The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial (Midnite Movies Double Feature)
 
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The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial (Midnite Movies Double Feature) (1962)

Vincent Price , Ray Milland , Roger Corman  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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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!

Amazon.com

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

Additional Features

The DVD includes fun trailers for both films, plus brief interviews with Roger Corman (18 minutes on Masque of the Red Death, 8 minutes for Premature Burial). Corman's anecdotes are practiced and informative: he says he delayed tackling Masque because he felt people might accuse him of stealing from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, and he recalls the time his leading lady's boyfriend from Liverpool came by the set for a visit (she was Jane Asher, the boyfriend was Paul McCartney). --Robert Horton
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