The Masque of the Red Death
Director: Roger Corman Run Time: 90 min. Format: 35mm Rating: UR Release Year: 1964
Out of the eight film adaptations he did, The Masque of the Red Death is one of Roger Corman’s more faithful renderings of an Edgar Allen Poe story.
Based on the 1842 short story of the same name with a slight incorporation of a sub-plot on Poe’s other tale, “Hop Frog,” the film is a vivid visual odyssey into madness, sadism, and death. Starring Vincent Price, The Masque of the Red Death takes place during the 12th century when a plague known as “The Red Death” was spreading across Europe, decimating the population. In the midst of this, Prince Prospero (Price) has cloistered himself with a select group of aristocrats in his castle fortress where he worships Satan. To pass the time, they play decadent parlor games which usually involve the victimization and torture of some unfortunate peasants. Prospero’s most recent act of cruelty involves forcing a local villager Francesca to choose between sparing the life of her father or her fiance. Meanwhile, a mysterious cloaked figure journeys toward Prospero’s castle for a fateful meeting.