The evil Prince Prospero is riding through the Catania village when he sees that the peasants are dying of Red Death plague. Prospero asks to burn down the village and he is offended by the villagers Gino and his father-in-law Ludovico. He decides to kill them, but Gino's wife, the young and beautiful Francesca, begs for the lives of her husband and her father and Prospero brings them alive to his castle expecting to corrupt Francesca. Propero worships Satan and invites his noble friends to stay in his castle that is a shelter of depravity against the plague. When Prospero invites his guests to attend a masked ball, he sees a red hooded stranger and he believes that Satan himself has attended his party. But soon he learns who his mysterious guest is. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
SHUDDER... at the blood-stained dance of the Red Death! TREMBLE... to the hideous tortures of the catacombs of Kali! GASP... at the sacrifice of the innocent virgin to the vengeance of Baal! See more »
Roger Corman and Daniel Haller were able to make this film look more opulent than earlier productions by using the sets left from Becket (1964). The two movies also share one actor: David Weston, who plays Gino here, played Brother John in "Becket". See more »
Prospero gives "Belial" as an alternative name for Satan. In virtually all sources this is the name of a demon, not Satan himself. See more »
Baseball writers like to say that while fans pay to see home runs, it's actually pitching that wins ball games. The great teams are always strong up the middle, whether a power hitter is in the line-up or not.
Vincent Price was the Babe Ruth of horror. Always at his chilling best, he gave hundreds of brilliant performances, but made only a handful of good movies. Why? He always hit home runs, yet most of the time he had to be the whole show. Evil was alive in his movies but good was either shadowy or non-existent.
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is a masterpiece because for once Vincent is up against goodness that is rich, alluring, attractive and unique. Jane Asher gives an indelible performance as Francesca, the village girl who refuses to be cowed or corrupted by the suave, satanic lord. Though so waif-like and fragile that she could almost be a child, the beautiful redhead has the courage of her convictions and the real dignity of innocence.
Watch the early scene where she is roughly undressed by handmaidens and forced into a hot bath in order to become more ladylike. Evil Count Prospero comes in to leer at her, of course, and she confronts him. While the steamy sensuality is certainly there, the astonishing thing is the dignity with which Francesca conducts herself. Once the evil lord is gone, she rises from her bath (discreetly wrapped in a towel) and announces to Prospero's jaded mistress Juliana, "I will do what I must to save my men. But if they die, I will die -- and so will Prince Prospero."
For once Vincent Price has something to work against, and the result is the richest, most colorful and rewarding film of his career. In the story line Jane strikes out Vincent, as Prospero is ultimately defeated -- but for once the slugger is playing on a World Series team.
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