Thursday, May 5, 2011

Film #64: The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Enough with these royals already!
Just when we had washed all the vomit off our fronts from the British royal wedding, along comes puke-inducing Prince Prospero.
Though instead of churning our stomachs with ridiculous flared hats and enough bad genes to make the strongest guts tip, old Prince Posterious brings the mouth-rain with his despicable acts of peasant torture and striking hubris in this week’s film.

Set in medieval times, Prince Prospero views his subjects as nothing more than animals meant to boss around for his amusement. But his horrific days of abuse may be drawing short, points out peasant Gino, since yesterday a woman was handed a prophecy from on high that “deliverance” was coming for the land.

Prospero doesn’t like that kind of talk, and orders Gino and his father in law Ludovico choked to death. Only the pleading of Gino’s lover, the beautiful Francesca, stays the Prince’s wrath… for the moment. On the other hand, it’d be more fun to let Francesca choose which one, her father or her husband, dies for challenging Prospero’s authority.
It’s a fun enough game for awhile, but Prospero’s laughing suddenly stops when an old woman in the village is stricken with the plaque like Red Death.

Prospero decides to take his games back to his castle. Ludovico and Gino are arrested, their village ordered burned, and lovely Francesca is taken as Prospero’s new virginal plaything.

An avid Satan-worshiper, Prospero extends an upcoming sin-filled ball as a way his rich and powerful nearby cohorts can be entertained while riding out the plague outbreak. Tucked safe away from the rabble in his castle, Prospero now have the ultimate leverage over his evil friends.
Do what he says, or else he will expel you from his castle and into the land of the Red Death.

At first Francesca denies his satanic-conversion and carnal advances. But she soon offers a trade, save her love Gino, and he can do with her what he wants.

Meanwhile Prospero’s current wife Juliana dives deeper into Satanism in an effort to win back Prospero’s affections, which have entirely been focused on the younger Francesca.
Prospero seem to have it all… but can his money and power protect him from the plaque?

Will Gino stand by and let his lover be satanized.
Can a cougar out sex a kitten with the help of old Beelzebub?
Find out in the 1964 classic “Masque of the Red Death.”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 4.0
Chris Dimick masques:
“Good thing this movie isn’t Priceless. Because if it was, my rating would be lower than a Kardashian IQ. No, lucky for us, Vincent Price starred in The Masque of the Red Death. And his star has rarely shinned brighter in this slick, entertaining Roger Corman directed funfest.

You can never go wrong with Vincent Price as your lead.
But his talents are best utilized not as the common good guy in a picture, such as in The Tingler or The Fly, but as the bastard, silver tongue evil villain.

When Price is playing bad, he is at his best.

A master at delivering spiteful rants and oozing sleaze (I think it is that thin mustache), Price as a bad guy is enthralling and mind-meltingly fun to watch.

Such was the case in this film, where he spewed bile and elicited mental jeers as a Satan-worshiping maniac Prince out for world domination.

Price can make any dialog sound sophisticated and biting. But when he has an actual interesting script to read, his lines feel introspective and worth serious consideration. For example, Price pulls you in with lines like:
“Believe? If you believe you are gullible. Can you look around this world and believe in the goodness of a god who rules it? Famine, Pestilence, War, Disease and Death! They rule this world.” Or how about this one: “I'm not corrupting, Alfredo, no... instructing.”

Based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe, and fleshed out by frequent Twilight Zone contributor Charles Beaumont (an under-rated horror genius who penned such TZ classics as “Number 12 Looks Just Like You, Living Doll, and A Nice Place to Visit”) this film reaches a horror-lovers trifecta with Roger Corman producing and directing.

While Corman and Price brought the showmanship, sleaze and flash, Beaumont kept the film grounded by focusing on themes of blind faith (in both good and evil) and the inescapability of death.

The message driven home by Beaumont and Poe is one of my favorites. No matter how rich, powerful, beautiful, poor, humble, or ugly you are… all of us will equally face death. What truer horror exists in this world than that fact?

Come for the Price and Corman. Stay to think with Poe and Beaumont. And that still doesn’t do it for you, there's Hazel Court in a low cut dress.”

N-Rating: 2.0
Nick Rich masques:
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: satanists are so shortsighted! It's tragic really... I mean, you decide you believe in a higher power, but then you choose the losing side?!? To quote Gob Bluth "COME ON!!"

It's almost too much to take... what's next? People hailing Rebecca Black as a singular talent? Pigs flying at angry birds? (Which actually might make a strange kind of sense given the rumors throughout the years regarding their aerodynamic tendencies).
Vincent Price acting like a complete and totally unabashed sleazy scoundrel? Wait, according to my Price guide (Chris) there is no better place for good ol' VP to be. It makes one wonder about Price's propensity for playing such characters (yes, children of the 80s, Price had a career before he was "the old dude from Thriller")
But, the wondering doesn't distract you from enjoying his performance. While I didn't enjoy Price's take on the evil Prince Prospect quite as much as Chris, I nevertheless still found it entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining, I must admit The Masque of The Red Death was my first venture into Edgar Allen Poe adaptations that are period pieces which embody the time they were made (shocking, I know). Case in point: even though TMoTRD was supposed to take place in medieval times, the hair, make-up and clevage was very much a product of the 60s.
Not that I minded, I just found the incongruancy amusing and aptly suitable for the overall campy feel of the film. Oh, and don't even get me started on the groovy solid color rooms that led to Price's statanic sanctuary or the general over-acting on the part of the minor players in the film... it was just plain fun.

However, fun as it was there was something lacking in TMoTRD that kept me from rating it higher; perhaps campy horror is a sub genre I' ve not developed a sufficient taste for to date. After all, fun is fun but it doesn't pay the bills (in this case, bills of horror).

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you've ever wondered how to stave off the plague (and impress you friends) or if you'd like to experience the greatest end credits the RDHP has experienced thus far! (They were literally my favorite part of the film)"


Things We Learned From Masque of the Red Death:
-Vincent Price plays a great biting dick
-The British even laugh creepy.
-Rape starts with a creeper peep.
-Nick thinks Prices William and Harry were more handsome when they were younger.
-A man’s tights wedgie can look like a heart.
-If a hound bites the hand that feeds and carrasses it, then should it not be disciplined? Yes, it should.
-Don’t slap a midget jester’s tiny dancer:

Quote of the Viewing:
[A tiny baby wearing a hood keeps narrowly avoiding happenstance death at the hands of Prince Prospero.]

Chris: “That baby just wants to die.”
Nick: [In Forrest Gump’s Bubba voice] There’s several ways to kill a ba-by. You can stomp it, horse it, burn it, bake it…”

RDHP Presents:
Interesting Names for Satan
Whether you believe in him or not, we all can agree that Satan has a lot of interesting names. Vincent Price’s Prince Pospero was a big fan of the evil one, and an even bigger fan of rattling off his different monikers. Below, we list a few of “he who shall not be named’s” names, along with various pictures depicting evil incarnite.

The Lord of Lies



Prince of Darkness



Fallen Angel


Amanda Bynes

RDHP Suggests:
Things to Store in Your Cod Piece
Midevil fashion liked to excentuate the buldge, and did so through the use of bulbus cod pieces. This now lost fashion, worn in this week's movie, got the RDHP thinking… the cod piece is a perfect place to store food, valuables, and anything else one wants to keep close to their heart…or junk.
Below, what we like to put in our cod pieces… beside our cod.

Your Lunch
(what better way to keep it warm)

(efficient AND it feels good)

Picture of the Wife
(It’s both a display of affection and of monogamy)

Spare Candy
(for the neighborhood kids)

Loose Change
(Best to keep one's valuables in the same place)

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