Blu-ray Review: Tales of the Uncanny (2020)

January 27, 2021

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Director David Gregory (Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau) sets his sinister sights on the wicked world of arcane anthologies with his latest documentary effort; Tales of the Uncanny, which comes to us on Blu-ray courtesy of those crafty lil’ minxes o’er at Severin!

Gregory, along with author and founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies Kier-La Janisse, take a chronological journey through the putrid plethora of anthology-style fright flicks that have tickled the fiendish fancy of horror hounds world fuckin’ wide… from the silent era, to the truly suburb Amicus flicks of the shockin’ seventies (and the pictures created by Milton Subotsky after the legendary studio folded), to television (The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, et al.), to Creepshow and it’s descendants… all is paid heed (though some all too briefly, such as one of yours cruelly’s fav anthology films; Joseph Sargent’s 1983 offering Nightmares).

This is bolstered via sound bites from a horrific host of terror-biz luminaries, with some of my all time favs present such as Richard Stanley, Joko Anwar (again, all too briefly), and Joe Dante… a true who’s who of mother fuckers that know the genre back n’ fearsome forth!

As for special features on this release, we get two in the form of a duo of feature-length anthologie fright flicks from ye olden days of the sinful silver screen; namely 1919’s Eerie Tales and 1949’s Unusual Tales.

Eerie Tales concerns the yarns spun by a trio of portraits, featuring a Harlot (Anita Berber), Death (Conrad Veidt) and the Devil (Reinhold Schünzel) to be precise, who come to life after the book store they are hung in closes for the night.

The stories include tales of doomed love, as well as adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Suicide Club… and they all feature top-shelf performances, as well as that good ol’ stylized German Expressionist aesthetic that’s all the rage with barbers between the ages of 23 and 47.

Speaking of Poe, Jean Faurez’s Unusual Tales contains two adaptation’s of the author’s work, The Tell Tale Heart and The Cask Of Amontillado to be precise, as well as two original stories of murder and madness.

The pieces based on the output of Poe’s poison pen are the main draw here, but all said and done, Unusual Tales is a fine fright flick through and through!

All considered, Tales of the Uncanny is a fascinating journey through a much beloved, and well-travelled terror-tory; and should be considered an eerie essential for those looking to learn about the horror anthology genre!



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