Tuesday, 10 February 2015

"The Comedy of Terrors" - a UK BD/DVD review.

Arrow films have added “Comedy of Terrors” to their extensive list of Vincent Price titles, which comes to UK Blu-Ray and DVD this month.
For this outing, Price plays an unscrupulous undertaker, Waldo Trumbull, who runs his business with the help of his long suffering assistant Mr Gillie (played by genre veteran Peter Lorre), who he loves to berate at every opportunity.
Having fallen on hard times, partially due to his father-in-law (played by Boris Karloff) squandering the business money on tasteless ornaments and Trumball spending the rest on drink, the two are forced to save money by re-using the same coffin each time and trying to dodge paying the rent.
But when their landlord (Basil Rathbone – old Sherlock Holmes himself) finally demands his dues, Trumball hatches a devious plan to drum up more business, by bumping people off and then offering his services to the bereaved families. But when this fails to generate the revenue he’d hoped, he decides to kill 2 birds with one stone by dealing with his landlord. But he soon discovers that not everything goes to plan and not everyone is as easy to dispense with, and he may have bitten off more than he can chew…
Directed by Jacques Tourneur, who had previously directed “I Walked with a Zombie” and “Cat People”, if you were expecting something along the lines of another one of Vincent Prices Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, you may be in for a bit of a shock as he’s seen here camping it up with his fellow period horror co-stars.
Indeed, Price seemed to be quite enjoying himself insulting the other characters, delivering such cutting remarks as “You’re not very good at anything are you Mr Gillie, apart from Bungling” with lip smacking relish.
The film is being released in a DVD and BD combo pack and contains the usual extensive slew of extras we’ve come to expect from Arrow releases.
Firstly you get an running commentary that accompanies the main feature with David Decoteau (Director – Puppet Master) and film historian David Del Valle, who discuss their love of the film and provide the movie with an effective trivia track.
Then there’s an archive interview feature from 1993 entitled “Vincent Price : My Life and Crimes”, which runs for 51mins, in which Price runs through his movie career with historian David Del Valle, containing clips from many of his classic movies and was actually his last interview before his untimely death later that year.
Next is a look at the films of Jacques Tourneur, entitled “Whispering in Distant Chambers”, which runs about 16mins and follows the directors career from his first movies, up till this one and just beyond as he made only one other feature after this.
There’s also a 10minute archive interview with writer Richard Matheson about the film, which was recorded in 2003. Then lastly there’s the original theatrical trailer.
Now this was actually the first time I’d seen this movie and the only comedy type horror I had seen Vincent Price in up till now was the ill fated 1983 Kenny Everett movie “Bloodbath at the House of Death”, so this 1963 film was a bit of an eye opener for me, but was surprised at just how much I really liked it.
The extras are certainly extensive and added to my enjoyment of the film, in particular the “Life and Crimes” interview, which in my view is worth the price of the disc alone. So Vincent Price fans are definitely going to want to pick this one up.
The film is out February 16th from Arrow films
Buy the UK BD/DVD combo pack from Amazon.co.uk

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