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| 26 October 2015 | Reply

Shock Entertainment Cinema Cult Series
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Vincent Price, Jane Asher, Hazel Court
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

The Masque Of The Red Death dvd cover

Vincent Price is at his icy cold best as the evil Prospero in this graphic, shocking and sadistic adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s sort story.

Prince Prospero, beloved by no-one but ruling with a leather glove and an army of sadistic henchmen, discovers a village under siege from the Red Death plague, and orders it put to the torch, but not before deciding to kill Gino and his father in law Ludovico. The beautiful Francesca (played with real depth by the gorgeously waifish Jane Asher) steps in between them and begs for her husband & father’s lives, and Prospero – bewitched by her beauty and determined to possess her, gruffly acquiesces, bring the girl to the castle and throwing the men in his dungeon instead of putting them to the sword.

The Prince gathers up his sycophantic noblemen and women ‘friends’, barricades the castle against the plague, and ramps up his worship of Satan a few notches, throwing lavish and depraved functions as he does his best to corrupt (rather than woo) Francesca.

Sadistically treating all those around him like dirt, he is eventually thrilled when he thinks that The Dark lord himself has attended his party, but he is in for quite the shock before the soiree is over!

Price plays Prospero to the hilt, revelling in the character’s unredeemable wickedness with a stage veteran’s aplomb, and Corman directs Masque… wonderfully, always hinting at far more graphic scenes of violence and depravity than he actually shows us, and making the film ever more grotesque and horrific as a result.

The Masque Of The Red Death is atmospheric and chilling, and masterfully made, and may be the high point of Corman, Price and Asher’s film careers.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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