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From Beyond the Grave – 7

Director – Kevin Connor

Cast – Peter Cushing, Ian Bannen, Ian Carmichael, Diana Dors, Margaret Leighton, Donald Pleasence, Nyree Dawn Porter, David Warner, Angela Pleasence, Ian Ogilvy, Lesley-Anne Down, Jack Watson, Wendy Allnutt, Tommy Godfrey

Release Year – 1975 (USA)

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Amicus are famous for producing several great horror anthologies, including Asylum, The Vault of Horror, and The House That Dripped Blood, and From Beyond The Grave seems to be one of their lesser-known efforts. That by no means makes this a bad film. Told in the same format and starring horror legend Peter Cushing, this is another solid Amicus anthology that lacks the punch of the other films mentioned but still provides a solid effort in the end.

This story follows Peter Cushing as the Proprietor, an old gentleman who runs an antique shop packed full of items for every desire. He does not like it when his customers rip him off, but he need not worry about it as vengeful consequences always find those who wrong him. In “The Gate Crasher” a man buys an old mirror inhabited by a ghost who forces him to provide fresh corpses to heal him from his pain. Next is “An Act of Kindness”, where a man who steals a war medal to impress a former soldier gets more than he bargained for. “The Elemental” is next, which focuses on a man who swaps price tags at the old man’s boutique and finds himself hounded by a malicious demon. The last entry is “The Door”, which tells the tale of an old wooden door that forms a gateway to another realm.

The screenplay comes from three writers who each had very short film careers but still managed to deliver a good story here. I will say that the events that occur are pretty tame compared to other Amicus anthologies, but they are engaging nonetheless. “An Act of Kindness” and “The Elemental” are the better of the four stories, with “The Gate Crasher” giving us the most kills (and maybe the most horror) and “The Elemental” failing to take full advantage of the demon bombarding the lead character. None of the entries were bad and I did enjoy them all, but some were definitely better than others. The wraparound involving the Proprietor was also very enjoyable and ends the experience on a very positive note.

Director Kevin Connor did pretty well and this effort marks the beginning of his career. He later went on to direct some of my favorite films as a child, like The Land That Time Forgot, At the Earth’s Core, Warlords of the Deep, and he also directed the awesome 1980 film Motel Hell. His execution of the atmosphere is what makes this feel like an Amicus film, with lots of fog, dark shadows, excellent use of colors, and proper execution of kill scenes that are tame as far as gore goes. Somehow he did find a way to make the kills a bit shocking, but of course some of the entries delivered better horror than others. The acting performances are all worthwhile, with Peter Cushing and a pre-Halloween Donald Pleasance stealing the show, so I definitely recommend you Pleasance fans give him a watch here.

Overall, From Beyond The Grave is another solid entry into the Amicus series although it is not as hard-hitting as its cohorts. Still, we are given four tales of UK horror that are sure to please those who enjoy 70s anthologies.

Rating: 7/10

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