The Masque of the Red Death

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Less polished than The Tomb of Ligeia, but still the best and most ambitious of Corman's Poe cycle. Apart from a scruffy opening scene, it looks stunningly handsome, with Nicolas Roeg's camera providing alluring effects like the sudden switches from white to yellow, purple to black, as Jane Asher scurries through a sequence of rooms each designed in a different colour. It is also graced by an intelligent script (the admirable Charles Beaumont) which probes the concept of diabolism with considerable subtlety, even though the black magic scenes were removed in Britain by the censor. Where most films of this nature tend simply to pile on the blood, here there is a genuine chill of intellectual evil in the philosophical speculations of Price's 12th century Italian Prince Prospero, 'safely' immured in his castle while the plague rages outside, dreaming up fiendish ways of entertaining/tormenting his prisoner-guests.

Release details

Duration: 84 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Roger Corman
Screenwriter: Charles Beaumont, R Wright Campbell
Cast: Vincent Price
Hazel Court
Jane Asher
Skip Martin
David Weston
Patrick Magee
Nigel Green
John Westbrook
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