From Beyond The Grave/Review

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< From Beyond The Grave

Downbeat and less sensational than Amicus Films’ other anthologies—Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of HorrorFrom Beyond The Grave’s connecting thread is Temptations Ltd., a small curio shop located in an off the beaten path industrial section of London. Jam packed with oddities—everything from a human skeleton to a stuffed alligator, the shop’s goblin-like proprietor (Peter Cushing) is open to negotiating price: but you better treat him fairly! What could a mirror, a medal, a snuff box and an ornate door have in common? Everything: each will provide our hapless shoppers with a gateway to malevolent souls, spells, and creatures unknown.


In the “The Gate Crasher,” the first of four tales, Edward (David Warner) acquires an antique mirror only to discover that it’s really a window through which an ancient undead serial murderer looks out. Edward succumbs to the spirit’s cravings for blood—murdering several people, and moves closer to insanity. How will it all end?

"An Act of Kindness" tells the story of Christopher (Ian Bannen) a well-meaning but beleaguered husband whose nagging wife (Diana Dors) is as much a challenge as his snickering young son. A chance meeting with a beggar (Donald Pleasence) and his “willing to obey” daughter changes everything for Christopher. Will it be for the better or for the worse?


“The Elemental” is played for comedy. Reggie (Ian Carmichael) is on a train when a kooky woman named Madame Orloff (Margaret Leighton) says she sees an invisible creature on his shoulder—sucking his blood. When Reggie arrives home strange things begin to happen. Madame Orloff is called, she performs a furniture-flying, house shaking exorcism, and the invisible spirit is set free. But was it really?

The final installment “The Door, posits an interesting question: What would happen if you bought an antique door but sometimes when you opened it, it revealed another room in another time? That’s for William (Ian Ogilvy) to figure out. Will he enter and discover another dimension and the people who inhabit it? Or will he and his girlfriend remove the door and take it out to the junk yard?


Director Kevin Conner and screenwriters Raymond Christodoulou and Robin Clarke have created a collection of subdued short stories devoid of accoutrements. From Beyond the Grave is a film designed to stir rather than jolt. Remember: every used object has a history!


Josiah Howard is the author of four books including Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide (now in a fourth printing). His writing credits include articles for the American Library of Congress, The New York Times and Readers Digest. A veteran of more than one hundred radio broadcasts, Howard also lectures on cinema and is a frequent guest on entertainment news television. Visit his Official Website.

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