Tales of Terror (1962)

tales of terror poster 1962 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

The Black Cat

Morella, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Tales of Terror

Studio:  American International Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 4, 1962

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated



Morella—An estranged named Lenora Locke (Maggie Pierce) returns to her dying father (Vincent Price) who blames her for her mother’s death.  When Lenora learns that her mother’s body is in the house, Lenora learns Morella wants to live again.  The Black Cat—Montresor Herringbone (Peter Lorre) is a drunk with a special taste for wine and a bored wife (Joyce Jameson).  When Herringbone introduces Annabelle to Fortunato Luchresi (Vincent Price), Herringbone discovers Fortunato Luchresi and Annabelle are having an affair…but a black cat could have the last word.  The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar—M. Valdemar (Vincent Price) is dying, but a powerful hypnotist named Mr. Carmichael (Basil Rathbone) holds him in a place between life and death.  With M. Valdemar as his prisoner, Carmichael refuses to free him unless Carmichael’s wife Helene (Debra Paget) agrees to marry him.


How’s hanging with my wife now?

Directed by Roger Corman, Tales of Terror is part of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films.  Following The Premature Burial from 1962, Tales of Terror adapts “Morella” (published in Southern Literary Messenger in April 1935), “The Black Cat” (published in The Saturday Evening Post on August 19, 1843), “The Cask of Amontillado” (published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in November 1846), and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (published in The Broadway Journal and American Review:  A Whig Journal in December 1845).

Vincent Price was one of the kings of horror.  With his genuine charm, he can turn a bad movie into a winner…but charm can only go so far and sometimes Price even gets taken by another actor…that is the case of Tales of Terror.


Cat…you’ll be the death of me!

The film is pretty unbalanced.  “Morella” is ok, but the story is somewhat dull with a bad ending.  Likewise, “The Facts of the Case of M. Valdemar” also kind of misses its mark…though I do like the ending with M. Valdemar ending up a pile of goo…for no real reason.   The winner of the film is “The Black Cat” which actually combines two Poe stories into one…It primarily feels like “The Cask of Amontillado” with the ending of “The Black Cat” thrown in.

I love Price, but Peter Lorre steals the show.  He is always such a great weasel and his performance is always pitch perfect…I love his segment.  The movie also has a fun appearance by Sherlock Holmes actor Basil Rathbone who was starting to wind down his long career.


I’ve been slimed!

What is unfortunate about Tales of Terror is that it has that Corman cheapness to it.  It is obvious low budget, but fortunately, the budget limitations are aided by the strong acting.  None of the stories really rely on special effects (but it is also why the last film’s melting Vincent Price just doesn’t work).

Anthology films are great fun.  With multiple stories, you often get at least a couple stories you like and one stinker.  Tales of Terror is no different in that effect…but you actually end up with probably one and half good stories.  “The Black Cat” is a fun story and worth the price of admission, but both “Morella” and “The Facts of the Case of M. Valdemar” just aren’t quite up to par.  Corman followed Tales of Terror with the Poe film The Raven in 1963.

Related Links:

The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

The Premature Burial (1962)

The Masque of Red Death (1964)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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