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Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Masque of the Red Death poster.jpg

Writer/producer/director Roger Corman’s Poe cycle was a fine series of interpretations of the Gothic maestro whose work was always incorporated into the high school curriculum – so the exploitation filmmaker knew he had a ready audience of teens! However this lowly ambition was superseded by the sheer good taste and elegance of the productions, seen here at their best in this sumptuous symphony of colour, shot by Nic Roeg when he was still Britain’s best cinematographer (well, along with Oswald Morris). This, the seventh in the series, is written by Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell and incorporates the story Hop Frog as a sub-plot. Jane Asher is the mediaeval wench who is kidnapped by tyrannous Prince Prospero as the plague rages outside his fortress and her lover and her father are imprisoned in the dungeons while all manner of devil worship takes place above them, with Hazel Court presiding … Tremendous sense of atmosphere and if not in the same class as The Seventh Seal, bears some narrative similarities. Price is diabolical, as ever, while it’s great to see Patrick Magee as Alfredo, his evil sycophant.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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