October 7th, 2011: Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Cast and Crew: Charles Beaumont (Screenwriter); Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson (Presenters)

What It’s About: An old woman is given a rose by a figure in red hooded robes. He says it is a gift that will liberate the country side from corrupt, Satanic Prince Prospero (Vincent Price). When Prospero discovers the old woman has the dreaded Red Death, he orders her village burnt to the ground and heads to his castle. Safely inside the castle, bored nobles watch Prospero’s entertainments, including a dwarf named Hop-Toad (Skip Martin), his dancer bride, and a midnight masquerade.  Will the hooded figure make good his promise?

Why Watch it Today?:  Edgar Allan Poe died today in 1849The Masque of the Red Death is one of the best of Roger Corman’s Poe cycle, featuring sets borrowed from prestige production Beckett, a large cast, fine performances from Price, Hazel Court, and Patrick Magee, superior cinematography from future director Nicholas Roeg and atmosphere that’s three feet thick.

Where to Get It: Netflix; Turner Classic Movies is showing it October 24th at 3:15am.

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