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.
Cast and crew
Charles Beaumont, R Wright Campbell
Vincent Price Hazel Court Jane Asher Skip Martin David Weston Patrick Magee Nigel Green John Westbrook