Halloween Horror Binge: Day 4: Three Cases of Murder (1955)

Most horror fans I know have a love/hate relationship with anthology films. The one friends discussed the most was Trilogy of Terror (1975), but only the “Amelia” sequence with the Zuni doll terrorizing Karen Black. Creepshow (1982) eventually stood out, likely because of the gross-outs and the humor and--of course--Stephen King. It would be a few years before I saw older anthologies. 

I think I was less interested in anthology films, not for their uneveness, but because there was so much similar TV happening: Tales from the Darkside, Monsters, the revivals of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Amazing Stories, Tales from the Crypt, etc. 

Three Cases plays out like episodes from a British Twilight Zone. The first sequence involves entities living eternally in museum paintings who trick others into the paintings or trick them into something potentially worse. The second features a love triangle that reads as a very British Tales from the Crypt episode, but with no gore. The movie is bereft of on-screen violence or any gore. In the last sequence, a proto-Freddy Kreuger attacks Orson Welles. Alan Badel, the only actor that appears in all three segments, plays a political rival who seems to be able to enter Welles’s dreams and humiliate him, the same way Welles does to others on the floor of Parliament.

Supposedly Welles couldn’t help himself and co-directed his own sequence.

Not essential as horror, but a somewhat spooky display of classic storytelling. This is a movie that I would have loved to have watched with my grandmother who introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock when I was in grade school. Maybe when my kids are a few years older, I can watch this with them. I try to share everything with the ones I love, including murder.

 

Tomorrow: I’m watching film shorts on the weekends. For Saturday, I’ll look at two horror shorts with young women protagonists: “I Love Sarah Jane” (2008) and “Fry Day” (2018).



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