Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Director: Roger Corman

Starring: Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher, David Weston, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee

More info: IMDb

Tagline: LOOK INTO THIS FACE - SHUDDER... at the blood-stained dance of the Red Death! TREMBLE... to the hideous tortures of the catacombs of Kali! GASP... at the sacrifice of the innocent virgin to the vengeance of Baal!

Plot: Satan-worshiper Prince Prospero invites several dozen of the local nobility to his castle for protection against an oncoming plague, the Red Death. Prospero orders his guests to attend a masked ball and, amidst a general atmosphere of debauchery and depravity, notices the entry of a mysterious hooded stranger dressed all in red. Believing the figure to be his master, Satan, Prospero is horrified at the revelation of his true identity.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

I've seen a few of the Roger Corman Edgar Allen Poe pictures and it's been a mixed bag. I liked the overall dark feeling of THE PREMATURE BURIAL (1962) and and I found the humor and shabbiness of THE RAVEN (1963) insulting but this picture blew me away. WOW! From all of the Vincent Price pictures I've seen so far, this one has him at his most wicked and sinister. He's fantastic. The sets look richer like a Hammer horror movie of this time (as opposed to the cheapness Corman brought to THE RAVEN a year earlier), the music is good, the pacing, story, name it. It's a superior picture to his previous Poe efforts. If only they all had these elements working so well. I see on the IMDb trivia that this was filmed in England with a British crew. I'm sure that made a huge difference. Corman has said this and X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES (1963) are his two favorites of the films he made. I can see why. There's more care and love of the material in this one than most of the others I've seen. Great job all the way around!

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