Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe! (Belated)

I tried to schedule posts to go up automatically... and I screwed up.

In celebration of Jan. 19, the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, here's a review of one of the best movies based on his writings.

Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Starring: Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher, Patrick Magee, and David Weston
Director: Roger Corman
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

As a plague known as the Red Death sweeps across the countryside, Prince Prospero (Price) believes the walls of his castle and his devotion to Satan will keep him and his foul friends safe. But one evil act too many brings a mysterious guest to a masquerade ball the prince throws.

This is the only Roger Corman film I've seen so far that I felt I could give a glowing review without tacking on ANY qualifications. "Masque of the Red Death" is a fine horror film that engages both the mind and the gut as it unfolds. It is proficiently acted, well-scripted and perfectly paced, expertly filmed within amazing sets... everything here is clicking. What's more, the film evokes its horror and dread through a well-told story rather than gore and other special effects. If there ever was a Corman film that should be described as "great" and that is worth seeing by fans of good movies (not just cheesy ones), then this is it.

Vicent Price is in top form as the evil prince, and Hazel Court also shines brightly. It's obvious that some of Corman's very best work was done while filming under the umbrella of a taxshelter in Great Britain, and "Masque of the Red Death" is the best of that work.

Click Here to read the original story this movie was based on, as well as other great works by Edgar Allan Poe.

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