Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone were all wasted doing mostly straight horror roles. What they should have been doing is more comedies. The Comedy of Terrors (1963) is proof of this. It also demonstrates that writer Richard Matheson best known for novels such as I Am Legend, as well as many classic Twilight Zone episodes and other dark horror and fantasy novels, movies and television episodes, should have been plying his trade more often in humorous tales. Director Jacques Tourneur who delivered the defining cinematic psychological horrors of Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and Night of the Demon, is just as adept at comic timing as he is at delivering scares.
Vincent Price plays a harsh drunk who is running his father-in law's (Boris Karloff) funeral business into the ground. Forced to either pay a year's back rent or face eviction, Price and his assistant (Peter Lorre) decide to create some customers by murdering them. When he chooses his landlord as one of his victims in order to "kill two birds with one pillow" things get complicated.
This is a genuinely funny dark comedy that's about as gothic looking as it gets. Everyone in the cast is perfect in their roles, and there's less ham on display here than typically seen when playing their straight roles. This has been one of the highest points in my Halloween viewing this year.