(Correction 10/10/09 -I mistakenly attributed The Monster Club as an Amicus Production in this blog post, which I thought it was for years. After doing a little research for an upcoming blog on the movie I discovered it was in fact NOT an Amicus. Amicus dissolved in mid seventies and The Monster Club came out in 1980. I think the fact that Milton Subotsky made The Monster Club threw me off. Sorry for the confusion.)
From Beyond The Grave from 1973 ended a run of anthology movies put out by Amicus that started with Dr. Terror's House of Horrors in 1965 (The Monster Club didn't come out until 1980 so I don't consider it part of this cycle of movies). Now I remember seeing it back in the high school, either on TV or from the video store, but I didn't remember it all that well. So I sat down, lights off in the middle of the night, to watch it again.
This movie, like Monster Club, takes it's stories from R. Chetwynd-Hayes for it's four main segments. I can sum up the each part like this:
1)The Gatecrasher-It was okay. I liked the idea of a soul trapped in a mirror making a person commit murder to free him. Part of it was badly edited out of sequence in one spot, having David Warner laying in bed wearing a bloody shirt before he's actually murdered the woman whose blood covers it.
2)An Act of Kindness-Confusing. Donald Pleasence is wonderful along side his daughter Angela Pleasence, who is just creepy in this. But the story's payoff doesn't make sense, and I went back and watched it three times to make sure I didn't miss something.
3)The Elemental-Below average. The story, about a man who has a dangerous invisible demon on his shoulder that wants to take him over, is the humorous story to cleanse the palette after the other frights. Felt like an episode of Tales From The Darkside towards the end of their run when they were running out of A type material.
4)The Door- This was actually my favorite segment out of all of them. A man buys a demonic looking door that can open a doorway to a evil man's castle. A negative is it felt too rushed and I wished it could of been developed more, but still out of all of them this was the best.
Peter Cushing is the old proprietor of "Temptations", a sort of antique shop with item that come with a surprise with every purchase. Cushing, who mourned the death of his wife in 1971 to the day he died, looks gaunt and skeletal. You can tell he wasn't taking care of himself, and he even admitted later that he thought of committing suicide out of grief. Still, ever the trooper, he ties these uneven tales together and gives a great performance.
This is not my favorite Amicus anthology, as a matter of fact it probably is towards the bottom of the list, but not as bad a The Deadly Bees. Re-watching it made me realize why I didn't remember it that well, I didn't want to. I collect my favorite movies so I can watch them over and over again, this one isn't going to make my collection.
Just so you know, this DVD doesn't come with any extras, just the movie and the trailer. Something else, like a documentary or commentary, would have been nice. Warner Bros. really went cheap on this, not even having the a original poster as the DVD cover, instead opting for a generic skull that says nothing about the movie.
Below is the trailer from the movie from Youtube.
Until Next Time, Stay Insane!