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Absolute Magic!
BaronBl00d19 September 1999
Clever dialogue, gothic scenery, and three old masters of horror make this film a delight to watch...over and over again. It is not very often one gets a chance to see three horror legends...Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Peter Lorre(plus a young Jack Nicholson) any movie, especially one with competent and stylized direction by a Roger Corman and a witty script by some guy named Richard Matheson( a legend in the horror and sci-fi genres and the one author that influenced Stephen King more than any other). The talent alone insures success and each of these respective masters delivers in this film. The story has virtually nothing to do with the Poe poem...but who cares with a cast like this. Peter Lorre steals every scene he is in and chews the scenery left and right. Hazel Court has a small role as the beautiful Lenore, and she turns in a good performance as well. But in the end it is the King of Horror and the Crown Prince of Horror...Karloff and Price...that make this movie a magical experience, particularly in their duel of magic at the climax of the film. Get some popcorn, a nice big drink, and turn the lights out and have fun with The Raven.
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Raving About Roger Corman's The Raven
tarryrob12 November 2008
Raving About Roger Corman's The Raven (1963) Every October my daughter and I pick up a few spooky movies to get into the Halloween groove. This year, I had the pleasure of introducing her to one of my all time favorite horror comedy classics, Director Roger Corman's "The Raven." The screenplay is adapted (VERY loosely) from the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem. This is one of Corman's many American International Picture adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's works, and one of his best.

As the king of "b" horror movies, Corman knew had to make the most out of a tight budget. His stylish films consistently used good source material, well written screenplays, lavish set designs, locations, props, costumes and great horror stars. "The Raven" boasts no less a cast than Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Jack Nicholson, and 60's scream queen Helen Court – a mind boggling cast given that this is a low budget film.

Pairing horror legends Price, Lorre, and Karloff was indeed a momentous occasion and the stars make the most of it. Any semblance to Poe's Gothic poem pretty much ends after Vincent Price reads the first few lines (brilliantly recited despite its brevity) at the intro of the movie. Afterwards, screenplay writer Richard Matheson takes the sombre mood of the original poem and turns it on its ear with his original comic screenplay.

At the outset of the film, we learn that Price's character (Dr.Craven – a wizard) has lost his wife Lenore (Helen Court) and has long mourned her loss. He's interrupted in the midst of his grief by "a tapping at his door." Price opens the door to find himself confronted by a raven (Peter Lorre). The raven, it turns out, can talk and is actually a rascally wizard named Dr Bedlo who has been enchanted by the evil wizard Dr Scarabus (Boris Karloff). He entreats the amazed doctor to help him become a man again.

Richard Matheson's screenplay provides the actors with some wonderful comedy dialog with which to work. Price and Lorre had been previous teamed in Tales of Terror, and their styles blend beautifully together – they are a scream! They set about concocting a potion in set designer Daniel's Haller's creepily atmospheric dungeon. After much fumbling, Price finally manages to restore Lorre's human head, but his body remains that of a giant human sized raven. Seeing Lorre strut his stuff in the Big Bird raven costume is almost worth the DVD price by itself! Once restored, Lorre swears revenge on Dr Scarabus. He asks for Price's help. But the doctor refuses until Lorre's character spots a portrait of Price's long lost wife and remarks that he's seen the woman at Scarabus' castle. The two set off for the castle along with Price's daughter (Olive Sturgess) and Bedlo's son (played by a young delightfully hammy Jack Nicholson).

When Lorre and Price reach the castle, the fireworks begin – figuratively and literally. It's clear these three horror icons are having the time of their lives, hilariously spoofing their monster screen personas. Dated special effects (though fine for their day) detract little from the final magical showdown between Karloff and Price.

I never get sick of seeing this movie and happily give it a rave review! Grab the popcorn and enjoy.

Rob Rheubottom Winnipeg, MB Canada
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Delightful Duel of Magicians
Claudio Carvalho14 September 2014
The magician Dr. Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price), who does not belong to the brotherhood of magicians, grieves the loss of his beloved wife Lenore (Hazel Court) and lives in a castle with his daughter Estelle (Olive Sturgess). One day, a raven knocks on his window and Dr. Craven learns that the bird is actually the magician Dr. Adolphus Bedlo (Peter Lorre) that was turned into a raven after challenging the powerful magician Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff) that was an enemy of his father. Dr. Craven makes a potion to turn Dr. Bedlo back to the human form and Dr. Bedlo tells that he has seen Lenore in the castle of Dr. Scarabus. Dr. Craven decides to go in his coach with Dr. Bedlo to visit Dr. Scarabus but Estella and Dr. Bedlo's son Rexford (Jack Nicholson) decide to go with them. They find an amicable Dr. Scarabus that invite them to stay for the night. Was Dr. Craven's father wrong about Dr. Scarabus?

"The Raven" is a delightful movie about ambition, treachery and magic, with a wonderful duel of magicians and lots of humor. The raven is hilarious and it is impressive his training with participation in many scenes. The special effects are simple but impressive for a 1963 movie. The cast is excellent with Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff and it is curious to see Jack Nicholson in the beginning of his career. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Corvo" ("the Raven")
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Party Time
telegonus26 October 2002
The Corman-Matheson The Raven, a charming cultural artifact from the early sixties, played extremely well at kiddie matinees when first released, holds up less well for grownups when watching it on television. This is a movie that needs an audience, preferably young and not too sophisticated. Without the laughter of children it falls a little flat, but is still fun to look at, if only for the remarkable sets of Daniel Haller, the colorful costumes, the mugging actors.

This is not an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe poem (which would be impossible) but rather a spoof of the various movies adapted from Poe's stories that were so popular at the time it came out, featuring many of the same cast members! As such, the movie needs to be seen in this context or else it will make no sense.

Vincent Price, a good magician, helps Peter Lorre turn from raven back to human form, then journeys to the castle of bad magician Boris Karloff, who was responsible for changing Lorre into a bird, to engage in a battle of sorcerer's tricks. Jack Nicholson is on hand as Lorre's son, and the two have some funny scenes together. There's not much story here, but the look and feel of the film are what make it work, to the extent that it does, as it's really a showcase for the actors and set designers more than anything else. It's a lighthearted film from the start, with nary a frightening moment. Everyone's dressed up as if at a Halloween party, and the festive tone is sustained throughout.
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Pure Magic
Christopher Moore19 February 1999
This is true magic. You will be shaking but not through horror. The Raven was made to amuse and it does.

The magician's duel may lack 'modern effects' but for their day they were pretty impressive. And the warmth and humour shines out in all the characters.

And yes, Peter Lorre dressed up as a Raven IS hilarious.
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If you are expecting Poe.........
HAL-9823 August 2000
Sorry, if you are expecting a movie based on Poe's poem. Other than Vincent Price elucidating one line from the

poem and his wife being named Lenore, any other connections are coincidental. Yet, I'm sure you will find this movie entertaining and funny. An all star cast of Vincent Price,( the kind but powerful

hero), Peter Lorre, (a sniveling, shifty, weasel), and Karloff

at his diabolical best as the evil magician. It is sort of a

D&D version of the Good, Bad & the Ugly. Great special

effects for its time. A young ,soon to be Superstar Jack

Nicholson playing Peter Lorre's noble son does not really

add to the story, but it's fun to see him in his fledging days.
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A deliciously absurd comedy from the one and only Roger Corman!
The_Void30 December 2004
This movie is loosely based around the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem of the same name. However, I don't think this is what the great literary genius had in mind when he originally wrote it; as Corman has turned the great Gothic poem into an absurd adventure styled comedy! Well, Edgar Allen Poe may be turning in his grave; but the rest of us get to have fun as we see horror gods Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, not to mention Jack Nicholson ham it up in style as the weird and wonderful cast of this absurd story of wizards and hocus pocus. Vincent Price is Dr. Erasmus Craven, and the film starts out with a reading of the famous Poe poem by the one and only Mr Price, and we're in familiar Corman-Poe territory. However, things take a turn in a totally different direction when, nearly napping, suddenly there comes a tapping, as someone gently rapping, rapping at Craven's chamber door. 'Tis a raven...or rather, Dr Bedlo (Peter Lorre), a fellow magician that has been turned into a raven by the rather nasty Dr Scarabus (Boris Karloff). After turning Bedlo back into a man, Craven is convinced by Bedlo, after hearing Scarabus has his beloved Lenore, to accompany him to his castle. And that is where the fun starts.

Peter Lorre and Vincent Price make a delicious comedy pairing; their two unique personalities blend together brilliantly and it's great to see these two legends on screen together. As mentioned, these two are joined by fellow legend; Boris Karloff. Karloff is a vastly underrated actor that has played lots of important characters and turned his hand to many different aspects of horror; comedy being one that he does well at also. Like the rest of the cast, he delivers his one-liners with the utmost skill and has many fine comedy moments. Not all of the jokes in the film work, but some parts of the film are laugh-out loud funny. Seeing Jack Nicholson in a film like this is rather bizarre when you consider what he has gone on to achieve, but his presence serves in giving it even more cult appeal. Although if you'd heard someone say that he would go on to achieve these things after only seeing him here, you'd probably think whoever told you was having a laugh...

Whether or not Corman should have turned 'The Raven' into a comedy is debatable. On one hand, I love the film, but I'm not sure if a serious version better would have been better. Still, the debate is irrelevant because he did and this is the result. The film is loyal to the poem in some ways (including the lovely wrap up), but basically; this is completely different. But pay the similarities and differences no mind, as 'enjoy!' is my advice.
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Lana Falana26 May 2001
Roger Corman's "The Raven" is the best of the Poe films and the most entertaining. It owes even less to Poe than some of the other adaptations, but I can't recall laughing so much in a horror film. That it was intended as a followup to the wildly successful "Tales of Terror" only added to the good vibes. The historic teaming of three horror stars Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre makes this irresistible.

Price plays one of his rare good guy roles as Craven, a good warlock living in his castle in England (where else?). Lorre is Bedlo, a coward who was turned into a raven by the evil sorcerer Scarabus (Karloff). Craven changes him back and Bedlo tells the good warlock/magician that his thought to be dead wife is shacking up with Scarabus. This sets up the final 20 minutes of the film, a hilarious showdown between Craven and Scarabus involving lasers and cheesy red arrows that only make the viewer laugh even more than he/she was doing before.

The great castle designed by Daniel Haller was reused famously in "The Terror" shot two days after this wrapped by Corman. Unless you're a film buff, you probably won't notice, but it adds a comic touch to an already hilarious film. The best comic moments belong to Lorre and Jack Nicholson (as Lorre's son). These two are nuts! Floyd Crosby's photography (in Panavision and Pathecolor) is solid as usual (although the castle isn't; he,he) and Richard Matheson's script (with bits added by Price, Karloff, Lorre and Nicholson) is one of the best comedy scripts ever written. Why wasn't "The Raven" on the AFI Top 100 Comedies List? It's as good as anything in the Top 10 (better than the second ranked Tootsie, that's for sure). The probable answer: they don't know great comedy even if it bit them in the butt.

**** out of 4 stars
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'Olde Worlde' horror mixes laughs and chills
Libretio31 December 2004

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: Mono

During the 15th century, an evil sorcerer (Boris Karloff) lures his arch rival (Vincent Price) to a lonely castle where they fight a magical duel to the death.

Handsomely mounted on some of the most lavish sets ever created for AIP's Poe series, THE RAVEN toplines Price, Karloff and Peter Lorre for the first time in their careers, alongside a very young Jack Nicholson (making the most of a juvenile supporting role). Richard Matheson's clever script turns the faux seriousness of earlier Poe pictures on its head, countering Price's overwrought histrionics with a series of rude rejoinders from Lorre, who relishes his role as a cowardly magician whose divided loyalties place everyone around him in danger. Price and Karloff are worthy adversaries, and their climactic duel is one of the most celebrated set-pieces in horror movie history, despite some fairly obvious trick-work. Floyd Crosby's expansive cinematography and Daniel Haller's 'olde worlde' art direction conspire to render a suitably Gothic atmosphere, though the movie derives most of its strength from the quality of its dialogue and performances. Directed by Roger Corman.
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Fun horror /comedy with an exceptional quartet : Price , Karloff , Lorre and Nicholson
ma-cortes28 March 2012
Amusing , delightful film produced by American Iternational , James H. Nicholson-Samuel Z. Arkoff , with a monumental team of terror all-star-cast as Price , Lorre and Karloff . This supreme adventure in terror and humor deals with a magician (Peter Lorre) who has been turned into a raven and turns to a former nobleman sorcerer (Vincent Price) for help in this film loosely based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem , though takes only the title . Lorre asks Price to change his raven form into human and he helps him by a mixture of jellied spiders , bat's blood and dead man's hair . Then the two sorcerers , Price hypnotized by the memory of his dead second wife (Hazel Court) and his unfortunate associated go to a storm-surrounded castle inhabited by a rival wizard (Boris Karloff excels as an old sorcerer ) , the wickedest one of all . It gets funnier when our two friends along with their sons (Jack Nicholson as secondary in an enjoyable acting though you'd never guess he'd end up a superstar from his interpretation here , he had previously played ¨Little shop of horrors¨ in another comic performance ) pitting their magic wills against the nasty wizard . And the end takes place a funny duel between Price and Karloff including primitive but effective FX .

This is more of a satire than a true terror movie , it is immaculately staged , stylishly realized , very literate , confidently made and plenty of eye-popping scenes . Terror has strangely been more skillfully spoofed than in this agreeable horror/comedy Corman directed . The picture packs usual Corman's striking scenarios including mists rise the ground , lugubrious castle , shrieks come from gloomy coffins , waves pound open the shore and vague shapes move behind the dismal mansions gone to the bad . Despite the original and incredible X certificate , most children will like this enormously fun film . Colorful cinematography by the series usual , Floyd Crosby . Frightening and atmospheric musical score by Les Baxter .

The motion picture is well directed by Roger Corman and based on Richard Matheson's screenplay . It belongs the successful adaptation Edgar Allen Poe series . After his poverty-budget horror stories deemed many of them minor cult , Corman made the cycle of ¨Tales of Terror¨ which gave huge profits from minimal budgets . This Corman terror period during the 60s with classical horror adaptations also includes writer as H.P. Lovecraft with ¨The haunted palace¨ and result to be the following : ¨Tales of terror¨ , ¨The premature burial¨ , ¨Pit and pendulum¨ , ¨House of Usher¨ and on the sets and leftover from ¨The raven¨ was directed ¨The Terror¨ also with Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson . All of them with a great sense of characterization and period , eerily staged , specially in the scenes where heroes and heroines are lured by spirits , spectres or black cats . In these movies repeat the same technicians , assistants as Monte Hellman , musician composers as Ronald Stein and Les Baxter , Daniel Haller as production designer , cameraman as Floyd Crosby , among others . They were realized as vehicles for Vincent Price with the exception of ¨The premature burial¨ with Ray Milland and Hazel Court which was less successful . The last two pictures in the series , ¨The masque of death red¨ and ¨The tomb of Ligeia¨ were filmed in England to combat rising costs . Corman shot some exciting movies after these , but nothing remotely as interesting .
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A good laugh
dkenn196713 August 2004
When I first saw this movies I was shocked by the humor. I was in the mood for a horror flick, and with actors such as Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, and the incomparable Boris Karlof I was sure that I had hit horror gold. However, after the first minute of the movie I quickly realized that this was not a horror film at all, but a wonderful satire of the horror genre.

What makes this movie work so well is that nobody takes themselves too seriously. In fact, you can tell from the outset that everyone in the cast is in on the joke. I would caution those who are expecting a great performance from Jack Nickleson to be prepared to be disappointed. However, it is plainly evident that he is an excellent actor just waiting to happen.

Is this movie perfect, hardly, but it is definitely worth seeing. If for no other reason than to see the climatic head to head dual of magic between Price and Karlof.
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A delight
mermatt1 August 1998
Several masters of horror and mystery gather here to have fun with Poe and the horror genre in general. The duel of the magicians is a hoot, and Peter Lorre in a bird suit is delightful. One of the best horror spoofs ever made.
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A baby boomer's dream "horror" movie.
john_vance-2080628 February 2016
There was period of time in the late 50s to mid 60s where the horror/comedy movie became quite popular. These Karloff/Price/Lorre productions were excellent examples of this tongue-in-cheek genre and The Raven may been the best of them.

As others have noted, the only commonality with Poe's work is that there is a raven in the movie (I guess it could be a crow, who can tell the difference). There are enough shock scenes to keep a 10 year old on the edge of his seat and enough cheesy comic relief to keep him from getting creeped out.

By far the best part of the film comes with the lead actors who manage to blend the sinister with the silly in just the right balance to make the whole thing enjoyable.

Very dated by today's standards, most kids wouldn't be impressed by the scares or the laughs. But for old folks who once spent a lot of Saturday afternoons at the local theater it's a wonderful visit to the past.
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Three Legends Show Us Their Humorous Side In A Funny Film Classic!
Rainey Dawn16 December 2014
The Raven (1935) and The Raven (1963) are two completely different movies - one has nothing to do with the other. The Raven (1963) is not a remake of the 1935 film. The ONLY similarities between the two films are: Boris Karloff stars in both films, both are inspired by Poe's poem "The Raven" and both are good classic horror films - that's it! The stories of the two movies are quite different from each other.

I forgot just how cute this film is until I watched it again! Quite a funny horror-fantasy film. Where else can we see Price dropping eggs on Karloff's head lol. Three legendary stars Lorre, Price and Karloff and an up and coming Jack Nicholson that show us their humorous side.

Yes this is worth watching - if you like a good comedy-horror and fantasy film classic! 8.5/10
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Rapping at my Chamber Door
David Ferguson5 July 2014
Greetings again from the darkness. It's been more than 50 years since this one was released, so it seems a good time to offer up some thoughts and observations. Let's start with the fact that you probably read Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" in high school. Director Roger Corman and writer Richard Matheson take Poe's work as a starting point in a most unique story of their own.

If you aren't familiar with Roger Corman, he is one of the most prolific and entertaining "B" movie makers of all time. His writer here, Mr. Matheson, is best known for his work on numerous episodes of "The Twilight Zone". Poe - Matheson - Corman would be enough, but we also get Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Hazel Court and Jack Nicholson. Price is always a treat to watch (especially in horror films), Lorre appeared in 3 of the greatest movies of all-time (M, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca), Karloff is the master of monster, Ms Court was one of the first stars of Hammer Films, and of course, Nicholson (fresh-faced here) went on to become one of the most successful actors in movie history.

Price, Karloff, Lorre and Nicholson offer up four of the most unique voices ever heard in movies, and they each partake in the fun provided by Corman here. Yes, I said fun. This is almost slapstick comedy, and at a minimum, it's a parody of the much darker series of Poe films. If you consider it as an influence of the 1960's "Batman" TV series, you wouldn't be wrong. Even the music (heavy on the tuba) has an air of comedy.

Watching Peter Lorre as a matador is pretty funny, and some of the back-and-forth with he and Nicholson as father and son is clearly ad-libbed, but the classic comedic sequence occurs when Price and Karloff take their wizardry duel to the death and turn it into a special effects highlight reel.

This may be the only time you hear the phrase "precious viper" used to describe a woman, and if that, combined with all of the above reasons, isn't enough to motivate you to seek this one out, then maybe you will never discover why so many adore the films of Roger Corman. Compared with films of today, this style is nevermore.
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A little TOO silly but still fun
preppy-313 April 2006
A magician (Peter Lorre) is turned into a raven by an evil magician (Boris Karloff). He goes to get help from a kind magician (Vincent Price). Price and Lorre go off to battle Karloff.

Not much of a plot--but with Lorre, Price and Karloff do you need one? Not a great movie by any means--it got more than a little silly at times,the score was dreadful and the special effects are terrible (even by 1963 standards) but I enjoyed this. Some of the lines are fun and the sets look great but it's the acting that puts this over. Price overacts (as always) but in a fun way; Lorre deadpans most of his dialogue and it works; Karloff looks great--relaxed and just having a great time in his role. Also a very young Jack Nicholson is in this--he's terrible and he later admitted that he hated this film. Also Hazel Court (looking stunning) is great in a small role. The script is good but, purportedly, Lorre ad-libbed most of his lines (I did see Price fighting not to laugh a few times). The climatic duel is a definite highlight. Worth catching.

See a letter-boxed print. I saw it on a full frame print on TV with washed-out color. Half the time I couldn't tell what was going on because of the absence of the wide screen.
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Had me saying "nevermore."
Hermit C-211 August 1999
I began watching this Roger Corman film not realizing it was a spoof and not a straight horror film. But even after making the proper attitude adjustment I found it mighty dismal going. This is a lackluster affair that didn't get more than a dry chuckle or two out of me, even in the duel-of-the-magicians scene with its cheapo special effects.

The three old pros who star here--Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre--all do competent enough jobs but there's not much they can do with this material and it doesn't look like anyone's heart was particularly in it. Jack Nicholson is also in the film but he doesn't add anything special, as he would soon be doing in other films. Of the supporting cast I liked Hazel Court the best. She plays a pretty sexy Lenore. She and Olive Sturgess as Price's daughter were all that really caught my attention in this movie.
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The Munsters without the laughs
clivey612 June 2009
I was hoping for a dark, spooky tale in the manner of The Pit and the Pendulum, another Edgar Allan Poe adaptation which also starred Vincent Price. But boy, was I wrong. This 1963 flick is played for laughs, but the laughs aren't that good. Price amiably hams it up as a benevolent paternal magician but you know what you're dealing with the moment a raven flies through his window and starts talking to him with a wise-ass delivery. This is Sabrina the Teenage Witch territory, The Munsters but less fun and without the groovy theme tune.

A great supporting cast such as Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and a young Jack Nicolson do little to enliven this and even at 80 minutes it outstays its welcome. This is more like a forgotten Disney flick, hoping to prompt an indulgent chuckle, and it unfolds very predictably. Rubbish special effects too, even for the time.
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An Interesting Cast Makes This A Curiosity
sddavis632 October 2014
In 1935, Boris Karloff starred in a movie called "The Raven" - a movie that had little to nothing to do with Edgar Allen Poe's poem. Fast forward 28 years. In 1963, Boris Karloff starred in a movie called "The Raven" - a movie that had little to nothing to do with Edgar Allen Poe's poem. Let's talk about the '63 version.

Your first thought about a movie called "The Raven" (and that stars Vincent Price and Peter Lorre, along with Karloff) is that you're going to find a horror movie, or at least a decent mystery or suspense thriller. Those expectations are dashed quickly. This is, after all, directed by Roger Corman. There's nothing frightening or mysterious about this. Instead the movie goes for laughs, as two rival sorcerors/wizards/magicians (Price and Karloff) go head to head with each other, with Lorre stuck in the middle - sometimes a raven, sometimes a man, sometimes a bit of both. Yes, it's a rather silly movie, which unfortunately creates expectations by being named after Poe's poem. From time to time it works in that it brings forth a few chuckles - but it doesn't accomplish much else.

To give them credit, the cast seemed to take this seriously enough and played their parts well, although I understand from what I've read that the three leads did recognize the sheer silliness of it all and had their share of fun while making it. But a few chuckles and a decent cast aside, this just isn't a particularly good movie. In the end, what's most interesting about it is probably an appearance by a very young Jack Nicholson as the Lorre character's son. In terms of quality, his performance wasn't notable, and to be honest I didn't even recognize him until I saw his name in the closing credits. That, along with the team of Price, Lorre and Karloff) makes this movie a curiosity, but it doesn't make it good. (3/10)
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Karloff, Price and Lorre acting silly, what more could you ask for?
dbborroughs24 November 2006
This very silly horror comedy is more than a bit over the top, but then again how often did three masters of horror and suspense get to play it for laughs? The plot has Peter Lorre arriving at Vincent Price's home to tell him that his wife isn't dead, that she has in fact run off with another wizard, Karloff. Price with Lorre and his daughter in tow head off to see Karloff and it soon becomes a battle of magicians for the lives of everyone involved.

Its clear that everyone on screen is having a good time and its hard not to share in the mirth. Made as part of the "Poe" series that AIP was churning out this film takes its name from the classic poem which Price recites at the opening as Lorre shows up in the form of a raven. Any notion of this being a scary film is quickly done away with when Lorre begins cracking wise. So much for another scare film like The House of Usher or The Masque of the Red Death. Its a welcome breath of fresh air from the Poe series and a great deal of fun.

Wile not a truly great film it is one that is a full of a great deal of fun as the actors who scared you as a child instead make you laugh. I don't know what else to say other than just see this film if you want to have a good time.
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Lumpy adaptation of Poe
moonspinner558 April 2006
A comedic horror opus, and a very strange one indeed, directed in an ungainly manner by Roger Corman. Based on Edgar Allan Poe's poem concerning two medieval magicians sparring with a warlock over past indifferences. Veteran stars Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre look surprisingly relaxed and pleased throughout this talky, no-budget production, but the joy of seeing these great talents together quickly fades within the B-movie surroundings. Film only comes fully to life in the magical face-off finale. Hammy and silly, with young Jack Nicholson looking extremely self-conscious in support. Corman quickly followed this with "The Terror" in 1963, featuring Karloff, Nicholson, and the same sets used here. ** from ****
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My least favourite in Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe series.
Infofreak31 May 2003
'The Raven' is my least favourite Roger Corman directed Poe movie. It is completely unlike the others in the series, being a comedy. To me a not very funny one. Corman had previously made two classic low budget black comedies in 'A Bucket Of Blood' and 'The Little Shop Of Horrors', but 'The Raven' is nowhere near as amusing. Perhaps comedy isn't scriptwriter Richard Matheson's forte, but whatever the reason, this is a very disappointing entry in the series which are great favourites of mine. The cast however is outstanding. Horror legends Karloff and Price with two big star of different eras Lorre and Nicholson, and the beautiful Hazel Court who also appeared in the next and best of Corman's Poe movies 'The Masque Of The Red Death'. So no matter how slight and silly this movie is watching these actors together makes it almost worthwhile. The bigger fan you are of the actors involved the more you'll enjoy this one. Otherwise I wouldn't bother unless you've seen all the others and you HAVE to see them all.
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A different look at fantasy and magic.
Michael O'Keefe13 October 2001
Roger Corman writes and produces this farce loosely based on Poe's poem 'The Raven'. This movie seems to satirize the wonderful horror flicks that highlighted our childhoods. A trio of our horror favorites tries desperately to make this clanker click. Tongue-in-cheek humor takes on a different meaning for each individual viewer. The highlight of the movie comes late in the running when Dr. Craven(Vincent Price) and his rival, Dr. Scarabus(Boris Karloff),duel to see who is the master of magical manipulation.

Peter Lorre as Dr. Bedlo is all but wasted before turning into a raven. Also in the cast are the eye opening Hazel Court, Connie Wallace and an awkward Jack Nicholson. I would not doubt that Price, Karloff and Lorre took the money and ran. By all means this is no career enhancer, but fun to watch during a late night party.
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About as bad as it gets
poindexter_mellon24 October 2012
I guess it should have been a tip-off when I saw Roger Corman's name attached to this film. But even then I figured what the hell, I sat through The Wasp Woman, painful as it was, and The Raven has some great actors in it so it has to be better than that. But no, not at all, not better than Wasp Woman in the tiniest bit! At least Wasp Woman has one of the best movie posters of all time to recommend it.

Anyway, I don't have the energy or imagination to even write a more descriptively bad review right now since I've been struck dumb by this mind-numbingly boring and painful to watch movie. Not scary, not funny, not interesting, not anything other than a colossal waste of time.

Oh, and Jack Nicholson was rather wooden I thought.
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The Raven
Phil Hubbs30 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A few films with this title now, which is the better you may ask, well it certainly isn't the one with John Cusack. An intriguing Corman take on the classic Poe poem, a horror comedy with his typical B-movie visuals and cheesy dialog. Of course this being a horror his style works and adds huge amounts of ghoulish charm to the proceedings.

The fifth film Corman adapted from Poe's classic works and probably one of the best (and more well known). The cast is of course the main factor here, Vincent Price who stars in all but one of Corman's adaptations. Peter Lorre who stars in one other Corman/Poe adaptation, Boris Karloff and of course Jack Nicholson.

The plot is based around the Poe poem but of course is very very loose. Obviously most of it has been made up to fill out an entire film and frankly its pretty hokey and childish. Basically Price's character (a good sorcerer) is mourning the loss of his 'Lenore', a talking raven comes into his life which turns out to be Lorre who was turned into the raven by an evil sorcerer (Karloff). Lorre explains that he has seen Lenore at Karloff's castle so off they go to find her. Turns out Lenore faked her death and ran off to the evil 'Dr. Scarabus' (Karloff) to lure 'Dr. Erasmus Craven' (Price) to the castle so they can take his powers.

The plot is thinner than a supermodels waistline and merely serves to offer up some Price vs Karloff sorcery towards the end. Nothing really happens throughout the entire film other than a lot of silly dialog and some rather poor attempts at comedy, its very dated. Nicholson plays the part of a young lad and son of Lorre's character, who also falls for Dr. Erasmus Craven's daughter (she accompanies them all on their adventure to Karloff's castle). No real reason for him to be in this really, he does nothing other than serve up wooden deliveries.

The visuals in the film are nice with that musky old haunted castle type atmosphere, plenty of old leather bound armchairs and dusty bookcases. Price fits the scene like a glove of course, Karloff seems a bit out of place being slightly too serious but he looks good, while Lorre's character is a real misery and quite unlikable, but its all about his voice isn't it. Some nice matte painting work on the outside castle shots, totally fake looking of course but I love that kinda stuff, nice cheesy storm too.

Overall its rather lame really, yes I know its a cult classic with an ultra classic legendary cast but the film is pretty dull and uneventful. The highlight is easily the sorcery battle between Price and Karloff in the finale. A great fun and quite long continuous sequence with some nice ideas and nice effects too. The ending is very soft but what do you expect? this is soft core 1960's horror here, back in the day I'm sure it was deemed quite thrilling.

I'm sure the hardcore fanboys of these silver screen stars will love this, I enjoyed it but must admit I was bored. The finale is cool but the rest is merely filler, still worth your time though purely for the cast.

'Quoth the raven, Nevermore.'

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