What Price Poe?

Edgar Allan Poe as an author and poet was more diverse than he is often given credit for; among his material includes wry satire, proto-science fiction, the earliest examples of the modern detective story, and more besides. Still, it’s his morbid imagination and horror which he is most remembered for, and any particular copy of his complete works will likely see stories like The Fall of the House of Usher or poems like The Raven consulted more frequently than stuff like, say, The Businessman or Maelzel’s Chess-Player.

This has been only reinforced by the choices made about which of his material to adapt to other formats. Cinematically, for instance, American International Pictures managed an interesting string of adaptations of Poe stories in the 1960s, directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. A weird exception is The Premature Burial, which Corman started without AIP’s involvement – and thus didn’t cast Price in, because he was an AIP exclusive – only for AIP to buy out the production to keep Corman’s Poe adaptations exclusive to them.

I’ve previously covered The Haunted Palace here, which is the other exception in this run because it’s not actually based on a Poe story – it borrows the title and a couple of lines from one of his poem’s, but is one of multiple adaptations of Lovecrsft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Here I’ll cover the rest of the Price-and-Corman Poes from the era. Continue reading “What Price Poe?”

Quoth the Kitty, “Nevermeow”

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

Italian horror is a deep well, and several different companies have done well dredging it. Leading the pack in the UK market is Arrow Video, whose blu-ray releases of various classics of the field are generally excellent restorations of movies who sometimes haven’t been preserved all that well.

One of their oddest concepts for a bundle release of late is Edgar Allen Poe’s Black Cats, bringing together two movies – 1972’s Your Vice Is a Locked Door and Only I Have the Key and 1981’s The Black Cat – whose only common feature is that they purported to be riffs on the Poe story, despite not really being that similar at all. Having reviewed a decidedy smoochypaws-relevant giallo yesterday, now’s the perfect time to take a look at these.

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key

Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) is a wealthy novelist who lives in a big villa. He likes to relax by inviting over the libertine biker hippies who live in a nearby commune for drunken parties which degenerate into him waffling about his dead mother, sexually and racially abusing his maid Brenda (Angela La Vorgna), humiliating and bullying his wife Irina (Anita Strindberg), and then watching as the hippies get their ritualistic freak on.

In short, he is a deeply unpleasant human being who dishes out violence and rape on the women in his home whenever he has a mind to. Things only get more unpleasant and tense when Oliviero and Irina find themselves caught up in a series of murders; first Fausta (Dianiela Giordano), a former student and current lover of Oliviero’s, is murdered at a time she was supposedly keeping an appointment with him, and when the police come asking questions Irina covers for Oliviero by saying he was home even when he wasn’t (he insists he was just delayed due to a flat tire). Then Brenda ends up killed inside the home itself – Oliviero swears to Irina that he didn’t do it, but also insists that they can’t take the matter to the police because they won’t believe he’s innocent, and forces her to help him bury Brenda in the cellar.

Continue reading “Quoth the Kitty, “Nevermeow””