Wednesday, October 18, 2017
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Who's In It: Vincent Price (Tower of London, The Hollywood Squares), Hazel Court (The Curse of Frankenstein, The Raven), and Jane Asher (The Prince and the Pauper, Alfie)
What It's About: A sadistic prince (Price) offers his castle as sanctuary from a brutal plague to other nobles willing to obey his every whim. But when he also includes and begins to seduce a young village girl (Asher), his current romance (Court) starts a scheme of her own.
How It Is: I've said before that I prefer film noir Vincent Price to horror Vincent Price. I should rephrase that, but it's movies like Masque of the Red Death that make me think it. I quite enjoyed him in The Raven and The Haunted Palace, because those roles gave him a chance to be funny, or at least complicated. In Masque, he's pure abomination and while he's good at that, I get tired of it quickly. Turns out, I want to like Vincent Price, even when he's eeeevil.
Masque is a great-looking movie though. Especially compared to other, cheaper Corman films I've seen, but I don't need to set it next to those to see its beauty. It makes glorious use of color in the castle decor and in the crimson, plague-heralding specter that gives the movie its name.
The story is compelling, too; I just don't especially like any of the characters. Francesca (Asher) is particularly frustrating, because I start off liking her, but Prospero (Price) leads her through a seduction and transformation that should be fascinating, but turns out unconvincing.
Rating: 3 out of 5 rainbow revenants.