17th Feb2015

‘Comedy of Terrors’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone | Directed by Jacques Tourneur

COMEDY_OF_TERRORS

If you are anything like me and were told that the cast of a film was Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone you’d be handing over your money to see it without question.  Add to this cast a director like Jacques Tourneur famous for films like The Cat People and Night of the Demon and this has classic written all over it.  Arrow Video have released Comedy of Terrors on Blu-ray and DVD, while it may not be a perfect film, there is a charm that is undeniable and infectious that make it hard not to fall for.

In Comedy of Terrors Vincent Price plays the role of Waldo Trumbull who partners with Peter Lorre’s Felix Gillie as funeral directors who have come upon a drought when it comes to work.  When their landlord John Black (Basil Rathbone) orders Trumbull to pay a years’ worth of owed rent the pair have to find money and fast.  Turning to murder as a way to drum up some business it’s not long before Trumbull’s gaze falls upon Black and way to kill two birds with one stone.

There is no doubt that this is somewhat of a dream cast, especially with Boris Karloff as Hinchley the old father-in-law of Trumbull, add to this Joyce Jameson as Trumbull’s wife, a tone-deaf opera singer who constantly shrieks her way through the movie and there is constant chaos on the screen.  While Price is excellent and Rathbone tends to steal every scene he is in there is a certain feline member of the cast (Rhubarb) who tends to gather more attention than the rest of the cast, even getting its own little offshoot story at the end of the film.

As much as I love Peter Lorre it is obvious that he wasn’t healthy during the making of the film and there are obvious stunt stand-ins throughout the film when close-ups aren’t required.  Listening to the commentary by David Del Valle and David DeCoteau you learn that Lorre would die months later, which is tragic especially with the amount of pain he was in.  However much he was said to be suffering though the chemistry between Price and Lorre is still very much there and they will always be remembered as a dream pairing so there is still somewhat of a tribute to the actor who has never been forgotten.

Included on the disc by Arrow Video are the usual documentaries and interviews as well as the above mentioned commentary.  An interesting inclusion is the alternative cut of the 1987 David Del Valle/Vincent Price interview Vincent Price: My Life and Crimes which takes a look at the actors career highlights.  Price is always an interesting man to listen to and the interview is very well done, and very enjoyable for Price fans.  As always Arrow Video have provided a wealth of extras that film history fans will love.

With an excellent picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray and a film that still stands up today as being fun and entertaining Comedy of Terrors is something of a treasured classic.  It was a film that came at the end of some of the actors (and the director’s) careers and they may have been past their prime, but Comedy of Terrors is a film that is like a fine wine and has aged very well.  I’m sure Vincent Price fans and fans of classic horror in general will no doubt buy this whatever critics and reviewers may say, but I for one recommend this as a must buy anyway.

****½  4.5/5

Comedy of Terrors is available on dual format Blu-ray and DVD now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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