Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1964. Alta Vista Productions. Screenplay by Charles Beaumont, R. Wright Campbell, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe. Cinematography by Nicolas Roeg. Produced by Roger Corman. Music by David Lee. Production Design by Daniel Haller. Costume Design by Laura Nightingale. Film Editing by Ann Chegwidden.
This adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s story is not in any way scary, but don’t let that stop you from watching it. As a tale of the macabre it is very enjoyable, highlighted by Vincent Price‘s hammy portrayal of Prospero and the colourful cinematography by future film director Nicholas Roeg. Prospero is an Italian nobleman who cripples his villagers with taxes and then burns their homes to the ground. When he discovers that the “Red Death” is taking over the countryside, he invites all the nobles of the area to his home for a lavish masque where they will wait out the epidemic in safety. To further amuse himself, he brings along a young village girl (Jane Asher) and her insolent boyfriend and old father to keep locked up in safety. Asher decides to make the best of the situation until she realizes that something equally diabolical is going on inside the castle as well as without! Lots of fun.