Amicus always managed to get great casts for their anthological films especially, and the fact that one or two decent American actors/actresses are present here merely, emphasises the point.
Burgess Meredith plays Dr. Diablo with marvellous relish in the linking story about a fairground charlatan who presides over “the sheers of fate” (held by an actress who can’t keep still!).
Predictably, the stories are of variable quality and, like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, some of the execution is stagey, mainly because the sets are so cheap-looking.
Story 1 about a dead witch who possesses a cat and causes a inheritor to rue his greediness is satisfactorily macabre and entertaining; Story 2 is more mysterious than horrific but the story about androids is, at least, relatively original; Story 3 is a distinctly silly episode about a piano “with a mind of it’s own”, who kills it’s player’s lover; Story 4, however, is the “piece de resistance” about the resurrection of Edgar Allan Poe (wonderful idea by Robert Bloch!). The performances in this story are also worthy of mention – Jack Palance almost puts Peter Cushing in the shade with his eccentric hamminess as a Poe fanatic, but both of them really do bring the best out of the script.
Overall, this compendium has it’s faults but some of it’s excellent acting and inventive script-writing push it to my second favourite Amicus film (behind The House That Dripped Blood).