Lovely photographer Rebecca winds up in a Bavarian castle at a "Masque of the Red Death" party hosted by the wealthy Ludwig. Mayhem ensues as assorted Poe story devices start doing away with the guests.
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
LOOK INTO THIS FACE - 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 »
Hop Toad's wife, Esmeralda, was played by Verina Greenlaw who was only a child at the time. Her dialog was looped by an adult actress. See more »
True to Corman's penchant for utilizing anything already available in the studio to dress his actors and sets, many of the men's hats are 300 years out of date with the time period that the story is supposed to have taken place in. See more »
[after Gino has been ordered to be removed from the castle]
Prince Prospero let me go with him.
You , oh no my dear I couldn't bear to think of... No
[to the crowd]
you will go to your rooms now and prepare for the masque, you will not appear in your costumes until... midnight.
[turns to see Francesca following him]
Why do you follow me?
Bring Gino back and I will do whatever you wish.
You would destroy yourself for him?
[...] See more »
Satanic cards are put by an animated hand on the red background during the closing credits, finishing with the death card "La mort". See more »
UK BBC transmissions include the dialogue and face-slapping missing from all DVD releases as well as a scene, running around 50 secs, in which Hop Toad tells the female dwarf that no one will ever hit her again. See more »
I can't believe Roger Corman directed this masterpiece!
For those of you who are fans of director Roger Corman's classic 50s sci-fi films like ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, or THE WASP WOMAN, you are going to be surprised that this is the same man who directed MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. Superbly directed and beautifully composed, MASQUE is the first and best of Corman's Poe films of the 1960's.
Prince Prospero (played with just enough venom by Vincent Price) is an evil tyrant who hates his citizens and thinks nothing of burning their village to the ground. Holding a weekend get-together for his noble acquaintances, he discovers that the Red Death has manifested itself in the village around his castle. He kidnaps the beautiful Francesca (the wonderful Jane Asher), her lover Gino, and her father and keeps them in the castle with him. Prospero is a Satan worshipper as well and forces the princess, Juliana, to brand herself with an upside-down cross and sics his falcon on her when he feels like it. All the while, the Red Death decimates the land outside the castle and eventually makes its grand entrance during a masque.
Corman has certainly matured over the years. His filmmaking techniques are no longer shoestring or cheap. Here, it is obvious that he has developed a taste for color, atmosphere, tone, and lighting. MASQUE features his best work as a director and is only rivalled, in my opinion, by TALES OF TERROR, a later Poe anthology. Vincent Price proves once again why he has won the hearts of genre fans everywhere. I can only compare his performance here to that in HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, only better. Jane Asher does a splendid job here, but Hazel Court, Hammer's resident scream queen, has little to do here as Juliana. The final images of the film set during the masque are breathtaking and will stun those expecting cheap gothic thrills a la THE UNDEAD, an earlier Corman work.
MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is very deserving of a new VHS/DVD release. Fans of Price or Corman should definitely seek this out, as it is probably both mens' greatest work. Highly recommended.
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