21 June 2015

The Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death
  • Director: Roger Corman
  • Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Cast: Vincent Price, Jane Asher, Hazel Court, David Weston, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, Skip Martin
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Vincent Price – Edward Scissorhands, old TV series
    • Jane Asher – Dancing on the Edge, Alfie
    • Hazel Court – old TV series
    • David Weston – King Lear
    • Patrick Magee – Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, King Lear
  • Why? Jane Asher
  • Seen:  Once before. Now 7 June 2015 with Hal and YW in our read-book-see-film-group 

The short story is very short indeed. If filmed as is, it would be about 3 minutes long. But I remember an added romance so that’s OK then.
Vincent Price is, as usual, an evil aristocrat Satanist tyrant (the duke in the story was not evil or a Satanist). Jane Asher is a beautiful spirited Christian peasant. She is kidnapped by the evil duke and brought to his castle where luxury and debauchery rule.
But over everything reigns the Red Death.
A philosophical confrontation between a god who allows pestilence, death and fear vs a god of hope and love and beauty.  Between innocence and cynical corruption. The simplicity of the god vs Satan is rather tedious and a lot of the film is just a damsel and dungeon story really.
It might have been considered innovative and avant garde when it came out in the 60’s but it seems pretentious, sexist and tame today.
But it’s colourful. Vincent Price, though doing nothing he hasn’t done hundreds of times before, is entertaining, and Jane Asher has beautiful red hair and a fine earnestness.
It had almost nothing to do with Poe’s story. Neither are very impressive.

2 * of 5

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