3 horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the 1st story titled "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Heidegger attempts to restore the youth of three elderly friends. In "... See full summary »
Loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's novel THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, this fright flick opens with a warlock placing a curse on a group of villagers about to burn him at the stake. Generations later, the warlock's descendant returns to the village to pick up where his ancestor left off. Written by
The footage scene of the castle interior is similar to the scene in The Raven (1963) movie, which was directed by Roger Corman as well. Also the shots of castle from outside under thunder and lightning, and waves breaking of rocks appear in both movies. See more »
The film is billed as "Edgar Allan Poe's The Haunted Palace." While Poe did write "The Haunted Palace," the film is actually based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." See more »
Roger Corman's "The Haunted Palace" of 1963 is a truly brilliant Gothic Horror film, and, alongside the ingenious "Pit and The Pendulum" of 1961 and "The Masque Of The Red Death" of 1964, the greatest installment of Corman's superb Poe cycle with the great Vincent Price. Some people seem to be bothered by the fact that this is not actually based on the poem by Poe, but on H.P. Lovecraft's novel "The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward", but I can't really see why. First of all, there is no doubt that both Poe and Lovecraft were extremely important writers of the horror genre. Second, it doesn't matter what this film is based on, since it is simply a brilliant film, regardless of which literary model it used.
In 1756, the vicious warlock Joseph Curven (Vincent Price) is dragged out of his palace in the New England town of Arkham by an angry mob furious about his evil ways of hexing innocent young women. Before he is burned alive, Curven places a curse on his the people of Arkham and their descendants. 110 years later, Curven's great-grandson Charles Dexter Ward (also Price) comes to Arkham with his wife Ann (Debra Paget) to accept his inheritance - Joseph Curven's castle. Most of the little town's inhabitants, who still believe in the witchcraft and who are living in fear of Curven's curse, react hostile towards the couple, especially because Ward is the spitting image of his ancestor. The Wards, who are not superstitious, decide sleep in the castle anyway, although the only friendly person around is the town's doctor, who does not believe in superstition either. There are strange things happening in the town of Arkham, however, people have terrible deformities and when the Wards arrive they immediately notice an eerie huge painting of Joseph Curven, which has a strange effect on Charles...
There is no doubt in my mind that Vincent Price is one of the greatest actors who ever lived, and his performance in "The Haunted Palace" is one of his best. Price plays his role with pure brilliance, and once again proves that he is THE absolute master of sinister roles. Debra Paget's performance as Anne Ward is also excellent, and the cast furthermore includes Lon Chaney Jr., who proves his greatness in an eerie role. The movie is excellently photographed in great, eerie sceneries, and the film maintains a wonderfully creepy atmosphere from the first minute. The great score even intensifies the eeriness and suspense, and I couldn't find one aspect of "The Haunted Palace" that is not brilliant.
German speaking people - please make sure to watch this film in its original, English version. I personally always watch films in the original when its possible, but it is essential to do so with this movie. The German title reads "Die Folterkammer Des Hexenjägers" (=The Witchhunter's Torture Chamber), although the film has nothing to do with a Witchhunter, and there is no torture chamber either. In the dubbed German version, the Warlock becomes a Witchhunter, New England becomes Wales, and the whole plot makes little sense. Fortunately, the German DVD contains the English version, so stick with the original version of this masterpiece.
All said, "The Haunted Palace" is a perfect Horror film. Vincent Price's brilliant leading performance, the fantastic atmosphere, the constant suspense and genuine creepiness - everything about this film is superb! In short: "The Haunted Palace" is a Gothic masterpiece, and an absolute must-see for every Horror fan! 10/10
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