Friday, October 13, 2023

The Masque Of The Red Death

What a pick for Friday the 13th. Sometimes my genius it''s almost frightening.

A fairly strong point to end the week on as well, I greatly enjoyed this movie. And huzzah, I've actually read the source material on this and while admittedly it is a loose adaptation it gets the gist well enough. Set during the dark ages a cruel and heinous prince named Prospero holds a lengthy and degenerate feast and masque, while the countryside is being plagued by a terrible disease where he takes a young woman named Francesca, her lover Gino, and her father Ludivico for the purposes of "entertainment". They make some big changes though, originally the prince set up the ball to distract from thr horrors of pestilence and disease sealing himself and his court in the castle while here the prince is a straight up satanist and revels in the showing of such impure and fiendish behaviors to the innocent Francesca. Vincent Price is a bastard in this movie, he plays it really well but Prospero is beyond horrible and makes a great villain who essentially is our main character to the end. Jane Asher as Francesca is just a poor girl who gets whisked away and has to keep her faith while Prospero either tries to convert her or sacrifice her, it can be read either way, and you want to see her get the hell out of this damned castle. There's a fairly bigger cast than previous Corman films but I want to give some major love to John Westbrook who plays the eponymous Red Death, the look alone is incredibly simplistic and yet so classic and striking but his voice is outstanding, understanding the value that truly powerful and menacing figures need not even raise their voice. Speaking of striking, the color is unreal in this movie, I'm not sure what the technicals were but they used a good deal of saturation and had no issue using a wide palette. They used the imagery of rooms with various hues, why? Color. They use candles of green and blue, why? Colour. You see many personifications of death in a kaleidoscopic fashion, why? Couleur. It's a spectacle practically of seeing so many extras in various regalia merrymaking, but it doesn't lose it's horror basis. Just seeing acts of cruelty being brushed off as a good or acceptable thing is disturbing enough, throw in devil worship, another weird dream scene bathed in blue, the literal specter of a gruesome and hellish death sweeping across the castle, even if you want to get all philospohical and see the juxtaposition of faith in God against Prospero's belief that war, plague, famine, and death rule the world with no good things to be found and that the belief in God is nothing short of a farce is pretty screwed up man. I almost fully believe this is a tale that could be remade today in all seriousness, maybe not with the backdrop of recent world events but...I'm not saying. I'm just saying. Look at this movie, look at today. Onwards we trek, so production values are surprisingly expansive, acting is solid, story is a classic, and I feel like a complete utter fool for not reviewing these way waaaaay earlier. I give it 4 stars, 9/10! Next week we're getting foreign, ooooh yeah!

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