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  From Beyond the Grave Antiques Horrorshow
Year: 1973
Director: Kevin Connor
Stars: Peter Cushing, Ian Bannen, Ian Carmichael, Diana Dors, Margaret Leighton, Donald Pleasence, Nyree Dawn Porter, David Warner, Ian Ogilvy, Lesley-Anne Down, Jack Watson, Angela Pleasence, Wendy Allnut, Rosalind Ayres, Tommy Godfrey, Ben Howard
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: This little old man (Peter Cushing) runs an antique shop in a dark alley, so you have to know what you're looking for if you want to find it. And there's no use trying to pull the wool over his eyes, as he's pretty shrewd although you won't find that out until... maybe until it's too late. One chap who strikes a bargain with the proprietor is Edward Charlton (David Warner), but he thinks he has the best of the deal when he buys a valuable mirror for peanuts. However, as with many of the goods in that shop, there's more to it than meets the eye...

This was the last of the Amicus anthology horrors unless you counted the swan song of The Monster Club around five years later, by which time they were already looking out of date. Nowadays, there's something almost quaint about them, and this was one of the most stilted of the lot. Based on stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes (as was The Monster Club) and adapted by Raymond Christodoulou and Robin Clarke, it's one of many fans' favourites of the series, suggesting that they were perfecting the formula through plenty of practice.

However, the tales remain curiously provincial and most fail to take off and fly, never mind truly chill anyone over ten years old. The antiques the characters take from the shop may play a part in half the stories, but for the other two they are barely relevant. The first is one of those where the object is essential, but one is left wondering that if it was imploring Edward to kill, which he does to feed the spirit inside it (renowned eccentric Marcel Steiner in a rare screen appearance), why doesn't he simply send the thing back to the shop before he turned to murder?

Probably because there wouldn't be a film if he did. Next up is possibly the best as far as the performances go, with businessman Mr Lowe (Ian Bannen) bothered by his nagging wife (Diana Dors) and the respect he can't find from anyone. No one until he meets street peddler Donald Pleasence, a humble, saluting yet sinister ex-serviceman who looks up to Lowe, eventually inviting him home to meet his equally unsettling daughter (Angela Pleasance in a neat bit of casting). The daughter appears to know voodoo, so could she assist Lowe in his home troubles?

Then there's the weakest, most humorous story with Ian Carmichael catching the attention of a medium (Margaret Leighton) on a train who he takes home with him to perform an excorcism on the "elemental" he has acquired. Last is the most ambitious instalment where Ian Ogilvy buys a door from the dealer, sets up up in front of a cupboard in his study but then discovers to his concern that if he opens it at certain times a whole new room is there - with its own door which keeps creaking open. The special effects make this one memorable and it's not a bad way to end. 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. Music by David Gamley.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Kevin Connor  (1937 - )

British director, a former technician, who helmed some cult movies in the seventies such as From Beyond the Grave, Trial By Combat, Motel Hell and four Doug McClure features: The Land that Time Forgot, At the Earth's Core, The People that Time Forgot and Warlords of Atlantis. Despite going on to make other theatrical films like The House Where Evil Dwells and Sunset Grill, he became prolific in television, with episodes of Space: 1999, Remington Steele and Moonlighting to his credit. He also gave us underwater miniseries Goliath Awaits, a Frankenstein adaptation and the unintentional laugh fest Diana: Her True Story.

 
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