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
Jane Asher asked Roger Corman if a friend could visit the set and join them for lunch. She explained that her friend was a musician who was about to do his first gig in London that night. At the end of lunch, Corman wished him good luck with his concert. Roger Corman had never heard of Paul McCartney until he read of the concert's success in the next day's newspapers. See more »
When Francesca says she doesn't want to learn (harsh lessons), the shot is clearly discontinued from the previous one, which can be seen by difference in positions of her and Prospero and the lighting. See more »
Man in red:
Why should you be afraid to die? Your soul has been dead for a long long time.
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 »
The original UK cinema version was heavily cut by the BBFC to edit lines of implied sexual dialogue, the killing of Juliana by the falcon, and scenes of burning people (including Alfredo in the ape costume), and to completely remove the entire black mass dream sequence. Video and DVD releases fully restore the BBFC cuts though the print used is an edited U.S version which misses some dialogue as well as a shot of Francesca being slapped across the face by one of Prospero's soldiers. 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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