Synopsis: Anthology film from Amicus adapted from four short stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes strung together about an antique dealer who owns a shop called Temptations Ltd. and the fate that befalls his customers who try to cheat him.
Stars: Peter Cushing, Ian Bannen, Ian Carmichael, Donald Pleasence, Angela Pleasence, Lesley-Anne Down, David Warner
Director: Kevin Connor
Running Length: 94 minutes
TMMM Score: (6/10)
Review: As previously covered in my reviews for Cat’s Eye and After Midnight, anthology horror was big business for a while because of the compactness of storytelling. Instead of having an actor commit to a long shoot of a film, producers could sign a star name for one chapter of their film…an appealing concept that would benefit a studio looking to promote their film and stars that wanted to make some easy money. Though it’s mostly died out now, no one really did anthology horror like the Brits and From Beyond The Grave is a nice (if tame) example of the golden age of the genre.
Every anthology collection has to have a through-line that weaves the stories together and From Beyond the Grave utilizes one of the better ones with a well-known star of classic horror. Cushing is the proprietor of an antique shop off the beaten path of a London street that attracts all kinds of customers. Following four purchased items and their new owners, we get tales of terror that run the gamut from ho-hum to genuinely spine-tingling.
Best of the lot features the father-daughter duo of Donald and Angela Pleasance as they play a part in the downfall of a put upon family man. Angela is fairly frightening and quite effective as a seemingly simple woman that possesses a dark side. Another nicely done segment involves a wacky psychic attempting to rid a stuffy man of the demon that haunts his aura. It has a light touch to it that balances nicely with its sinister edge lurking beneath the surface.
The other two stories are fine overall but are a bit too familiar to be as interesting as the middle two segments. Warner (Waxwork) plays a man haunted by a ghost in an old mirror for the first tale while Ian Ogilvy and Down are a couple who find that the antique door they purchased from Cushing opens into the room of a killer wanting to get out.
None of the proceedings are truly terrifying or on par with some of the classic horror films from Hammer Studios (basically any Christopher Lee Dracula film) but the experience of watching the movie has an old-fashioned kick to it. Maybe it’s best reserved for the fraidy-cats in your family that shirk away from overly scare fare or for those (like me) that enjoy seeing what thrilled audiences back then.