A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
The Masque of the Red Death
Horror has a face.
Satan-worshiper Prince Prospero invites the local nobility to his castle for protection against an oncoming plague, the Red Death. He orders his guests to attend a masked ball and, amidst an atmosphere of debauchery and depravity, notices the entry of a hooded stranger dressed all in red. Believing the figure to be his master, Satan, Prospero is horrified at the revelation of his true identity.
"Satan. The lord of flies. The fallen angel. [Vincent Price whisper the only way Vincent Price could whisper] The devil."
This the best looking of the Corman Poe adaptations (shot by Nicolas Roeg!) that I've seen, with a bold color palette leaning towards very-1964-modern psychedelic poster art shades of blue, teal and yellow (like this kind of), and of course deep, deep, deep red. Has almost the air of something like Fellini Satyricon, La Grande Bouffe or even Salo, ultimately less about Satanic evil and more about excess, greed, indulgence, wrath and cruelty: Real end of the empire human flaws that assure mutual destruction and total annihilation. These themes would resonate with Cold War era audiences as much as contemporary…
Part of the Sight & Sound: Stewart Home Project
Roger Corman's The Masque of the Red Death proves once again that, if given the choice in horror movies between atmospheric weirdness and cheap scare tactics, I'll choose the former a hundred times out of a hundred. This film is many things - hyper-stylized, moody, gothic, campy, profane, eerie, funny - and all of these attributes I'd rate as having a higher degree of difficulty than simply being able to frighten me. If I want to be scared, a well-placed plastic spider can often do the trick. If I want to be entertained, it'll take a little something extra, like gorgeous production design and perfect music and Vincent Price chewing up the…
Brightly colored gothic horror inspired by Poe (and coming a lot closer to the original story than, say, The Raven), this is an eerily beautiful film. I actually was a bit shocked when Vincent Price outright declared his allegiance to Satan; I expected some sort of work around, some sort of avoidance of the topic. Instead, Corman's film embraced the villainy, declared Satan the master of the universe and the death of God, and then toppled it all with the most gorgeous grim reapers ever (fuck off, Gaiman). This is pre-psychedelic kaleidoscopy painted on the grimmest classic horror. Vincent Price seems to relish his role here, which turns what would be hammy into the exquisite.
December count: 94/100
Crazy to imagine something this focused on perversion and degradation, this balletic, this European was a popular drive-in favorite with teens in the mid 60s. This loses its way a bit whenever Price isn't onscreen, but when he is, it coooooks - this might be his very best villainous role, a touch of camp but resonant in his cruelty and inhumanity.
It's too bad we never got those White Death, Blue Death, Yellow Death, or any of the other Death movies we were promised.
SATAN RULES THE UNIVERSE!
The way Vincent Price mentions "The Devil," in the most salacious gleeful whisper tho.
I loved the crazy tracking shots (courtesy of Nicolas Roeg) through color coded rooms. And the way the camera bobs and weaves between dancers and lands on Vincent price in a canted angle gave me chill bumps. Waaaaay classier than I expected from a Corman Poe adaptation. And the smart dialogue often tackles real subjects like greed and corruption and narcissism. Satan and God don't care about you. Death comes for everybody just the same.
However, the movie DOES get a bit too stagey and talky at times for my liking, which deflates the spook factor exponentially, especially whenever Vincent Price is offscreen worshipping the Lord…
Looks great (if a little stagey), intriguing dialogue and good pace BUT I'd be lying if I said I truly got what this was about. Funnily enough, I remember being made to read it in school and didn't understand it then either but I think it's clever enough that it's totally fine to take what you can from it. You could easily apply to today as much as you could when it was written and when this was made in 1964...apparently there's nothing new under the sun.
As a kid, I loved the incredible visuals and the atmosphere that was thick with dread. As an adult all these years later, I can further appreciate the wonderful work that went into all the visuals, from the cinematography to the immaculate production design, while also giving a lot of credit to Corman for being able to make this film feel so damn nasty without being particularly explicit with either the violence or the erotic qualities. Corman does more with a simple panning shot of revelers laughing like a ghoulish choir than a lot of supposedly hard-edged films are able to accomplish. The additions made to the story by Corman and Charles Beaumont to make it easier to take in…
A somewhat spellbinding and very colourfully shot Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, although the story doesn't flow as well as it maybe ought to.
One of the better Corman Poe films. Easily the best looking.
Possibly the best of the Corman Poe films; it's close to The Fall and Rise of the House of Usher and certainly more lavish - which means some good supporting actors including Nigel Green and Patrick Magee. The role of Prince Prospero plays to Vincent Price's meatier side which adds to the splendid fun; there's basically no plot beyond a load of horrible deaths and plenty of sordid decadence, which naturally Corman excels at.
“The Masque of the Red Death” features Vincent Price in all of his melodramatic, villainous glory. I hadn’t watched a movie with Price in it in years, but watching this one I can see why he was such an icon of horror in the 50s and 60s. Sure, he played his roles with extravagant gestures and expression that would probably fit better on a stage setting than before the more intimate motion picture camera, but he nonetheless has an undeniably commanding presence. His Prince Prospero reminds me a bit of Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula. Gentlemanly at times, confidently regal, but absolutely devoid of a soul. He may be more flamboyant and extroverted than Dracula, but he’s just as dead inside…
The first couple of scenes are really great, then it just turns out that this is another entry in Roger Corman's Poe cycle that consists of Vincent Price being weird in a castle. Its main problem − aside from familiarity − is that the pacing is all over the shop, with endless scenes of people just wandering around ominously, but Nicolas Roeg's cinematography is amazing (I love the way he abandons the stately framing for a handheld in the climax, like Scorsese in Goodfellas), there are some interesting if underdeveloped ideas about intellectual evil, and the last 10 minutes is really strong, with a creepy coda that reeks of Bergman. The film also includes a man doing the worst ever impression of a pig.
That hit the spot, yo