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Tales from the Tomb [10 Discs] [DVD]

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$24.99
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Overview

Synopsis

The Ghost
The alluring presence of doe-eyed horror icon Barbara Steele enlivens director Riccardo Freda's passable sequel to his own Horrible Dr. Hichcock. Steele returns as Cynthia, the troubled widow of a sadistic murderer and necrophiliac, who had once conspired with her lover to murder her husband before she could become the next of his tortured playthings. Unfortunately for her, you can't keep an evil man down, as proven by the sudden appearance of the doctor's vengeful ghost. All is not quite as it seems, however, as we learn that the menacing apparition is somehow linked to Steele's mysterious housekeeper. A workmanlike effort from the otherwise capable Freda (I Vampiri), this film plays like a less stylish retread of Diabolique. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Bat
This fourth film version of the Mary Roberts Rinehart-Avery Hopwood stage chestnut The Bat is so old-fashioned in its execution that one might suspect it was intended as "camp" (though that phrase wasn't in common usage in 1959). Agnes Moorehead plays mystery novelist Cornelia Van Gorder, whose remote mansion is the scene for all sorts of diabolical goings-on. The "maguffin" is a million dollars' worth of securities, hidden away somewhere in the huge and foreboding estate. Vincent Price is seen committing a murder early on-but he's not the film's principal villain. Others in the cast include Gavin Gordon as an overly diligent detective, and former Our Gang star Darla Hood as a murder victim. The Bat was adapted for the screen by its director Crane Wilbur, himself a prolific "old dark house" scenarist and playright. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Head
A horror film of dubious taste, a least for the early '60s when it was released, this Gothic tale about transplanted heads comes from Germany and is directed by Victor Trivas. Prof. Abel (Michel Simon) has invented the miraculous "Serum X," and with it he successfully keeps a dog's head alive after the rest of the canine is quite dead. When the able Prof. Abel dies, his assistant, the odd Dr. Ood (Horst Frank), keeps Abel's head around -- but not for old times' sake. Dr. Ood is in love with a hunchbacked nurse (Karin Kernke) and he wants Abel's head to help him out with a novel transplant operation. Dr. Ood wants to take the body of a stripper (Christiane Maybach), snip off her head, and put the nurse's head in its place. Unfortunately, nothing goes exactly as he plans. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

The Monster of Venice
This low-budget Italian production (originally titled Il Mostro di Venezia, or The Monster of Venice) features a psychotic would-be mortician -- clad in a monk's cassock and a death mask -- who effortlessly navigates the catacombs beneath the canals of Venice in order to stalk attractive female prey, later preserving his victim's bodies with embalming fluid for display in his subterranean dungeon. The film's would-be hero is a journalist who races to stop the fiend before the heroine joins his taxidermic collection. The only known feature from writer-director Dino Tavella, this sleazy-looking but basically tame thriller was a perennial drive-in fave, often paired with the equally inept horror quickie The Screaming Skull. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Devil's Messenger
Satan sends his newest most seductive minion back to the earthly plane to search for new recruits in this horror compilation from an unsold Swedish television series No. 13 Demon Street that stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Devil. Each of the beautiful hellcat's victims dies in interesting ways, including the one who sent her to hell in the first place. He too becomes a worker for the big-D, who gives the couple the formula for nuclear weapons with the instructions that they are to pass it around. They do so and soon Hell is filled to the brimstone with tormented souls. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory
A school for wayward girls is plagued by mysterious attacks by a strange beast. This low budget, melodramatic horror film has several shadowy characters who are suspected of being werewolves. The girls really are wayward as they wander off into the nearby forest every time the moon is full. A wolf, a girl, and three men meet their demise at the claws of the unknown throat ripper. Terror grips the campus as the search continues for the murderous monster. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

Horrors of Spider Island
This German-Yugoslav coproduction first surfaced in 1960 under the title Ein Toter Hing Im Netz. Egyptian leading man Alex D'Arcy plays a talent agent who escorts seven gorgeous chorus girls to a club date in Singapore. En route, their plane crash-lands in the ocean. D'Arcy and the girls make their way to a seemingly idyllic island, where they come across a huge spider's web-and the dessicated body of a scientist. The giant spider sinks its teeth in D'Arcy, turning the poor fellow into a werewolf! Then the fun begins, depending upon your idea of fun. Released in America to general distinterest in 1962, It's Hot in Paradise fared no better a few years later, when it was recut and retitled Horrors of Spider Island. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

I Eat Your Skin
Schlock producer Jerry Gross rescued this previously-unreleased 1964 clunker (originally titled Voodoo Blood Bath from utter anonymity, saddling it with a meaningless (but cute) new title for a now-legendary drive-in double bill with I Drink Your Blood. Whereas its companion film has gained a sordid reputation for being one of the first films ever to be branded with an "X" rating by the MPAA solely for graphic violence, this limp zombie nonsense bears no such mark of distinction. The story is set on a lush tropical island where a writer (William Joyce) arrives in search of material on voodoo legends for his latest novel. He eventually stumbles onto the secret laboratory of a mad scientist whose experiments with reversing the aging process have been turning his native subjects into bug-eyed, papier-mâché-faced zombies. Despite this daunting side-effect, the doc goes right on with his experiments, zombie numbers keep growing, and the natives are growing seriously restless. So restless, it turns out, that they are prepared to sacrifice the scientist's pretty daughter (Heather Hewitt) in retaliation. Not even silly enough to be amusing, this one is just plain dull. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Beast From Haunted Cave
Director Monte Hellman (who would later direct a young Jack Nicholson on two low-budget westerns) earned his low-budget wings on Filmgroup's bizarre fusion of hostage/crime thriller and big-rubber-monster flick -- a quirky juxtaposition employed to similar effect 35 years later in From Dusk Till Dawn. The story begins with a team of gold thieves hiding out in a ski resort cabin after a heist, taking two people hostage as they prepare to smuggle their loot across the Canadian border -- unaware of the giant, icky-looking spider-monster lurking in a nearby cave, which preys on anyone unlucky enough to stumble near its lair. The film's woodland exteriors add a richness lacking in the typical dusty desert settings of this film's genre contemporaries. The cobwebby monster is played by Chris Robinson, later the star of General Hospital. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Last Man on Earth
In a post-epidemic nightmare world, scientist Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only man immune to the plague which has transformed the entire population of the Earth into vampire-like creatures. He becomes the monster slayer that vampire-society fears. Curing one of them, Ruth (Franca Bettoja), with a transfusion of his blood gives him hope for the future. It is a short future, however, since the other vampires quickly find and kill him. This dark tale, based on Richard Matheson's even darker novel "I Am Legend," was later remade as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston in the Vincent Price role. ~ Lucinda Ramsey, Rovi

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