Twice-Told Tales (1963)

Twice-Told Tales is a trio of horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each story stars horror maestro Vincent Price, and this allows the man to show his range in a series of different roles throughout the film. All of Price’s roles allow him to show his dark side, but it’s the way that he is allowed to show this that makes each one stand out. Vincent Price is my favourite horror actor, and he’s arguably the best ever. The fact that he stars in each segment of this film is reason enough alone to see it. The fact that every tale is good is another one. In true omnibus style, the first story is the least memorable; but it’s still well worth seeing. We follow two friends who discover a virgin spring in the crypt of one of their loves. This story is good because it follows the ever-present dream of ever-lasting life. The way that the plot builds is somewhat predictable, but still good as we get to see the great horror master turn his performance around from do-gooder to something more sinister. Not the best opener to an omnibus film; but a long way from the worst.

The second story is by far the best and, in a way, it’s a shame that this story was a part of the omnibus. The second tale is a fairytale horror story of love, protection and madness and follows the tale of an overbearing father that takes steps to ensure that his daughter doesn’t sin like her mother did. This story is a variation on the classic ‘Romero and Julliet’ story, and takes in all the tragedy of that tale by its conclusion. Tale number two is highly original and would make this film worth viewing even if the other two tales were absolute rubbish (which, of course, they’re not). The third and final segment is the weakest of the trio, but still manages an excellent Gothic style and a solid story. The reason it’s the weakest is mainly because it’s really slow; but once it gets started, this tale of greed, witchcraft and murder provides a satisfying end to this trio of stories. With a running time of two hours, Twice-Told Tales is a very long omnibus; and it could have done with being a bit shorter. However, this doesn’t harm it too much, and if you’re a fan of sixties horror, and/or Vincent Price, this will be a must see.