Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review Of THE COMEDY OF TERRORS By Frankie Franken

Hello, everybody! Wow, can you believe it's only five days to Halloween? Last night when we were all hanging out at the Mad Doctor's Halloween party, somebody mentioned this film, and I've decided to review it today for our 31 Days Of Halloween post. The Comedy Of Terrors, made in 1964, is one of the old AIP Gothic movies directed by Roger Corman. Most of these were straightforward Gothic horror based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe (a great classic author that we in the Monster Shop all adore), but this film is a departure from those movies, and creates a great blend of comedy and horror.

The Comedy Of Terrors is set in the Victorian era, and tells the story of a hard-drinking undertaker named Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) who despises both his beautiful wife (Joyce Jameson) and his senile father-in-law (Boris Karloff). Trumbull has found a unique way to drum up business for his funeral home, which has fallen on hard times. With his ex-criminal assistant Felix Gillie (Peter Lorre), Trumbull sneaks into people's homes and poisons them, then takes on the funeral arrangements to keep himself in business and booze. However, Trumbull's landlord John Black (Basil Rathbone) is demanding rent money, so Trumbull decides to use his new business practice on him and collect all his wealth, despite Gillie's protests. Unfortunately, there's a little problem: Mr. Black won't stay dead, which leads to lots of slapstick efforts in an attempt to put Mr. Black down for the count.

This film is a witty and wacky Gothic comedy with a cast that's a quadruple threat. Rathbone, Karloff, Lorre and Price in the same movie--four of the coolest classic horror actors to ever hit the screen: how could anyone not like this movie? With a great Shakespeare-flavored script by genre legend Richard Matheson, Price very nearly steals the show in his comic-villain role of Trumbull, and Peter Lorre is a great foil for Price as his put-upon sidekick Gillie. If you can catch this one at your favorite rental store, you've got to see it. To quote my vampire Grrl-friend Bethany, this one has my highest recommendation for the Halloween season, and all of the other AIP Gothic movies are cool too, so rent a bunch of them, call your friends and have an Edgar Allan Poe movie marathon!

We're almost to the Big Day, so stay tuned with us for The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween! See you later!

Frankie Franken