We are regaled with a re-telling of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado and Dreams.
Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the film is comprised of two of the celebrated writer’s short stories and a single poem. The strongest of which has to be Mastronardi’s turn, helming the opening chapter of the anthology, The Tell-Tale Heart. Troma favourite Debbie Rochon steals the show with her on-point narration and fabulously uninhibited performance as the live-in nurse driven insane by the still beating heart of her slain employer.
As the anthology rages on, the bar set by story one unfortunately falls by the wayside, and by its conclusion never rises nor even comes to close to a match. Is it because Cask and Dreams lack the chilling simplicity of Heart? Perhaps… Still, with Poe’s immortal words as a constant guide the remaining chapters never stray too far from their collective path.
There are a few most welcome cast surprises along the way, such as Desiree Gould, Aunt Martha of 1983’s gender-bending slasher classic Sleepaway Camp, and the seldom seen Adrienne King, Alice of Friday the 13th (1980). I do have to extend a big fat kudos to the movie’s poster designer as it harks back to Lucio Fulci’s 1981 classic The Beyond. Lucio also released his adaption of Poe’s short story, The Black Cat that very same year.
Never judge a book by its cover, or in the case of Bart Mastronardi & Alan Rowe Kelly’s horror anthology Tales of Poe, never judge a movie by its trailer. …Seriously, I’m not kidding. Someone needs to change that fucker. Although I dare say that this movie probably wouldn’t have been such a pleasant surprise without it…