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
In Spain hadn't a theatrical release until 1983, 19 years later. The film was only released -with 1 copy-, at first in Madrid (July/83, Alphaville 1) for 29 days and later, in Barcelona (August/83, Casablanca 2) for 18 days, only projected in subtitled version. The dubbed version was for TV premiere in 1987. See more »
Despite Prospero warning the guests not to wear red to the masque, several people are wearing red: capes, hats etc. See more »
But Satan rules the universe! I made a pact with him!
Man in red:
He does not rule alone... and your pact with him will not save you.
There is no other God! Satan killed him!
Man in red:
Each man creates his own God for himself, his own Heaven, his own Hell.
Let me see your face!
[He unmasks the Man in Red to reveal his own bloodstained face]
Man in red:
Your Hell, Prince Prospero... and the moment of your death.
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"And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."- the final line of the original Poe story. 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 »
Visually appealing and trippy in its telling, The Masque of the Red Death is a very acquired taste. Directed by Roger Corman, the film stars Vincent Price as the diabolical Prince Prospero who holds fear over a plague infested peasantry while jollying it up in his castle. The screenplay by Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell is based upon a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, while part of the film contains a story arc based on another Poe tale titled Hop-Frog. It's the 7th of 8 Corman film adaptations of Poe's works.
Sinister yet beautiful (Nicolas Roeg genius like on photography), "Red Death" has proved to be the most divisive of all the Corman/Poe adaptations. Choosing to forgo blood in favour of black magic dalliance and general diabolism, the film is arguably the most ambitious of all Corman's love affairs with Poe's literary works. With Price gleefully putting gravitas of meanness into Prospero, the film also greatly benefits from the intelligent input to the script from Beaumont (many Twilight Zone credits). This is, strangely, an intellectual type of horror film, offering up observations on the indiscrimination of death and proclaiming that cruelty is but merely a way of life. God, Satan and a battle of faith, are all luridly dealt with as the story reaches its intriguing and memorable closure. It's a very tough film to recommend with confidence, and certainly it's not a film one wishes to revisit too often (myself having viewed it only twice in 30 years!). However, the one thing that is a cast iron certainty is that it's unlike most horror film's from the 60s. It's also one of Price's best performances. Gone is the camp and pomposity that lingered on many of his other horror characterisations, in its place is pure menace of being. A devil dealer shuffling his pack for all his sadistic worth. You may feel afterwards that you must have eaten some weird mushrooms, or that that last glass of wine was one too many. You are however unlikely to forget The Masque of the Red Death in a hurry. 7/10
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