Before I begin my review, I just have to make a statement. You wouldn't
ask a vegetarian to review a steak house, or a film maker to tell you
how to fix your car. So, when you see reviews from philistines
complaining about the 'quality of the audio recording of Bela Lugosi',
or complaining about the animation style, just picture the reviewer as
a fully snow-suited Eskimo in a sauna, and ignore their complaints.
I saw this when it was first released to streaming services, and wrote
down my thoughts in an Edgar Allan Poe Facebook group. Now that it's on
Netflix, I've revisited, and re-experienced a lot of the same feelings.
Here are my thoughts:
1) There is a great atmosphere of dread, or "October, the season of
death" as Ray Bradbury may call it, over the entire anthology. I love
this. Very "sparse" feeling, if that makes sense.
2) I really like the original wraparound story. In fact, once the two
main characters were positively identified, I found that the wraparound
was probably the most creepy and thoughtful of all presentations in the
film. However, I don't believe that the voice actor was well chosen to
portray the character that he was supposed to be. They needed a more
fitting voice for the foreboding style, instead of one that sounds like
a generic television family dad. Also, the character's dialogue
should've been more poetic. It was too plain for the character
3) The Tell-Tale Heart segment is simply awesome. They take Bela
Lugosi's original audio recording of his reading of the story (from the
1930s, I believe), complete with scratches and audio artifacts, layered
over a modern musical score, and very noir-ish / Frank Miller-ish
animation. It would've harmed the piece if they removed the scratches
and audio artifacts from Lugosi's reading. I'm glad they didn't.
4) All stories in the film had narration and/or voice-overs, except for
the final story, The Masque Of The Red Death. The only voice in the
entire piece is Prince Prospero (Roger Corman) when he spots The Red
Death. I believe it was a huge mistake to not narrate the story. It
would've been much better to hear Poe's words while seeing the visual.
Without the narration, it's almost more of a background piece than an
actual story. Although the visual is still beautiful.
5) The fade-to-black, fade-to-zero decibel bumpers/dividers between
stories and wraparound pieces created too much of a division between
sections. They should've run together better. It was almost as if it
was 5 separate episodes, instead of a continuous anthology, as was
I would definitely recommend it for any fan of Poe. Or even as an
introduction to Poe for anybody who hasn't yet become a fan of his.