Tales of Poe (2014) Film Review: Classic Literature Meets the Modern Anthology Film

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TALES OF POE is a unique new spin on Poe’s most popular stories (The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado & Dreams), woven together in a compelling and suspenseful anthology that is captivating for Poe enthusiasts and horror fans of all genres.

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Tales of Poe is a freshly modern re-telling of stories from the originator of American horror. Edgar Allan Poe’s work has spawned over 330 film adaptations since 1908. If you look into some of the older cinematic adaptations, you will find the greats like Vincent Price and Boris Karlof. If you dig a little deeper, you will also find some pretty big stars in some of their earliest roles. For instance, Jack Nicholson was in The Raven in 1963.

My favorite thing about this adaptation is the fact that it does not attempt to stretch one of Poe’s short stories over a two-hour period. Instead, it is an anthology film. Directed by experienced filmmakers Bart Mastronardi and Alan Rowe Kelly, it is also a very well planned anthology film. These guys have both been around the film industry quite a bit, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was more budget behind this film than I originally expected. This definitely helped the production value, actors, and effects. This created a very pleasant cinematic experience for me.

As someone with plenty of background knowledge of Poe’s work, this could have easily been a dangerous film to submit to me. I am not, however, some crazy purist that is going to bitch about change. I am a huge fan of Poe’s work; but, I am also a fan of film and its history. I love seeing how different artists interpret different works of all types. This is probably why I also defend the occasional remake. The bottom line is that I really just appreciate the fact that people still see Poe as a major influence.

This, of course, will lead me to tell you that I had no problem with the plot twists made in this film. I think the filmmakers did a great job of staying true to the stories, while keeping the endings tricky enough to keep Poe experts on their toes. They used settings that made the time periods ambiguous too! I feel like the actors, costumes, and style of filming also added to this sense of ambiguity. I found these visual strategies to be appealing because they made the film a modern re-telling, while also giving it an antiquated feel. At times, especially in the final section, the film had a subtle touch of something that reminded me of Baz Luhrmann or Tim Burton.

My only issue with the film is a minor one. While the film starts out fast, brutal, and gory, it begins to feel a little long towards the end. It seems like they were trying to experiment with regular horror film pacing. This is no big deal though. It will be worth watching for most viewers. Even the slow-moving final sequence has visuals that are intriguing enough to keep the viewer interested throughout. I think this film will appeal to fans of Poe, gore, surrealism, and numerous horror sub-genres. .

SO CHECK OUT THE CAST AND TRAILER BELOW!

TALES OF POE also features an award-winning cast of genre veterans;
*Adrienne King – Friday the 13th / Friday the 13th Part 2
*Amy Steel – Friday the 13th Part 2 / April Fool’s Day
*Caroline Williams -Texas Chainsaw Massacre II / Contracted / Hatchet III / Tales of Halloween
*Randy Jones – The Village People / Can’t Stop the Music
*Lesleh Donaldson – Happy Birthday to Me / Funeral Home / Curtains
*Desiree Gould – Sleepaway Camp
*Alan Rowe Kelly – The Blood Shed / Vindication / Grindsploitation
*Debbie Rochon – Wrath of Crows / American Nightmare / Tromeo & Juliet

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