TBT: The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

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Today we look back at at Roger Corman’s gaudy and grotesque Masque of the Red Death (1964). This is not a faithful retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s work, but if memory serves, the story was kind of thin on character development, so some fleshing out was needed. Apparently there were elements taken from other stories (according to Wikipedia, parts of Poe’s Hop-Frog and Torture by Hope by Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam filled out the plot).

The next thing you should know is that this film is set in something like the 15th century, but there’s a whole lot of Technicolor, lamé, and beehive hairdos involved. Doesn’t really make a difference, honestly, since you’re probably not going to be watching this sort of film for the historical accuracy (unless it’s 1960s historical accuracy, then maybe).

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Vincent Price

No, you are going to be watching it for this guy.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Vincent Price

Because he wears all kinds of ridiculous outfits.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Vincent Price

And he looks badass doing it.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Vincent Price

Because he’s Vincent Effing Price, bitches.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Vincent Price

RESPECT.

It’s important to note that Jane Asher is cute as a button. She doesn’t have a whole lot of room to actually act, what with Vincent Price standing right there, chewing all of the scenery, but she’s easy on the eyes. And she gets a bunch of costume changes featuring varying levels of 1960s hairdos.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Jane Asher

The “teased and tousled filthy peasant” hairdo.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Jane Asher

The “I’m going to the medieval psychopath’s prom” up-do.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Jane Asher

The “I’m too dead inside to care if this is culturally appropriative” beehive.

And finally, do not think I wouldn’t wear the shit out of this dress, worn by Hazel Court in her “marriage to Satan” scene.

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Hazel Court

It is my exact favorite color of blood red!

Masque of the Red Death (1964) - Hazel Court

Would you just LOOK at these breasts?

 

So, definitely give this movie a watch if you want some schlocky Vincent Price goodness for your Halloween amuse-bouche. Happy hauntings! MWAHAHAHAHAHA…

What’s your favorite Vincent Price Halloween movie? Share it with us in the comments!

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

6 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    Fave VP Halloween movie has to be “The Raven.” Such a delightful switch-up on Poe, and with such a fantastic cast. More scenery chewed per frame than anywhere else.

    Reply
  2. LydiaR

    My favorite VP Poe movie is The Tomb of Ligeia, because he looks so tasty in those smoked glasses!

    Reply
  3. mmcquown

    I suppose in fairness it must be pointed out that the whole occasion was a masque; therefore any costume was appropriate. And yes, the shades in Ligeia were way cool!

    Reply
    • EAG46

      In one scene, Death WAS played by Mr. Vincent Price when it was his time. But I guess that was just for effect. Beautiful use of Technicolor and probably Roger Corman’s highest budget. Or at least, the biggest bang for his buck.

      Reply

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