ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

    Silent Night, Bloody Night
    The secrets of a small New England town are violently exposed on Christmas Eve in this proto-slasher shocker. The owner of the long-abandoned Butler estate is desperate to sell, and dispatches his lawyer from New York to negotiate its purchase by the town council. Meanwhile, an inmate from a nearby insane asylum breaks loose and makes his way to the old mansion to take bloody revenge for a crime kept hidden for 35 years. The maniac makes mysterious phone calls to various prominent citizens, telling them that "Marianne" has returned, and lures each to the Butler house to meet their doom. The mayor's daughter, Diane, receives a visit from a man who claims to be Jeremy Butler, the mansion's owner, in town to investigate his lawyer's disappearance. Together they attempt to unravel the sinister mystery of the Butler house, which turns out to be a harrowing tale of incest, insanity and mass murder. Cult favorites Mary Woronov and John Carradine are featured in the cast of this eerie thriller, which also includes cameos from Warhol Factory legends Candy Darling and Ondine. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi

    Don't Look In The Basement!
    One of the first of several horror films with "Don't" leading the title, this gory low-budget thriller takes place in an experimental hospital for the criminally insane, where the pioneering director allows several patients to act out their twisted fantasies (which involve necrophilia, paranoia and popsicles). When a new staffer shows up, things start to go haywire -- beginning with the bloody axe-murder of the doctor himself and leading to a total takeover of the asylum by its most dangerous inmates. The acting is horrendous, the sound is incoherent and the color is so cheap-looking that some theaters were issued black-and-white prints... but somehow the intrinsic sleaziness generated by the threadbare production manages to lend it a remarkably suitable ambience. Instead of vanishing into obscurity, this quirky little potboiler became a staple on the early-70's drive-in circuit, thanks to Hallmark Films' frequent double-bill bookings with Wes Craven's Last House on the Left (even borrowing the logline "Keep telling yourself: It's only a movie...") and Mario Bava's Bay of Blood. Some video versions are missing most of the graphic violence from the original cut. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Drive-In Massacre
    Basically the final act of Peter Bogdanovich's Targets stretched to feature length (and without any redeeming subtext), this weak slasher thriller involves a psycho who stalks unsuspecting moviegoers with a variety of sharp implements, particularly a massive sword, during a drive-in screening of a cheesy western. This naturally leads to various scenes of necking patrons being shish-kebabbed with the weapon of choice. Although this might have been an amusing novelty when actually shown at a drive-in, it's just a dreary mess on home video, making the otherwise terse 80-minute running time seem like three hours. One trivial point of interest is the behind-the-camera participation of familiar "B"-movie character actor Buck Flower, who collaborated on the screenplay. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Driller Killer
    Iconoclastic filmmaker Abel Ferrara made his directorial debut with this gory but fascinating horror tale about a troubled artist (played by Jimmy Laine, aka Abel Ferrara). Haunted by bizarre hallucinations and the fear he'll end up a wino like his father, the artist eventually snaps and begins taking out his frustrations on a growing number of homeless people, attacking them with a power drill. In time, his violent obsessions get worse and he begins attacking people closer to him, including an art dealer and a woman he's been dating. Ferarra also wrote several of the songs performed by a punk rock band in the film; he gained greater notoriety with his next film, the cult item Ms. 45. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Don't Answer the Phone
    This mix of drama, camp, and brutal violence is anchored by the performance of Nicholas Worth. Worth plays Kurt Smith, a sweaty, balding maniac who strangles women with a stocking, raping and mutilating them during and after death. A Vietnam veteran, Smith prowls the streets of Hollywood posing as a photographer, then sells his violent porn to sleazy smut-peddler Sam (Porky's star Chuck Mitchell). At home, Smith lifts weights and tells off his dead father, whose abuse was obviously one cause of his mania. Sometimes he calls the radio show of psychiatrist Lindsey Gale (Flo Gerrish), posing as a Puerto Rican named Ramon and asking for advice about his headaches. Dedicated cop McCabe (James Westmoreland) has no luck solving the case until Smith murders one of Dr. Gale's patients, in an unforgivably sick scene. The patient (Paula Warner) was molested by her father, which Smith overhears. When he breaks into her house that night, Smith ties her up while cooing, "Daddy loves his little girl," and pouring hot wax on her as she cries into her teddy-bear. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

  • Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Jonathan Haze - Seymour Krelboin
    • Image coming soon
      Jackie Joseph - Audrey
    • Image coming soon
      Mel Welles - Gravis Mushnik
    • Image coming soon
      Dick Miller - Fouch
    • Image coming soon
      Myrtle Vail - Winifred Krelboin
    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.