Vincent Price is one of the godfathers of horror. When I opened the first Project Horror with a block of classics, I knew that it had to include the original version of The Fly. In the spirit of that classics block, I'm going to spend the first five days of Bride of Project Horror watching Vincent Price movies. I actually got the idea from my friend Patrick, who also suggested tonight's movie, The Masque of the Red Death, which he said was like having an acid trip.
The movie, of course, is based on the Edgar Allan Poe (speaking of the godfathers of horror) short story of the same name, which most of us probably read at some point, either during American Lit in high school, or during those depressed, dressed-in-black parts of life, possibly also in high school. It's a great story, creepy, and stacked high with the trappings of Gothic horror.
The plot of both is basically this: the wicked Prince Prospero invites a group of nobles to sequester themselves with him inside of his castle while a plague ravages the world outside. The revelry grows more debauched until a mysterious guest appears, bringing with him a reckoning for the prince's guests. The movie has to pad a little bit to work that outline up to 90 minutes, so we get to meet the townspeople outside the castle, including Francesca, an innocent girl who is taken captive by Prince Prospero. There's also plenty more about Prospero, his sadism, and his philosophy. As a bonus, they shoehorn in another Poe story, but I won't spoil it by telling you which.
I'm trying to be balanced and think of something not to like about this movie, but I've got to be honest - I really just liked the whole thing. Price just relishes the role of Prospero. When he torments the townspeople or demeans his guests, he's completely in his element. Jane Asher is also good in the role of Francesca, but I was mostly interested in her because I knew she used to be Paul McCartney's gal. The best part, though? Roger Corman. There's a psychedelic dream sequence halfway through that really does feel like a bad trip. And you could practically teach a master class on the use of color in film based just on his palettes in Red Death.
They probably won't all be this strong, but I feel like we're off to a good start with this one. I give The Masque of the Red Death five bloody roses out of five.