The Masque of the Red Death

1964 Poe movie

Rating: 16/20

Plot: A mean prince parties pretty freakin' hard while keeping people safe from the plague.

Ah, Vincent Price. It's been far too long, old friend. This is one of 7 or 8 Corman-directed Poe adaptations. This actually combines a couple--the short story that shares the same title and the more obscure "Hop-Frog" which has the alternate title of "The Eight Chained Ourangoutangs"--which allowed Corman to not only have Vincent Price using words like "Garrote them" or "One of [the daggers] is impregnated with a poison that kills in. . .five seconds" like no other actor can but also include a little person and Patrick Magee in a gorilla suit. The little person is played by Skip Martin who gets a chance to do some gymnastics and dance with Esmeralda, a character who is supposed to be another dwarf but who I think was a child dubbed with a grown woman's voice. Magee, when not in the gorilla suit, gets to speak to women about the "anatomy of terror" which is really close to the pick-up line I used when I met my wife. Of course, nobody can compete with the great Vincent Price even though he has difficulty saying "squirrels" correctly. His Prince Prospero character's got a nice pad with colorful rooms, a variety of animal heads on the wall, more interesting decor, a pendulum on a clock that moves way too slowly. Prospero makes his friends act like animals, a scene that ends with one lady in a yellow dress really getting into things with some gnarly flapping. There are also great party games like the aforementioned poison dagger game which inspires one couple--maybe the woman in the yellow dress and her date--to start voraciously making out upon. Like these other Corman productions, there's some nice period style, from the atmospheric opener to a nifty parade of plagues at the end. Speaking of that opener, I don't think cinematographers shoot through tree branches enough anymore. Samurai movies and old horror movies both feature shots through tree branches. There's also one of those obligatory trippy hallucination sequences all veiled in blue mist with Hazel Court's silent screams and an erotic bird attack. Bonus awesome moment: guy in the dungeon who goes "Waaaa!" Cool little period horror movie here, one that will definitely appeal to fans of Satan or plagues.

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