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Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

from beyond the grave review
Anthology of horror tales from Amicus Studios.

Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Kevin Connor

Starring: Peter Cushing, David Warner, Donald Pleasence, Diana Dors, Ian Ogilvy, Margaret Leighton, Ian Bannen

from beyond the grave bluray

Just in time for Halloween, Warner Archive is rolling out some spooky-treats on Blu-Ray! First up we have the 1974 Amicus anthology From Beyond the Grave.

The wrap-around story involves an old man (played by Peter Cushing) who runs a British antique store, filled with curious items. And, of course each item tells a story of horror.

from beyond the grave review

The film includes four short stories: 'The Gatecrasher', 'An Act of Kindness', 'The Elemental' and 'The Door'. I have to say I love horror anthologies even though, generally speaking, they are typically a mixed bag segment wise.

The first story is 'The Gatecrasher', which stars David Warner as a man who buys an old mirror and gets more than he bargains for when he finds a spirit is contained within it. The mirror commands him to feed it victims, and which each body it consumes the spirit becomes more real. The first segment is a pretty solid bit of cheesy horror fun that has a not bad concept, hammy acting and a nice finale. It's always a treat to see Warner try and give this performance some pathos.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Murder! Blackmail! ]

The second segment is 'An Act of Kindness', which finds a business man helping out a poor beggar played by Donald Pleasence. The two strike up a sort of friendship but things get weird when Pleasence's character invites him over for tea. This segment is a great deal of fun and perfectly blends pitch black humour and horror, which harkens back to the old E.C comics of the '50s. This might be my favorite segment of the film.

from beyond the grave review

'The Elemental' tells the story of a man who buys a snuff box, and thanks to a whacky psychic, discovers it contains a demon that is now feeding off him. Like 'An Act of Kindness', this one has a great deal of levity mixed with horror and the performances are delightfully over-the-top.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Toys Are Not For Children ]

Lastly, we have 'The Door', which tells the story of a man who buys a creepy looking wooden door. He soon discovers that after he installs it in his house it opens a portal from beyond the grave. The concept is good but it's not nearly as tongue in cheek as the other entries.

from beyond the grave review

As much as anthologies are hit or miss when it comes to their segments, this one is largely a hit. I love how the stories are largely fun and campy, and perfectly mix spooky, non-mean-spirited horror with a biting sense of humour. Also how can you not love the likes of Cushing, Pleasence and Warner?

Warner Archive rolls out a brand new restoration, which looks great. Sadly, no extras, expect for a trailer. This release is great and makes for fun Halloween time viewing. Consider it a must own.

From Beyond the Grave is on blu-ray October 8th from Warner Archive.

Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”

His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.