From Beyond The Grave

SEPTEMBER 27, 2007


Today I bought Warner Bros’ new box set titled The Twisted Terror Collection. I only wanted 3 of the movies (Deadly Friend, Dr. Giggles, and Someone’s Watching Me!) but for an extra 5 bucks I got 3 others. Nothing wrong with that. One of the three was From Beyond The Grave, an Amicus Anthology with folks like Donald Pleasence and Peter Cushing. And since I blew away my entire horror movie watching time before work trying to 5 star "Psychobilly Freakout" on Guitar Hero II (which I eventually did, thank you very much), I had to watch something ‘light’ at work instead. Grave fit the bill, due to its PG rating.

Like all anthology movies, the parts are greater than the sum. The first story, involving David Warner and an evil mirror, is too rushed to be effective. At one point he just walks up to a girl he’s presumably never met and says “Let’s get out of here.” “My place?” she asks. “You have roommates,” he replies. How the fuck does he know that? I mean, yeah, he IS David Warner and thus no woman would turn him down, but still.

The 2nd is my favorite, because a. it takes its time and b. stars not only my beloved Donald Pleasence, but also his daughter, who looks a bit too much like her old man. I also notice that young(er) Donald resembles John Hodgman, one of the funniest men alive. This story has a delightful twist at the end that I also enjoyed.

The 3rd story is also good, but the connection to the wraparound story is rather forced and thin. Still, hiring a Carol Kane-esque medium to rid you of an “elemental” who haunts you by apparently attaching wires to random household objects and flinging them around your parlor makes for a perfectly enjoyable tale.

The 4th is also pretty weak, though mercifully brief. A guy buys a big door (?) and then replaces his standard closet door with it. Now it leads to a room with a pirate who.... I have no idea. It ends with the door being chopped up, which harms the pirate. Or something. It’s stupid.

The funny thing about the movie is how despicable everyone in it is, and not just because they’re British. Every single protagonist scams Peter Cushing’s antique shop owner, and the supporting players in their respective tales are no better. And the film wraps up by having some low rent thief try to rob Cushing, before getting impaled on a rather poorly designed chest. Then Cushing talks directly to us, and the movie ends.

By the way, I am just kidding about the Brits being despicable. In fact, had I not killed my two hour HMAD time at home before work playing Guitar Hero, I would have watched a Hammer film, from a nice little 8 film set I just picked up. Like Italian horror, I haven’t seen too many British horror films, but those I have I mostly enjoy (the amazing Raw Meat being a recent example). There always seems to be a nice amount of dry humor sprinkled in throughout the film(s), which is a nice bonus since I don’t particularly get scared by horror movies very often. I’d like to have SOME emotional outburst during the movie!

Anyway, it doesn’t really fit in with the goofy slasher movies that make up the bulk of the Twisted Terror collection, but it’s still a good effort. The two middle stories and watching poor Cushing get repeatedly duped by his customers more than makes up for its other shortcomings.

What say you?


  1. I remember this movie from when I was a teenager. I seem to remember it was an X certificate in the UK, though - dunno where the PG bit comes from. Having said that, I'm not sure if I can remember any real gore.... Spot on about Donald Pleasance's daughter though. Don't you think Asia Argento suffers from the same looks-too-much-like-dad-to-be-pretty problem?

    Did you know the director of this movie also directed The House Where Evil Dwells, which I actually quite enjoyed back in the 80s...?

  2. The X certificate was awarded to any film with horror content by the BBFC back in those days, even if it had PG content. It was so parents knew their kiddies were watching something dissaproving, I guess..


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