Amicus are famous for the anthology films, and that’s hardly surprising since they made so many. The majority of the anthologies they made are entertaining, and I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a bad one; Asylum, The Vault of Horror and The House That Dripped Blood usually, and rightly, are the highest regarded among the films that Amicus made. From Beyond the Grave is one of the lesser known anthology films; but don’t let that faze you, because this collection of four short horror tales is good fun, and while I cant say this is the best Amicus omnibus, it’s definitely up there! These films usually feature some sort of creepy wraparound story, and the one here focuses on an old antique store. Not very original, but the store is staffed by Peter Cushing (complete with dodgy accent!) so I could forgive the lack of originality. Cushing antique shop owner doesn’t like it when people try and rip him off, but plenty of his customers do; and they all come a cropper when they discover the terrible secret of the item they’ve just bought (or robbed) from his store!
These films don’t usually put the best story first, and this one doesn’t either. The first tale, titled “The Gate Crasher” stars David Warner and has a sort of Hellraiser feel about it, as he buys an old mirror from the antique store and it turns out to be inhabited by a ghost like thing that entices Warner into bringing it fresh blood. It’s not a bad story, though I feel that more could have been made of it. Story number two is the best and focuses on a man who steals a war medal from the antique store to impress a former army man and ends up getting more than he bargained for. This tale is very strange and stars Donald Pleasance in one of his weirder roles. It’s imaginative and inventive, and therefore interesting as it’s impossible to tell where it’s going. Story number three, “The Elemental” is a fun little story, though there isn’t really a great deal of point to it. The fourth and final tale would appear to be the centrepiece and focuses on an old wooden door that gives way to an expansive blue room. This is a decent little story and we get to watch Lesley-Anne Down wielding an axe, which makes it worthwhile. Overall, From Beyond the Grave is everything an anthology should be: it’s fun and interesting in the right places. There’s plenty of plot holes, but also no need to pay them any mind. From Beyond the Grave comes highly recommended to horror fans!