Director – Kevin Connor (Motel Hell, The Land that Time Forgot)
Starring – Ian Bannen (Braveheart, Speaking of the Devil), Ian Carmichael (The Root of All Evil?, Dark Obsession), and Peter Cushing (Horror of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein)
Release Date – 1974
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Terror to delight worshippers of the macabre”
Everyone that has read my previous reviews know that I absolutely adore horror anthologies especially if they have an interesting wrap around segment. Films like Creepshow, From a Whisper to a Scream, and Hi-8 are some of my favorite anthologies and it’s the wrap around segments that make them so damn entertaining. When I was in high school a friend of mine grabbed From Beyond the Grave from ebay on VHS.
We fucking loved this Amicus production and watched it all the time. Over the years I was able to grab the extremely bare bone DVD release but I never really got to revisit it. That changed recently when Warner Brothers released the film on blu as part of their Archive Collection line. I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send over a review copy.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows an antique shop owner (Cushing) who sells his wares to different people who all suffer different fates. The first follows a man who convinces the shop keep that the mirror is fake and to sell it to him at a discount. He takes the mirror home and holds a séance with it only to discover that the mirror is home to an evil spirit. The second story follows a man stuck in a dead end job and a rough marriage who steals a medal from the shop and uses it to impress another man. The man introduces him to his daughter who has an ulterior motive and a practitioner of voodoo. The third tale follows a man who tricks the owner into selling him an item at the wrong price and is soon haunted by an evil elemental. The final story follows a man who buys an antique door to use in his home. However, this door is not your normal door and when hung it opens a room created by an occultist that steals human souls. **Spoiler Alert**
I really enjoy this anthology. It may feel a little cheesy to some but with my taste in film I absolutely love it. No matter how many times I see this film I still watching it with my undivided attention.
The acting in this one is superb. The entire cast delivers unforgettable performances. Cushing carries the film. His performance here is so much fun and his character really pulls in different emotions from the viewer. The supporting cast does a fantastic job as well. The characters may not be as entertaining as the late Cushing but they still deliver.
The stories for this one is all strange twists on the Monkey Paw story. Each one unleashing hell on those that bought the cursed items in an unethical manner. It’s a spin that made Tales from the Crypt so popular among readers and works well here. Sure, it does get a little repetitive but not enough to ruin the film. Finally, no blood and gore in this one. We do get some great make-up effects and some chilling moments but those of you looking for practical effects will be very disappointed.
Overall, From Beyond the Grave is essential for horror fans if you ask me. Especially if you love Tales from the Crypt and Hammer horror. The blu from the Warner Archives looks decent but not much of an improvement over the skimpy DVD release. Check it out now.