Customer Review

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalyptic Mediaevalism: Corman's Cinematic Totentanz, 7 April 2009
This review is from: Masque Of The Red Death [DVD] (DVD)
Undoubtedly the 1964 film 'The Masque of the Red Death'stands as Roger Corman's masterpiece of richly-stylized gothic horror, melding his free adaptation of the Poe story of the same name with the cruel tale of 'Hop Frog'. The atmosphere acheived in this film , with it's sumptuous sets, costumery and heightened sense of lapidary colour, is quite incomparable. From the opening scene in the mist-shrouded twilight of the plague-haunted mediaeval countryside where the old woman gathering wood encounters the crimson-cowled figure of the Red Death sat beneath a tree drawing the tarot cards which signify his role as divinely-appointed dispenser of fate unto humankind, an eerie and apocalyptic drama unfolds to compelling effect: the simplicity and innocence of the village-girl Francesca contrasts sharply with the luxuriant and corrupting evil within Prince Prospero's turreted castle as a tale as starkly and boldly delineated as some Mystery-cycle or morality-play of the High Middle Ages, is enacted. Vincent Price's depiction of Prince Prospero, a nobleman who has pledged his eternal soul to the Lord of this World, the 'Lord of Flies', is absolutely masterly. Likewise the beautiful Hazel Court provides a powerful portrayal of Juliana who vies with Prospero for the infernal favours of Satan vowing herself as the bride of hell in the black chapel. Sin and innocence, sanctity and abomination, freedom and fate, survival and mortality - all is in the balance and over all the red-cowled figure of the Red Death presides dealing the cards which are the lots of inexorable and inescapable destiny. Prince Prospero's dark allegiance and pact with his satanic Master avails him not at all when the clock strikes midnight and despite his arrogant pomp, power and riches he too must join in the final dance - the Dance of Death!
The sheer visual beauty of many scenes of this film will impress themselves vividly upon your imagination in a lasting way, some examples being the suite of yellow, blue, purple and black chambers, Juliana's hallucinatory and daemonic dream sequence and the final sequence where the various avatars of Death are beheld upon the foggy heath. The acting is of a very high standard and the characters are well realised throughout. The pace never flags as the narative builds up via skilful episodic unfoldment to the climactic confrontation at the height of the Masque and the score throughout is powerful and deeply evocative. 'The Masque of the Red Death' delivers an unforgettable experience and is truly worthy of being called a genuine classic of horror...
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 May 2011 20:04:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 May 2011 20:07:59 BDT
A fine review. Thank you for your correct spelling of mediaeval, a nice surprise in a world of semi-literates.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012 14:32:00 GMT
Gilgamesh says:
He didn't spell it 'mediaeval' you dork! He spelt it 'medieval' which is the correct spelling.
Anyway he misspells 'daemonic' for 'demonic' later but who cares its probably a typo anyway.
Don't get too obsessed with literacy anyway, some people can't spell very well but they can paint, play an instrument or sculpt.
Its just an art form thats all and not necessarily an indication of intellect.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2012 15:40:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2012 16:10:55 GMT
I draw your attention to line three (3) of the review not so smart-arse. Both mediaeval and daemonic are the original and thus, must be assumed to be the correct spellings of the words in question. The abridged spellings came at a later date probably coined by some bone-idle punk (Please feel free to check the meaning of this word if you are capable). Not getting obsessed with literacy is one of the reasons this bloody country is in the state it's in.
I thank you for your ludicrous observations.
'Dork' is that some kind of Americanism? Ah! Yes, I see from the O.E.D. that it is, from the definitions given it would appear that both would seem to be perfect descriptions of yourself my good fellow, good day to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Mar 2012 12:32:13 GMT
Gilgamesh says:
LMAO! This country's in the state its in not because of people not being able to spell medieval or demonic correctly whatever that is (i don't care ), but rather because of corrupt govt and corporate greed.
Much like this movie, when they decide to blow up the planet and spread their plague everywhere, rest assured they will have a safe haven but ultimately will be consumed by their own arrogance and pride.

ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Mar 2012 15:56:53 GMT
Please, feel free to leave. Unlike many countries there are no restrictions. I should be happy to help you pack.
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