The Masque of the Red Death
An uncanny tale from the pen of Poe, directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price – a match made in Heaven. Or Hell!
Dir-Prod Roger Corman
Scr Charles Beaumont, R. Wright Campbell
With Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher
Corman’s seventh Poe screen adaptation is set in Medieval Italy, where the Devil-worshipping Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) holes up in his castle with his acolytes, to avoid the plague devastating the country. Here he stages decadent entertainments in his opulent ballroom (the sets, reused from Becket, won a British Academy Award), during which he indulges his sadistic whims, relishing humiliation and torture in the pursuit of gratification. Into this den of evil comes innocence and faith in the shape of a village girl (Jane Asher), making Prospero question the sinful path he has chosen. The lavish costumes and sets are photographed in sumptuous colour and expansive Cinemascope by Nicolas Roeg, making this one of Corman’s most visually exciting Gothic offerings.
Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
Images courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy Film Archive.