Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Raven

Not a traditional horror film per se, but this has been a favorite of mine and damn it I want to talk about it.

For the longest time this was the only Roger Corman Poe film I saw and I love it so, this ain't no objective film review so hunker down y'all as I spout off some opinions. This is also the loosest adaptation of any work of fiction I have ever seen, how do you make a feature film off of a short poem? The short answer, you don't. The long answer, you center the movie on magic wielding wizards consisting of Vincent Price as Erasmus who aids Peter Lorre as Dr. Bedlo who has been transformed into a raven by Boris Karloff as Dr. Scarabus, but Lorre wants revenge real bad so Vincent accompanies him to Karloff's castle where duels are challenged, dead wives return to life, and humor is peppered throughout. It is a really funny movie to me, that may throw people for a loop when most of the Corman movies of this time period are played straight and serious, but this was an intentional choice of the writers and works nicely. Now you don't get three of the biggest names in horror together in a film and say the acting is bad, Vincent is on a roll in this film from reciting the world famous poem, to the humor, to the magic wielding that would put Doctor Stephen Strange to shame, he's a 20/10. Boris Karloff nearing the end of his career has lost none of his ability, showing a lot of class and charisma while still being a good antagonist, and I'll level with you man the first lines he speaks do nothing but send shivers down my spine in a most eerie way. Peter Lorre while in actuality not as prolific in horror movie history as one might think is a welcome addition, delivering his rapid fire burning insults and wise ass remarks and while he is the lesser of the powers that be in this wizard triumvirate the movie would not be the same without him. For those in the know about Roger Corman's history, to see a very young Jack Nicholson before he got to super stardom is really neat to see even if he doesn't have that big of a role, and you see interviews of him being humbled to the point of tears in thanking Roger giving him a chance to act when no one else would and I have to express a lot of love and gratitude to him as well for getting so many people into movie making. I'm not a book critic by even a microscopic capacity but I recommend you read Corman's book, How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime. Once again the sets and costuming are most impressive, and the effects while not exactly seamless have a strong charm all of it's own. And now comes the part where I say without a shred of irony or exaggeration, these wizard duels are better than anything Harry Potter ever gave us. No, I'm not kidding. No, I'm not taking it back. Don't @ me bitches! I adore it, there is creativity, humor, and ambition in how they did everything. I'll even push that envelope further and say 4 stars, 10/10! Watch it, buy it, love it. But we got one more to go before the week is out, until next time.

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