What was the best Amicus anthology??

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lordsummerisle8's picture
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Amicus, Hammer's main rival in British horror in the 60's and 70's made 7 horror anthologys between 1964 and 1973. Graced by the performances of both Cushing and Lee which do you think were the best??? My moneys on "Tales From The Crypt". Cushing is excellent as Grimsdyke.



Lamoreux's picture
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... Graced by the performances of both Cushing and Lee which do you think were the best???....

Was a little thrown off by the question because, obviously, both Cushing and Lee were not in all of them. But I think I'm up to speed now. For me, FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE wins out as the all-around creepiest.

Doug



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Lord Summerisle,

I agree that Peter Cushing's performance in "Tales from the Crypt" was excellent, but I thought the film rushed the stories along too much and the linking story was not up there with some of the others.

For me, the best of of the lot is "The House That Dripped Blood" simply because it was the closest that Amicus came to having a linking mechanism (the house) that was of similar quality to the other stories.

This film ironically has Peter Cushing in the worst story, but the others all have their strengths, particularly the one starring Christopher Lee over-protecting his daughter, not without good cause.

It is a well-built up story with more mystery than horror with an excellent atmosphere and some nicely judged performances, especially from Chloe Franks.

With such well-handled direction from Peter Duffell, who was directing his first feature, it is incredible that he never galvanised a career in horror films.

Jon Pertwee is surprisingly good as the horror actor with the more than genuine cloak, and some of the dialogue is nicely ironic.

Just my thoughts,

Leighton Phillips



lordsummerisle8's picture
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I do think "House The dripped blood" is perhaps the most well made. Although I really don't see what the house has anything to do with what happened to its inhabitants. Apparently Vincent Price was approached by Amicus to play Paul Henderson but AIP wouldt release him. If im not mistaken the only anthology that didn't feature Cushing or Lee was "vault of horror" ?
I hope most of you will agree the worst one has to be "Torture Garden" Killer Piano? say no more!! I mean did Robert Bloch really write a story about a Killer Piano?



Rocky2001's picture
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I read that Christopher Lee was originally intended for the part of Paul Henderson, but his desire to shrug off the vampire/Dracula image, plus the fact that the segment was a parody, put him off.

Perhaps they approached VP after that!

Wasn't Tales That Witness Madness an Amicus production as well? - if so, that's another one that doesn't include Cushing/Lee.

I agree with you about Torture Garden - a killer piano will just not do, even if you let your imagination run amok.

I'm not particualrly fussed on the framework story of "From Beyond the Grave" either - there wasn't anything shuddery about Peter Cushing and his shop in that one. Contrast that with the macabreness of the framework story in "Asylum!"

Leighton Phillips



lordsummerisle8's picture
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I hear many people say "From Beyond The Grave" was the best but I don't see it myself. "Asylum" was an inspired framework but could have been so much better. Usually the Cushing segment is the best in any Amicus anthology but id say it was the worst in "Asylum". There may have been more anthologies made that i don't know about.
But I have to say "Tales from the Crypt" is the only one that sends chills down my spine now. Especially the Richard(Robin Hood) Greene segment. His body embalmed but cannot die cuz his drippy misses has used all the wishes up PHEWWWW!!

guest


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That would be THE CREEPING FLESH(1972)....!



Rocky2001's picture
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Lord Summerisle 8,

Yes - Asylum had the potential of being the best of the lot, but funnily enough, the excellence of the framework story merely exaggerates the patchiness of the stories.

The stories with Peter Cushing and Britt Ekland are rather plain-jane, uninspired efforts; the other two, especially Mannakins of Horror are some of Amicus's best work.

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is perhaps the most atmospheric of the Amicus compendiums and is very creepy in parts. Peter Cushing is outstanding and the disembodied hand story with Christopher Lee and Michael Gough is superb.

The problem with Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is the two middle stories - one about a deadly vine and the other about a voodoo curse - they are pretty poor. Also, some of the sets look too studio-bound and cheap.

Regards,

Leighton Phillips



lordsummerisle8's picture
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"Dr Terrors house Of Horrors" was a great vehicle for Cushing but as you say The Creeping vine story was yet another load of ol' hokum. The Creeping Flesh was a great chiller but not an anthology and made by the same ppl behind the groundbreaking "Witchfinder general".
Im sure most of you will agree most of what Amicus churned out was pure hokum. And the xploitational titles of there films didnt help. "I Monster" "And Now The Screaming Starts" "Torture Garden" oh dear.



Lamoreux's picture
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Quote:
Originally posted by lordsummerisle8
[B...Im sure most of you will agree most of what Amicus churned out was pure hokum. And the xploitational titles of there films didnt help. "I Monster" "And Now The Screaming Starts" "Torture Garden" oh dear.

With all due respect, I don't agree at all. All fantasy films, by their very nature, are "hokey" and require a suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience. ANY horror film, regardless of the company that made it, says to its audience, "Okay, here's the one unbelievable thing you have to accept as being true to follow our story." ( With Dracula, you have to temporarily accept the existence of undead vampires, with Jekyll / Hyde, you have to temporarily believe the dual natures of man can be physically split and made ambulatory as two individual humans, etc. etc)
With the Amicus anthologies, the audience is asked to suspend its disbelief over and over again. Here are five completely separate tales of the imagination; and with them, five different unbelievable notions we're asking you to accept. That's a tall order; and I think Rosenberg and Subotsky gave it a valiant try every time out. Certainly some were more successful than others, but overall, Amicus (IMHO) always made a valiant attempt to thrill its audience.
As for the titles of their pictures; lurid horror film titles neither began nor ended with Amicus. Our own Mr. Lee could certainly attest to that. I would have loved to have photographed his face when Hammer handed him the shooting script for the SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA with its' original title DRACULA IS DEAD AND WELL AND LIVING IN LONDON.

Doug



lordsummerisle8's picture
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CL vehemnmetly opposed most titles for his films ie "I monster" and "Dracula Has Risen from the grave".
Ok i knew id be in for a b********* just my own opinion though and I dont think Subotsky or Rosenberg could touch Hammer with a barge pole. There success in my opinion was due mainly to the performances of PC and CL in there films.



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... I dont think Subotsky or Rosenberg could touch Hammer with a barge pole. There success in my opinion was due mainly to the performances of PC and CL in there films.

If you'd said their success was due to the presence of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, coupled with the fact that Amicus made films specifically designed to look like Hammer films, I'd COMPLETELY agree with you. There's no doubt they attempted to emulate the Hammer product. And there's little doubt that's why they were successful.
But, your original comment wasn't about their success; it was about their content. I completely respect your opinion, but still hold to mine. All fantasy films, from THE BIRDS, to KING KONG, to the ISLAND OF THE BURNING DOOMED are, on the surface, hokey. That's the whole point; "Here's my eight dollars, take me someplace I've never been, and let me leave safely two hours from now!"
Whether or not a film is successful is completely different then whether or not it's good. I think Corman's MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is great. I think Corman's WASP WOMAN is crap. Both were made by the same company. Surely, one director isn't better than the other?

Doug



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If you'd said their success was due to the presence of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, coupled with the fact that Amicus made films specifically designed to look like Hammer films, I'd COMPLETELY agree with you.   There's no doubt they attempted to emulate the Hammer product.  And there's little doubt that's why they were successful.Doug

I'd say the reason why they were successful is because they were entertaining. And, after all, that's what it's all about. But, I think, we all need to admit that this is a very subjective thing. One person's fascination is another's boredom. I know dozens of people for whom The Exorcist is the "ultimate" horror film -- "the thinking man's horror movie." Personally, The Exorcist leaves me cold. Give me The Wicker Man any day.

As for Amicus (and Tigon, etc.) aping Hammer. . . Why not? Nothing succeeds like success. Also, remember that if it had not been for Subotsky and Rosenberg there probably wouldn't have been any "Hammer Horror" at all. Even so, Amicus' concentrating on more "contemporary" settings and on making omnibus films does give their product a somewhat different feel than Hammer's signature period pieces -- not that Hammer didn't produce all sorts of films.

My own favorite Amicus film has to Tales from the Crypt; in large part because of Peter Cushing's perfomance as Old Man Grimsdyke. In fact, I recently saw the film on VHS with my mother. She cried. Cushing's performance still has power and depth almost 30 years later.



lordsummerisle8's picture
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Point taken Doug,
One thing id like to know is did Robert Bloch really write all those stories? I mean can the author of "Psycho" really have written a story about a Killer Piano?
As for Corman he didn't really find his feet until Vincent Price and the Poe series came along.
"Masque" is definately a classic and I really think coupled with "Ligeia" it knocks spots off any Hammer film.



Alfonso Casal's picture
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I mean can the author of "Psycho" really have written a story about a Killer Piano?

Just as much as the author ofThe Shining wrote a story about a killer steam-iron. Actually, an inanimate object infused with a malign intelligence/purpose is a genre staple going back to the 19th century. And, if done well, a rather chilling one at that. Just think of the many Twilight Zone/Night Gallery episodes with similar themes.



Lamoreux's picture
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Quote:

... they were successful is because they were entertaining.  And, after all, that's what it's all about.  But, I think, we all need to admit that this is a very subjective thing.  One person's fascination is another's boredom.   I know dozens of people for whom The Exorcist is the "ultimate" horror film -- "the thinking man's horror movie."  Personally, The Exorcist leaves me cold.  Give me The Wicker Man any day.

My own favorite Amicus film has to Tales from the Crypt; in large part because of Peter Cushing's perfomance as Old Man Grimsdyke.  In fact, I recently saw the film on VHS with my mother.  She cried.  Cushing's performance still has power and depth almost 30 years later.

Absolutely. Well said, Alfonso.

The first time I saw Saint Peter in TALES FROM THE CRYPT, I cried too. (So, I cry at movies sometimes... so what!?)

Doug



Lamoreux's picture
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... did Robert Bloch really write all those stories? I mean can the author of "Psycho" really have written a story about a Killer Piano?...

I've appreciated Robert Bloch's work for years, but if you read a lot of it you'll find he lands a little left of weird. And if you read interviews conducted with him, you'll find he has a sly wit and is not the least concerned about being silly. And, yes, I agree with you. I thought the killer piano was silly! But then again, I'm rather tone deaf.

Doug



lordsummerisle8's picture
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Well you learn somethin new everyday. Never actually read any of the stories ( not that i can't read just get bored to quick ).
Perhaps the written story was much better than the filmed story which is the case with alot of things.



Lamoreux's picture
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Robert Bloch wrote for roughly sixty years, before his death in 1994, including 23 novels and 36 separate short story collections. He wrote everything from Amicus horror films to episodes of Star Trek. He once said of another writer, Fritz Leiber, "When he writes of graves, they always yawn -- but his readers never do." The same could be said for Robert Bloch.

Doug



dvxagent1's picture
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tales from the crypt, creeping flesh, dr terrors house of horrors, did they make horror express, ive seen those, havent seen from beyond, torture garden or house that dripped blood, havent seen skull, or asylum would love to see those i guess tales would be my fave, peter gave a very touching pefromance in it.

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