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Based on a short story by the father of modern crime and horror fiction, Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death stars Vincent Price as Prospero, enjoying a reign of debauched decadence while his castle shields him from the plague. Prospero holds a masque for a corrupt medieval nobility but the sadistic revels are joined by an uninvited guest, the Red Death itself. Jane Asher has never looked more beautiful and her colourfully designed nightmare equals Salvador Dali's contribution to Spellbound (1945). Produced and directed by Roger Corman, this is the most famous and probably the best of the hundreds of movies (including an inferior 1989 remake) with which the undisputed king of the B picture has been involved. With an intelligent, poetic screenplay paying homage to Igmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957), this is a luxurious and elegant horror film (though the full-screen transfer does diminish the outstanding Panavision images of cinematographer Nic Roeg, who would later direct his own horror classic, Don't Look Now in 1973). The film is just one of a series of Poe adaptations Corman made with Price in the 1960s: The Fall of the House of Usher (1960) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965) also being particularly notable. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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