The Masque of the Red Death review – horribly apt Poe adaptation – The Guardian

Film writers Charles Beaumont and R Wright Campbell drew on other Poe stories, including Hop-Frog, about an individual with dwarfism utilized as a jester and embarrassed by the king. In this film, Hop Toad (Skip Martin) is a dwarf jester who is needed to perform a deeply weird dance for the put together jeering aristocrats at Prosperos ugly court with his love, Esmeralda (Verina Greenlaw)– and they are then abused and insulted. It really is one of the weirdest aspects of a captivatingly weird movie.
The colour plan exposes itself like a Dulux sample chart from hell, as characters walk through spaces in Prosperos castle that are each decorated in one colour– an extremely bad trip, like the ending of 2001. The “yellow” space, we discover, was used as a vicious prison by Prosperos father for one of his enemies and, on his release, the male could not bear to look at the sun. The entire film, in fact, seems to occur at night, or because synthetic day-for-night twilight I associate with Hammer vampire films. The Masque of the Red Death moves with a sinuous, unselfconscious sophistication.

Roger Cormans 1964 film The Masque of the Red Death is taken from Edgar Allan Poes spooky tale from the middle ages mist, about an afflict closing in on the castle of a harsh and rich sensualist. Disease is the implacable god. Its a terribly appropriate moment for this films reappearance.
This is an expressionist horror-ballet, extravagantly shot by cinematographer Nicolas Roeg, and for all its stagecraft and Grand Guignol, there is truly absolutely nothing absurd in it. In fact, Cormans official artistry and conviction on a minimal budget look more excellent than ever, and with his iconic Poe adjustments he did more than anybody in academe to develop the authors position in the literary canon. That disturbing red-clad figure, and the bad guys scary of the colour red, are undoubtedly a premonition of Roegs later work of art Dont Look Now, and the mystical cowled figure and final apocalyptic procession make it almost an indie-pulp American equivalent of Ingmar Bergman.
Sonorous Vincent Price plays Prince Prospero, an Italian nobleman with the power of life and death over the poor villagers who are currently terrorised by the “red death” pestilence, foretold or triggered by a strange figure in a red cape who beings in the bleak forest, his back against a knotted tree, impassively dealing out tarot cards. On a vicious impulse, Prospero orders a gorgeous, pious peasant girl called Francesca (Jane Asher), together with her betrothed Gino (David Weston) and father Ludovico (Nigel Green), to be reminded his castle, where he is preparing to host a spectacular masquerade ball for all his flinching courtier-sycophants, consisting of the resentful Alfredo (Patrick Magee). To Francescas scary, Prospero reveals that he and his favoured mistress Juliana (Hazel Court) are satanists, and that this gruesome celebration will be an orgy of extravagance climactically offered up to the evil one, in the really middle of hardship and illness.

Roger Cormans 1964 motion picture The Masque of the Red Death is taken from Edgar Allan Poes eerie tale from the medieval mist, about a plague closing in on the castle of a vicious and rich sensualist. Sonorous Vincent Price plays Prince Prospero, an Italian nobleman with the power of life and death over the bad villagers who are already terrorised by the “red death” pestilence, foretold or triggered by a mysterious figure in a red cloak who sits in the bleak forest, his back against a knotted tree, impassively dealing out tarot cards. The Masque of the Red Death moves with a sinuous, unselfconscious elegance.

– The Masque of the Red Death is launched on digital platforms, Blu-ray and DVD on 25 January.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *