Twice-Told Tales

Three of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories are adapted to the screen in this horror anthology starring Vincent Price. Price plays the lead role in all three shorts ranging in topic from the Fountain of Youth, Shakespearean love, and family curses.

In the first tale, Vincent and his fat friend discover a water-like substance that has the power of renewal. Both friends end up partaking the water which results in them looking 20 years younger. Being very happy about this, the fat guy decides to try the magic water on his wife who has been dead for 38 years. It works, she comes back to life only to reveal that her and Vincent were lovers. This played out a lot like you would expect an episode of Tales from the Crypt to be. Not bad, not good, kinda cheesy, but in its own way fairly entertaining.

In Rappaccini’s Daughter, Vincent plays a doctor (once again) who has been feeding his daughter a mysterious plant that makes her touch deadly (think grim reaper style). Outside of that, the plot plays out like a Shakespearean love story. A boy spots Rappaccini and falls in love. Vincent decides to let his daughter be happy so he takes the boy and treats him with the same plant. The boy tries finds a “cure”, which he does but it kills him. Rappaccinni kills herself. Vincent kills himself. And that was the greatest story ever written…

In the third short, at some point in history Vincent’s family was cursed for a shady real-estate deal. The DVD box says an unthinkable curse, but I was thinking it was quite logical. Vincent and his wife return to his old family house in which his sister resides. He had been away for some 17 years. The wife finds out about the curse and begins to be haunted herself. She is determined to get to the bottom of the curse which leads her into the cellar. The wife finds a map to a vault which leads to the deed of the house and the family inheritance. Vincent kills his sister (he is greedy) and then traps his wife inside a grave. Real nice guy that Vincent. He tracks down the vault and opens it. A skeleton hands reaches out and kills him. His wife and the guy whose family was wronged escape as the house collapses.

Pretty bland anthology from start to finish but Vincent is enjoyable as always. I would imagine younger viewers being put off by the cheap looking sets.

The director, Sidney Salkow, went on to work with Mr. Price in the next film on my list, The Last Man on Earth.

Snore Factor: ZZZZ

IMDB 1963

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