Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Challenge #31

The Masque of the Red Death features horror legend Vincent Price as the despicable Prince Prospero in an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story. Like most of the Roger Corman Poe adaptations, this is only loosely true to the story, but frankly Poe is not very adaptable to film.

Prince Prospero is an evil tyrant who rules with an iron fist. When it is discovered that the red death has come to his kingdom he shuts himself and his guests in his castle to save them. Oh, and he begs for safety from Satan. Propero is a Satanic disciple, as are most of the guests. Ultimately however the red death comes for them.

Actually, I find it hard to believe this is the first Vincent Price movie I watched this month. Price is to me the premiere horror actor. He ranks above Karloff, Lugosi, Lee, Cushing, and Caradine. He is filled with presence and ability. Not just an actor there to scare, he is a fine actor capable of much better than the B movies he is famous for. Speaking of Christopher Lee, however, I am not sure, but am fairly convinced that Lee voiced, at least, the part of The Red Death. He is not credited, but neither is anyone else. Watch it sometime, if only the first few minutes. If that is not Christopher Lee's voice, I'll eat my blog.

While an old school film with little of the gore and nudity we expect from horror, it is pretty fantastic. The budget seems remarkably high for a Corman film, and features along with Price the exceptional Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange, Marat/Sade). Hazel Court supplies some unexpected hotness in a film that is fairly devoid of such. The colors are vibrant and striking, the costumes are somewhat garish, but typical of 1960s Hollywood for period pieces. Price is masterful here. He is rarely funny, but has that exquisite charm even at his most evil. Watch this one.

Verdict: Great creepy Gothic horror.


dfordoom said...

I think it's the best of the Corman Poe films, certainly the most authentically decadent, and with superb cinematography by the great Nicolas Roeg.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Price is so sinister in it. The cinematography is very good, and the colors really add to everything. Not sure if that is due to the Pathé processing or just good coordination.

Lisa said...

I didn't know there is a movie to the story!
I love the story so much. Totally going to see it!

Darius Whiteplume said...

I just barely remember the story, but the movie is nice and creepy.

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