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The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial (Midnite Movies Double Feature)

81 customer reviews

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(Aug 27, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Masque of the Red Death: Death and Debauchery reign in the castle of Prince Prospero (Vincent Price), and when it reigns... it pours! Prospero has only once excuse for his diabolical deeds--the devil made him do it! But when a mysterious, uninvited guest crashes his pad during a masquerade ball, there'll be hell to pay as the party atmosphere turns into a danse macabre!

The Premature Burial: Talk about a tortured artist! Oscar winner Ray Milland is Guy, a medical student and painter whose obsessive fear of being buried alive compels him to build himself a tomb with a view, equipped with everything he can think of to escape death. But it's when his long-suffering wife convinces him to destroy the tomb that he finds himself in the gravest danger!

The Masque of the Red Death (1964) is Roger Corman's, and most people's, choice as the best of the Edgar Allan Poe pictures. Masque offers the expected creepy atmosphere and violence against peasants, plus metaphysical ponderings and pointed satanic cruelty. (Corman was operating as much under the influence of Ingmar Bergman as of Edgar Allan Poe.) Nicolas Roeg's color cinematography and Daniel Haller's elaborate production design would be stellar in any Hollywood A-movie; the mono-colored rooms of the prince's castle are a startling effect. Vincent Price is in fine fettle as Prince Prospero, the devil-worshipping sadist who throws lavish parties while the countryside is ravaged by the plague.

The Premature Burial (1962) substitutes Ray Milland in the usual Price role. He's a snarky landowner (with a sideline in art--dig those mod paintings) haunted by the fear of being buried alive. This single-minded focus limits the film, but it also adds to the smothering sense of anxiety that prevails throughout its unhealthy scenario. Luscious Hazel Court is Milland's new missus, and old-school cameraman Floyd Crosby proves his facility for photographing women in a classical style. Lots of cobwebs-on-candelabra in the customary Corman-Poe manner, with special emphasis on Milland's crypt, with its supposedly foolproof exit schemes. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Roger Corman interviews

Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Milland, Hazel Court, Vincent Price, Richard Ney, Heather Angel
  • Directors: Roger Corman
  • Writers: Charles Beaumont, Edgar Allan Poe, R. Wright Campbell, Ray Russell
  • Producers: Roger Corman, Gene Corman, George Willoughby
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 27, 2002
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000068TPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,592 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial (Midnite Movies Double Feature)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Rodden II on September 6, 2002
Format: DVD
This is MGM at their best. A double-feature DVD with two Roger Corman classics, both in glorius widescreen, both in luscious technicolor. The first gem, "Masque of the Red Death", has never looked better. A tale of decadence set during the black plague, here represented as the "red plague", thus Edgar Allen Poe. But where Poes wonderful poem ends, is, so-to-speak, at the end of this film. Corman took Poes frightening vignette on the black death and spun a tale of Satanism versus Christain belief, all set in a richly atmospheric castle in the middle of a hellish landscape -- For those of you squemish about anything to do with Christianity, think of it as a morality play of Good against Evil; afterall, Corman is rather ambiguous as to who the hooded "death characters" really are -- And our host to the party to end all parties, none other than Vincent Price himself.
The second film, Premature Burial, I'd never seen until this DVD. It is not as hypnotic at "Masque", but it is a fun, macabre journey into madness with a superb actor, Ray Milland, at the helm. Also starring the very sexy, very voluptious Hazel Court, which some Hammer Horror fans may remember from the up and coming dvd "Curse of Frankenstein", due out in October. The film is presented in widescreen. Both films, one on each side of the DVD, include very nicely produced extras with Roger Corman, giving some nice information on the creation and production of both films. If your a fan of Vincent Price, buy it for "Masque". If your a fan of Roger Corman, you will not be disapointed in either film.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Jackson on August 27, 2004
Format: DVD
Undoubtedly the 1964 film 'The Masque of the Red Death'stands as Roger Corman's masterpiece of richly-stylized gothic horror, melding his free adaptation of the Poe story of the same name with the cruel tale of 'Hop Frog'. The atmosphere acheived in this film , with it's sumptuous sets, costumery and heightened sense of lapidary colour, is quite incomparable. From the opening scene in the mist-shrouded twilight of the plague-haunted mediaeval countryside where the old woman gathering wood encounters the crimson-cowled figure of the Red Death sat beneath a tree drawing the tarot cards which signify his role as divinely-appointed dispenser of fate unto humankind, an eerie and apocalyptic drama unfolds to compelling effect: the simplicity and innocence of the village-girl Francesca contrasts sharply with the luxuriant and corrupting evil within Prince Prospero's turreted castle as a tale as starkly and boldly delineated as some Mystery-cycle or morality-play of the High Middle Ages, is enacted. Vincent Price's depiction of Prince Prospero, a nobleman who has pledged his eternal soul to the Lord of this World, the 'Lord of Flies', is absolutely masterly. Likewise the beautiful Hazel Court provides a powerful portrayal of Juliana who vies with Prospero for the infernal favours of Satan vowing herself as the bride of hell in the black chapel. Sin and innocence, sanctity and abomination, freedom and fate, survival and mortality - all is in the balance and over all the red-cowled figure of the Red Death presides dealing the cards which are the lots of inexorable and inescapable destiny.Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Rux on August 22, 2002
Format: DVD
Premature Burial may be considered merely an extra, on this DVD - it's passable, but overall not that hot. The real star of the show is Roger Corman's Masque of the Red Death, one of the best of his Poe cycle films. Both movies were co-scripted by genre master Charles Beaumont, a frequent Twilight Zone contributor, the former with assistance from fellow genre master Ray Russell. Premature Burial is the less impressive of the two due to general plot contrivance, which is rather hackneyed and predictable, and Ray Milland simply didn't have the presence for this kind of work that Vincent Price did.
Masque of the Red Death is a very clever rendition of two of Poe's best works, the title story and another lesser-known little piece of nastiness called "Hop-Frog." Price plays the evil fourteenth century Prince Prospero, who safely ensconces all his country's nobles behind his castle's walls to keep them safe from the dreaded plague of the "red death" that is ravaging the populace. Prospero is a decadent and sadistic Satanist, who views his role in the proceedings as that of more or less a diabolical Noah, preserving his own kind until the plague passes. One of his guests - an equally despicable Patrick Magee - is horribly murdered by a dwarf he mocks and despises, constituting the "Hop-Frog" subplot. Prospero, meanwhile, delights in attempting to seduce and degrade innocent Christian peasant girl Jane Asher, much to wife Hazel Court's great ire and dismay.
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