The movie An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1970) is a horror anthology film that features Vincent Price reciting four of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, directed by Kenneth Johnson, with music by Les Baxter . The stories included are: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Pit and the Pendulum. The movie was originally produced as a television special and later released on home video.
The Tell-Tale Heart is a story of a man who murders his elderly roommate because of his “vulture eye”. He hides the body under the floorboards, but is haunted by the sound of the victim’s beating heart. He confesses his crime to the police, who arrive at his door to investigate a scream .
The Sphinx is a story of a man who suffers from a nervous disorder and visits his friend in the countryside. He sees a monstrous creature outside the window, which he believes is a sign of the apocalypse. His friend reveals that the creature is actually a harmless sphinx moth, magnified by a telescope [^3^].
The Cask of Amontillado is a story of a man who seeks revenge on his rival, Fortunato, for insulting him. He lures Fortunato into the catacombs, where he claims to have a cask of rare wine. He chains Fortunato to a wall and bricks him up alive, leaving him to die [^3^].
The Pit and the Pendulum is a story of a man who is sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition. He is locked in a dark chamber, where he faces various tortures, such as a swinging blade, a pit of rats, and a burning iron. He is rescued at the last moment by General Lasalle, who invades the castle [^3^].
- Vincent Price as Narrator
The movie was filmed in only three days, using minimal sets and props .
The movie was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program – Variety or Musical – Variety and Popular Music .
The movie was released on DVD in 2003, as part of the Vincent Price MGM Scream Legends Collection .
The movie received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, who praised Price’s performance but criticized the lack of visual appeal and suspense. Here are some excerpts from different websites:
“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe is a great way to experience some of the master’s best stories, but it’s not much of a movie. It’s more like a filmed stage play, with Vincent Price sitting in a chair and reciting the stories to the camera. […] Price is excellent, of course, and his voice and expressions are enough to keep you interested, but the film lacks any cinematic flair or imagination.” – DVD Talk
“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe is a must for fans of Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe, but casual viewers may find it boring and tedious. The film is essentially a one-man show, with Price narrating four of Poe’s stories in front of a static camera. […] The stories are well-chosen and well-told, but the film suffers from a lack of visual variety and tension. It’s more like a radio play than a movie.” – Horror News
“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe is a unique and enjoyable film that showcases the talents of Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe. The film is a simple and effective adaptation of four of Poe’s stories, with Price delivering them with passion and charisma. […] The film may not be very scary or thrilling, but it’s a fascinating and entertaining experience that fans of classic horror will appreciate.” – Classic Horror Film Board