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The Masque of the Red Death
Satanas - Das Schloss der blutigen Bestie

USA/UK 1964
produced by
James H. Nicholson & Samuel Z. Arkoff for AIP
directed by Roger Corman
starring Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher, David Weston, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, Skip Martin
screenplay by Charles Beaumont, R.Wright Campbell, based on The Masque of the Red Death & Hop Frog by Edgar Allan Poe, music by David Lee, cinematography by Nicholas Roeg

AIP's Poe-cycle, Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe-adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Count Prospero (Vincent Price) rules his peasants cruelly & violently, e.g. bruning down one of their villages despite the coming of winter. But he is as decadent as he is evil, holding a big celebration at his castle while the Red Death roams the contryside, & having poor peasant girl Francesca (Jane Asher) attending the festivities on his side - which she only does because Prospero holds her father & her fiancé Gino (david Weston) prisoner. And, he also is into Satanism. But of course, trouble soon is brewing, as his former mistress & fellow devil worshipper Juliana (Hazel Court) sees a rival in Francesca, & decides to help her to escape with Gino & her father - but of course they are recaptured by Prospero, & forced to play a cruel game at Prospero's next celebration, a game which would end fatally for Francesca's father, while Gino is thrown out of the castle right into the clutches of the Red Death. Later, when some peasants approach Prospero's castle to seek refuge from the Red Death, he has them brutally killed. But all that won't help him, as, at the climax of Prospero's celebrations, the Masque, the Red Death has already entered the castle, soon killing all the guests. & though Prospero mistakes him for his master Satan, he is not spared ("Death knows no master !") & in the end, as he unmasks the Red Death, he looks into his own face ... Only Francesca is allowed to leave the castle alive. In the end, in a field, differently coloured Deaths from different parts of the country meet, each accounting how much he has taken in ....

 

Of all the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations Roger Corman did during the early 60's, this one, insluenced of all films by Ingmar Bergman's Det Sjunde Inseglet/The Seventh Seal (1957), is easily the most accomplished, as it does not rely on cheap shock effects but on a disquieting atmosphere caught in highly choreographed, stylish pictures in perfect colour-compositions, which somewhat take the focus from Vincent Price as  the film's (& most of the Corman Poe's) central character (even though essentially the film still is his). Also, the decision not to convolute one Poe short story with lots of supporitng characters & thought-up subplots to bring it to feature length was a wise one. Instead, Poe's Masque of the Red Death was combined with another story of his, Hop Frog (with Skip Martin in the lead of that segment of the film), which has nothing to do with Masque ... in plot but shares essentially the same basic decadence of its central characters. Must-see !

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD