October 18th, 2010

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Rondo Hatton Watch "House of Usher"

This was the first of the series of Edgar Allen Poe films directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. A bit drawn out, "House of Usher" set the blueprint for the next 4 movies that Corman/Price would create together.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Rondo Hatton Watch "The Pit and the Pendulum"

"The Pit and the Pendulum" shows marked improvement over "House of Usher" in terms of narrative drive. Vincent Price portrays the tragic hero who is driven to madness by people he thought he could trust. The last scene is a classic and well worth the built up tension.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Rondo Hatton Watch "Tales of Terror"

Vincent Price stars in all three "Tales of Terror."
Given that Edgar Allan Poe wrote mostly short stories, these three films feel closer to the writer's intent.

seems to repeat the actions of "House of Usher," complete with the obligitory fire sequence that would reapear in "The Tomb of Ligeia."

"The Black Cat"
is the best of the three tales. Mixing elements of "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Black Cat" features an actor's duel between fobbish Vincent Price and grubby Peter Lorre over a wine tasting contest. The episode mixes humor with horror and a does of sadism.

"The Case of M. Valdermar"
deals with a dying man and the people who manipulate the situation. After being drown by Basil Rathbone in "Tower of London," Vincent Price gets his comeuppance after nearly 30 years. Gross finale, perhaps the only way to end Edgar Allen Poe's "Tales of Terror."
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Rondo Hatton Watch "Masque of the Red Death"

"Masque of the Red Death" opened "Literary Cinema" in 2004 and is considered the best of the Poe/Corman/Price series. Featuring the lovely Jane Asher as the innocent heroine, Vincent Price is at his evil best as Prince Prospero. Hazel Court costars as Jane Asher's rival and Patrick MacNee is effectively creepy as a pleasure loving sadist.

Besides following the plot line of "Masque of Red Death," Poe's short story, "Hop Frog" is thrown into the narrative. The ending is pure Igmar Bergman, but cinematographer Nicholas Roeg still makes the climax a colorful spectacle.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Rondo Hatton Watch "The Tomb of Ligeia"

The tagline for Alice Cooper's current tour is, "They keep killing him and he keeps coming back!" The same could be said for Vincent Price's characters in all 5 Roger Corman/Edgar Allan Poe movies.

Price plays a man obssessed with his dearly departed wife, Ligeia. Verdon Fell (Price) later meets a similar woman who resembles his late wife. Things get confusing and sick, until Fell unravels the mystery of his own mind.

"The Tomb of Ligeia" is the most natural looking of the Poe/Corman/Price series. Shot on the London countryside, "The Tomb of Ligeia" makes the most of the exterior shots. A fine curtain call for the Poe/Corman/Price partnership.