Tales of Terror

Synopsis: Three stories adapted from the work of Edgar Allen Poe. A man and his daughter are reunited, but the blame for the death of his wife hangs over them, unresolved. A derelict challenges the local wine-tasting champion to a competition, but finds the man's attention to his wife worthy of more dramatic action. A man dying and in great pain agrees to be hypnotized at the moment of death, with unexpected consequences.
Director(s): Roger Corman
Production: American International Picture
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
89 min

This is the beat of a human heart.

Sit very still and listen.

Is your heart beating in this same rhythm?

You are experiencing

the heartbeat of a dying man.

And it is with death and dying

that we concern ourselves.

What happens at the point of death.

What happens afterwards.

What happens after death

to someone who does not

choose to... stay dead?

Someone like... Morella.


Ma'am... I have to get back to Boston.

Yes. Leave the trunk here, then. I'll have

one of my father's servants carry it in.

Yes, ma'am.


Is anyone there?


Who are you?


- What?

- It's Lenora, Father.

You... are my father?


What do you want here?




Are you all alone here?

I was... until you came.

- Father, l came to see you.

- Now you've seen me. Are you content?

That's all? That's all you have to say

to me after 26 years of separation?

- Father, I came all the way from...

- I know.

I know you don't love me, father,

that you put me from your life,

except for 21 years of

board and tuition money.

But I had hoped that we'd enjoy one brief

visit together before I left your life entirely.

I have no way of getting back to Boston

at the moment. May I stay?

Do as you wish.

Morella, my beloved wife,

your murderer has returned.

Get away from her.

Father, has she been lying here

all these years?

Do you hear me?

- Why did you come here?

- Don't touch me!

I'm not a helpless baby this time.

I'll go when l... when I choose.

When I...

Oh, my God! My God!

Why did I come here? Why?

- Try to understand.

- Oh, I understand.

No. You understand nothing.

You understand nothing!

When she died, I died with her.

All that remained of me was this...

this walking corpse,

this shell, this ghost of flesh.

She was my life.

And... I killed her.

- That's it, isn't it?

- Yes!

Oh, no.

No. She thought you did.

She said so on her deathbed.

She was so young.

So alive.

To die just a few months after giving birth

to you - she couldn't accept it.

I hated you.

Oh, dear God, how I hated you!

I wanted to kill you.

I went into your nursery

and I took you out of your cradle

and I almost hurled you

out of the window!

I wish you had.


You're ill.

I have a few months left to live.

We're both dead now, Father.

I'm sorry.

In my 26th year, my father

is finally concerned about me.

Did you ever stop to wonder

just once in all those 26 years

"Where is my daughter?

What is she doing? Is she happy?"


Why should you wonder that?

After all, I'm only your child.

- I'll be leaving very soon.

- Lenora.

- No! No!

- Forgive me. Forgive me.

- No. No.

- Forgive me.

How long have you been alone?

I don't know, Lenora.

Go on, please. What happened then?

There's not much more to add.

It came as no surprise to me

that my marriage ended in failure.

I'd failed before in my relationships

with men, many times.

Many times.

I... cannot give, you see.


How did she die, Father?

How did she die?

There was this party, and...

I knew that she was too weak

to withstand the strain of it.

Yet she insisted.

She had to have this party.

She had to dress up in her finest gown

and dance and sing.

Less than an hour

after the party had begun,

she collapsed.

I picked her up in my arms

and I carried her up to her bedroom.

I put her on her bed.

Her face was white.

Oh, dear God, how white!

She was enraged, furious!

Even dying, she was enraged.

"It was the baby," she said.

She swore she'd avenge herself.

"lt was the baby." She kept saying it

over and over again. "It was the baby!"

And then...

before even the doctor could arrive,

she was dead.

Why did you not bury her?

I did, but l could not leave her there.

I could not.

The thought of

imprisoning her beauty in a box,

of putting her underneath the ground...

I was deranged, Lenora. lnsane with grief.

I only wanted to kill myself.

I almost did kill myself, a dozen times.

I'll never know what kept me from it.

No, I... l could not bury her.

And now?

There's no reason not to do it now.

Will you stay for a while?


I know it's too late to make amends,

but perhaps together

we could find some sort of an answer.


- Then you'll stay?

- If you really want me to.


Then you've come home at last.

At last!

Help me!

Go away... Leave me...

Lenora, what is it? What can I do?

- Lenora, what's wrong?

- Let go...


Oh, no!


How l envy you.


Now you are released.

Come back, Lenora. Come back.


Morella! Oh, my God!

Where's Lenora?

What have you done to her?

All these years I've waited to return.

All these years

I've waited to avenge myself.

And what is it that happens

just before death

which leads inexorably to that death?

Our second tale provides

one roguish answer to that question

in the story of a man who hated a cat:

The Black Cat.

Why don't you watch where I'm going?

Who dat... knocking at the door?



Come down here.

And keep that beast away from me

or l'll kick his head in!

I want some money.

There is none, Montresor.

"There is none, Montresor."

Always lying, it's a fact.

As if l wouldn't know

you had more nest eggs than a chicken.

Get away from me,

you repulsive creature!

And stay away from me!

Where's my money?

There is none, Montresor.

All right.

I'll find it.

Oh! Montresor!

If you don't give me the money,

l have to find it myself.


Oh, I know where it is.

I know.

If I ever catch you again, you mangy,

insufferable brute, I'I l... I'II...

I'll tear your head off!

By the root!

Oh, you won't bite me.

Give me my money!

There is none, Montresor.

You haven't worked in 1 7 years.

Will you?

Has it been that long?

Oh, stop your silly tactics.

What about your sewing money?

- We need that for food.

- Food!

That's exactly what l want it for.

I drink my food!

Give me the money.

Thank you for looking into your heart.

We will starve now. That's all we have.

You've got a lot of money hidden

all around the whole house. I know that.

He was so romantic... once.

I said get out! And stay out!

You pig, you. You... you dog!

How dare you throw me out!

If only l had a pistol.

If I had a pistol, I'd...

I'd probably sell it

and buy myself more wine.

Oh, but really...

After all I've done for her,

she should have given me more money.

There's just no gratitude.

Sir, would you help a veteran

of the Revolutionary War?

Out of my way!

Pardon me, ladies, but could you

spare a coin for a moral cripple?


Do you have some money

for a dying man?

Go sleep it off.

No gratitude.


I want money!

- Scum!

- You dirty money-grubber.

Just no gratitude.

No kindness.

Top of the morning, everybody!

My, what a nice bunch of gentlemen!

Look. Look.


One moment, please.

Gentlemen. Quiet, everybody.

As we promised before,

a treat for everyone.

A demonstration in expert wine tasting

by none other than...

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Richard Matheson

Richard Burton Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013) was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is best known as the author of I Am Legend, a 1954 science fiction horror vampire novel that has been adapted for the screen four times, as well as the movie Somewhere In Time for which Matheson wrote the screenplay, based on his novel Bid Time Return. Matheson also wrote 16 television episodes of The Twilight Zone, including "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Steel". He adapted his 1971 short story "Duel" as a screenplay directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the television film of the same name that year. Seven more of his novels or short stories have been adapted as major motion pictures — The Shrinking Man, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time), A Stir of Echoes, Steel (filmed as Real Steel), and Button, Button. Lesser movies based on his work include two from his early noir novels — Cold Sweat, based on his novel Riding the Nightmare, and Les seins de glace (Icy Breasts), based on his novel Someone is Bleeding. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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