The Comedy of Terrors

Synopsis: Waldo Trumbull, an undertaker who hasn't had any 'customers' in a long time is forced the pay one year's back-rent. To get money he starts to kill people in order to get new clients.
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Director(s): Jacques Tourneur
Production: American International Picture
Rotten Tomatoes:
84 min

My dear wife, as the

ancient saying goes...

"In wine is truth!"

Insincerity, the mark

of a drunkard!

If you could or would

for one brief moment...

shut that vast,

resounding chasm...

of a mouth, I should

be grateful, madam.

What care you for

the deprivations...

I have suffered in

the name of marriage?

O mariage de convenance.

O cant, O guile, O mockery!

Oh, shut up.

Oh, how can you insult me so?

Very easily, madam.

I have but to listen

to your fatuous brain.

Do you hear his

churlish insults, Father?


Huh? What? What?

Sugar? Yes, here you are.

Oh, whatever possessed

me to marry you?

That is a question I oft

inquire of myself, madam...

to which there is no

satisfactory answer...

save one, perhaps, and that is

that no one else would have you.

Only a man who drinks

could talk like that.

We escape the unendurable

however we can.

How I despise you!

Poor, abused Amaryllis.

You never cared a fig for me.

You only courted me to gain

control of father's business.

What other reason

could there be?

Oh! Did you hear that?

Does he ever?


Huh? What? Huh?

I gave the sugar to you once.


Shall I give him some medicine?

Pretty close.

Merely for purposes of

enlightenment, Mr. Trumbull.

I could have been the greatest

opera singer in the world.

What world?

Would the vocal emissions

of a laryngitic crow...

be qualifications?

Yes, then, perhaps,

you could have been.

What know you of art and beauty?

Tosspot, soak, inebriate!

Your mouth, madam.

Shut it!

Anybody could be proud

to rest in this coffin.

You can't even keep

our heads above water!

Why, you've only had one

customer in the past 9 months.

My father had a thriving

undertaking business...

until you proceeded

to get ahold of it...

and run it into the ground!

Where else?

A thriving business.

The receipts of which he used...

to cram this house

with monstrosities!

If my father chose to spend

his hard-earned profits...

in the collection

of curious objects...

He did more than collect

curious objects, madam.

He also fathered one.

I despise you!

Demon rum will get you yet!

I look forward to that day with

keen anticipation, madam.

Oh, what I wouldn't do to get

her down here as a customer.

Good afternoon, Mr. Tremble.


Will you learn to pronounce

my name correctly?

I said Mr. Tremble.

What in the name of all

that's holy is that thing?


This is the new coffin.

I don't like to see

anybody buried naked.

I don't... I just don't...

No one in their right mind would

be caught dead in that thing.

My coffin.

How gratifying, Mr. Gillie...

to have a master craftsman

in one's employ.

Well, I'm going out

and drink myself...

into a state of stupefaction.

Mr. Trumbull.

Oh, how do you do, Mr. Black?

How nice to see you, sir.

That remains to be seen, sir.

Now if you'll excuse me, I

have a singularly pressing...

A boon, sir.

A trifling matter of

a year's rent in arrears.

Has it been a year?

Each and every unpaid day of it.

Well, what do you

know about that?

And much as I regret

to dun you, dear sir...

it is unhappily

incumbent upon me...

as owner of these premises...

to regard your monetary

dereliction as...

shall we say, inconvenient

to my purposes.

Oh, well, now I...

So vastly inconvenient,

one might add...

that should the debt

remain outstanding...

for as much as 24 hours more...

I fear that... legal

machinery must...

perforce, be set in motion.

And Messrs. Hinchley

and Trumbull...

face the incommodious


of taking up residence

in the street.

In the street?

Have I expressed myself

with clarity, Mr. Trumbull?

With extreme clarity, Mr. Black.

Then we are of one mind...

Our mutual interests in accord.

24 hours, Mr. Trumbull.

Good day to you, sir.

Good day to you...

you penny-pinching old pig.

Mr. Trumbull?

And as for you,

you sniveling...

To forego the glories of

an operatic career for him.

No, no, Cleopatra.

No, no, sweetheart.

Oh, I came up here to...

to get a glass of water.

If... if he continues mistreating

you like that, I'll...

I wouldn't know what to do.


Will you stop that

ungodly caterwauling!

Must have been an earthquake.

Mr. Gillie!

In the parlor.

Drunk again, huh?

John Barleycorn and Hinchley.

They're the partners

in this business.

Time for your medicine, old man.

Oh, thank you.


Do you really think I'm going

to let you poison my own father?

Hope springs eternal

in the human... yes.

Why do you always

take my medicine away?

Don't you care nothing

about my health?

Yes, sit down, Mr. Gillie.

Comfortable, Mr. Gillie?

Well, Mr. Gillie...

I am afraid that it is...

decision time.

Decision time?

Yes, Mr. Gillie.

Business being, once more on

the trembling verge of ruin...

it behooves us to acquire

a bit of income.

Therefore, Mr. Gillie,

it is necessary that we...

venture forth tonight.

Not so soon again!

Yes, so soon again, Mr. Gillie.

What if I refuse?

If you refuse, Mr. Gillie...

which possibility

I find most remote...

however, if you refuse,

Mr. Gillie...

the local constabulary shall

forthwith be apprised...

of sundry illicit peccadilloes...

in which one Mr. "G"

has been involved.


What if I tell them the truth?

And tell them that it was your

idea in the first place?

Mr. Gillie...



I put it to you.

Who, in your discerning


do you think they're

most likely to believe?

Mr. W. Trumbull,

respected citizen...

and entrepreneur of death...

or Mr. Felix Gillie...

wanted fugitive and

confessed bank robber?

I've never confessed!

They just proved it.

One of these days...

One of these days, I...

One of these days

what, Mr. Gillie?


Exactly, Mr. Gillie.


Shall we say...


Midnight it is.

All right.

You are most accommodating,

Mr. Gillie.

Until midnight, then.

He's a perfectly

delightful old gentleman.

Owns a fleet of merchant vessels

operating out of Boston.

He and I enjoyed a most

delightful afternoon...

of conversation together

at the White Bull Tavern.

Later on, I walked him home.

Lives in a marvelous old house

out there on Winkle Road.

Wait till you see it!

Well, come on.

- I have an idea.

- What?

I'll wait for you right here.

Mr. Gillie, without

your cunning fingers...

how should I gain entrance?

Come on!

All right.

Get to work.

You know, the next time they

catch me with these tools...

it can be 30 years.

It's no wonder they

caught you the last time.

You're probably

the most inept...

house breaker in

all of New England.

That's true.

Did you try the knob?

No, why?


Quiet, quiet.

Pardon me.


I didn't mean to do it.

If they didn't hear that...

they must all be as

deaf as old Hinchley.

I didn't mean to.

Come on.

I don't like this.

What are you doing?

- Quiet. Get up.

- My foot...

- Get up.

- Your foot, my fingers.

Get up.

Come on.

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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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