From Beyond the Grave – UK, 1973

‘Terror to delight worshippers of the macabre.’

From Beyond the Grave is a 1973 [released 1974] British anthology horror feature film directed by Kevin Connor (Motel Hell; The House Where Evil Dwells; At the Earth’s Core; et al) from a screenplay by Robin Clarke and Raymond Christodoulou, based on stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes (also see The Monster Club).

Produced by Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky, this was the last in a series of anthology films by Amicus Productions. It was preceded by Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1964), Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1970), Asylum (1972), Tales from the Crypt (1972) and The Vault of Horror (1973).

Originally filmed as The Undead, it is also known as The Creatures; Tales from Beyond the Grave and Tales from the Beyond.

Plot:

An anthology of four short horror stories revolving around antiques shop Temptations Limited and its mysterious proprietor…

Reviews:

“Effectively handled horror compendium, above average of its kind, with one of the stories (concerning a haunted mirror) borrowed from Dead of Night.” Howard Maxford, The A – Z of Horror Films, Batsford, 1996

“Despite enthusiastic playing from the star cast, only the second episode is distinctive…” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

” …From Beyond the Grave was surprisingly fresh and enjoyable […] The Pleasence father and daughter team is an absolute delight, clearly having a lot of fun and displaying razor sharp comic timing […] The ending of the film works splendidly…” Ian Fryer, The British Horror Film, Fonthill, 2017

“What’s great about all of these stories is that they are intelligent, well-written, and scary stuff – without resorting to chucking gallons of blood about. The first and last stories may well be ripping off Dead of Night, but as far as I’m concerned, when they’re done this well, that’s no bad thing at all.” British Horror Films

“What makes From Beyond the Grave above average for an Amicus anthology is that all the stories are quite good. The Elemental is a failure, but it’s an interesting failure. The film has a uniform visual style thanks to the excellent photography of Alan Hume, and it possesses a suitable creepy electronic score from Amicus regular Douglas Gamley.” The Celluloid Highway

“Each story […] features a  greedy and prideful protagonist who is flawed but also understandable. Each has some degree of humor, as is typical in the anthology subgenre. Each is also well-filmed, beautifully realized with costumes and sets, and surprising to watch.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers, Lulu, 2012

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” …a flourish of atmosphere and production value; recommended.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“The stories are implemented well and not at all gimmicky, with only “The Elemental” allowing itself to be humorous with winning results. As with most Amicus films, style, good writing and fine acting are more important than graphic violence or gratuity, and the production values are indeed handsome.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

“Cushing makes a great host for the film, playing his part with sinister class, and fun performances from Pleasance, Warner and Ogilvy all help bring some charm to the film. The cinematography is classy and slick from start to finish and the film relies more on atmosphere and clever dialogue than on shocks or gore…” Ian Jane, DVD Talk

“Written with grace, and directed with a good eye by Kevin Connor on a low-budget, it is a treat after the EC movies [Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror], as each story has time to develop.” Andy Boot, Fragments of Fear: An Illustrated History of British Horror Films

“The only failing is the weak linking story, which has to contrive to introduce antique objects that have no other purpose in the episode other than to wind in the second and third stories. The linking story also contains an awkward performance from the usually great Peter Cushing.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“The episodes in Grave, based on stories by R. Chetwyn-Hayes, are crude and obvious. Each punch is telegraphed, each twist is a stranglehold. They overcompensate with blood for their lack of deftness. And the blood is rotten quality: dark, transparent stuff.” Richard Eder, The New York Times, 1975

“The first and fourth segments involving the mirror and an antique door that comes with its own haunted room – aren’t quite so good. But as tales from graves and crypts go, these go quite far enough.” Roger Ebert

“Perhaps it’s the low budget, but From Beyond the Grave is a little half-hearted and shows lack of inspiration, but it was amusing enough if you were keen to see all the Amicus portmanteau chillers, and the cast were excellent value.” Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image

“The production value are excellent – this is certainly the best looking Amicus film, and the use of colour, particularly in the final story, is inspired. The second story is by far the best – well paced and with a genuinely claustrophobic atmosphere, it benefits from incredible performances by Ian Bannen Donald Pleasance )both of whom are all highly-strung nervousness) and Angela Pleasence.” David Flint, Ten Years of Terror, FAB Press, 2001

“As usual there’s one really good episode (a remarkable sub-Pinter piece on witchcraft with a stunning performance from Angela Pleasence), but the others are at best average. And the linking story, with Cushing manning an antique shop, is feeble even by Vault of Horror standards. ” David Pirie, The Time Out Film Guide

“In all, a fun film packed with meritorious character actors. Though very little is actually scary or shocking, it’s nevertheless colorful and by right of telling four tales, swiftly paced.” Weird Wild Realm

Choice dialogue:

The Proprietor (Peter Cushing): “I hope you enjoy snuffing it.”

The Proprietor (Peter Cushing): “Oh dear. The love of money is the root of all evil.”

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