TALES OF POE
- RELEASE DATE: Now Available on DVD AND Digital HD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Bart Mastronardi, Alan Rowe Kelly, Michael Varrati
- DIRECTED BY: Bart Mastronardi, Alan Rowe Kelly
- STARRING: Caroline Williams, Debbie Rochon, Adrienne King
When I think of Edgar Allan Poe, the first things that come to mind are generally not The Village People, cross-dressers and scream queens; but someone (or ones as the case may be) have gone ahead and combined those things anyway! Let’s dive in and see if that’s a good idea with TALES OF POE!
TALES OF POE tackles three tales by the master of the macabre; The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and Dream Within a Dream, all with new twists and turns.
In the first yarn; The Tell Tale Heart we are introduced to a mental patient (Rochon) who relates the frim tale of how she ended up in such dire straits. You see our heroine was once a nurse to an aging silent film star named Peggy LaMarr…an off putting old bat with an evil blind eye. Things of course turn grim as murder, mayhem, and (possibly supernatural influenced) insanity ensues.
With its gender reversed narrator and bizarre characters, things are off to an off-kilter yet amazingly strong start. The slick visuals and a great neo-gothic location add extra layers of rich atmosphere as well. Here’s hoping the following chapters equal the strength of the opening tale.
Next up is Cask; concerns Fortunato Montresor; a gravely ill owner of a vineyard groom on his wedding day to Gogo. As the day progresses, Montresor and his eccentric guests head into his wine cellar where things get crazy…I mean things are already crazy seeing as how Gogo is played by a man (Alan Rowe Kelly who also co-directed and co-wrote the film and plays Peggy LaMarr in the first story), and the fact that Montresor is played by Randy Jones; the cowboy from the Village People, though sadly not in his familiar attire)…but mostly I’m referring to the strange psychotic episodes brought on by a glowing bottle of wine. What follows is a heady blend of devious deviltry, immolation, and post-mortem revenge!
While every bit as stylish as the first segment; Cask really delights thanks to the performance of Kelly as the villainous, scene chewing, Gogo; a character that delights in murder and being a larger than life evil presence. Also of note are some truly excellent E.C. Comics style visuals and some gorgeous Mario Bava-esque lighting.
Finally we have Dreams, an adaptation of a poem that flowed from the poison pen of Poe. In this segment we follow a character named Dreamer as she flows from one fever dream scenario to the next. This segment will definitely be the most divisive among those that check this flick out. Whereas the first two stories were surreal in some regards; they definitely played out as a traditional narrative; Dreams on the other hand plays out like a filmed nightmare, chock full of screaming demons, surreal locations, and almost no dialog. Many will not be down with the vibe of this one; but I absolutely loved it! As an added bonus, this features three horror biz legends; Amy Steel, Adrienne King and Caroline Williams.
I would highly recommend TALES OF POE based on the hallucinogenic delights of the Dream segment alone, but everything that precedes it is really top shelf as well…all in all just a truly excellent arcane anthology, and well worth your time!