14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The mediaeval magnificence of the 'Masque',
This review is from: The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial (Midnite Movies Double Feature) (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. Prince Prospero's dark allegiance and pact with his satanic Master avails him not at all when the clock strikes midnight and despite his arrogant pomp, power and riches he too must join in the final dance - the Dance of Death!
The sheer visual beauty of many scenes of this film will impress themselves vividly upon your imagination in a lasting way, some examples being the suite of yellow, blue, purple and black chambers, Juliana's hallucinatory and daemonic dream sequence and the final sequence where the various avatars of Death are beheld upon the foggy heath. The acting is of a very high standard and the characters are well realised throughout. The pace never flags as the narative builds up via skilful episodic unfoldment to the climactic confrontation at the height of the Masque and the score throughout is powerful and deeply evocative. 'The Masque of the Red Death' delivers an unforgettable experience and is truly worthy of being called a genuine classic of horror...
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Initial post: Nov 9, 2009 10:07:31 PM PST
Critic's Corner says:
Fine but what about Premature Burial? This is a review of the duo set, ya know.
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