It’s a tough go for me to say I like Roger Corman movies. I should, I mean…he’s (arguably) the true king of low budget horror and even just low budget movies in general. His skills at creating a ‘decent’ film with relatively little money in an incredibly short amount of time are legendary. Thanks to him, many people got their launch in the industry. This all sounds great…but I’ve hardly seen many of his movies that left me astounded. I also read a pretty inflammatory book of interviews about him once which kind of put me off Corman for awhile. But I digress, because I’m not here to talk about his faults today. I’m here to mention one of my favorite Corman (and Price) films which itself stands as a pretty good example of the incredible movies he was capable of when he actually tried.
Some day Mister Corman will receive a very good post from me, but I don’t want to spend all of this entry focusing on him. I want to focus on my flick of the week, ‘Masque of the Red Death’. Loosely based on the Poe story of the same name, and I say loosely because the movie adds a thousand more details. Good ones, which managed to flesh out an otherwise decent but not outstanding Poe story.
I can’t help but wonder if Corman went on a Bava binge before undertaking the explosion of color this film turned out to be. Everywhere you look, the lighting and the costumes match the setting just so. I really can’t stress enough how absolutely stunning this picture was.
Everyone in this movie is at their best. Vincent Price. Hazel Court. Roger Corman himself, directing of course. I might even go so far as to say that I think this is his best movie. It also goes incredibly with a good bottle of red wine, to match the mood.
There is a lot of dialogue and presentation in the whole film, very minimal action. But when the action does take place, it is very gruesome. Especially Hazel’s scene wherein she marries the devil and soon…’joins him in their nuptial rights’. Masque is a very good introduction piece before delving into a heavier cinematic work, like ‘Kill Baby…Kill’ or ‘Black Sunday’, both excellent…but very long movies.
In short, I highly recommend this ‘Masque of the Red Death’ for anybody who loves a good bit of color and period clothing…with a little bit of blood thrown in for good measure. But you can also take your pick of the other colors of death, if you like too…