A sadistic prince takes refuge in his castle as a
vicious plague ravages the peasants in the villages.
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Directed by Roger Corman
Written by Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell
Starring Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher,
David Weston, Patrick Magee, Nigel Green
Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe
The Masque of the Red Death is a boring, slow, nonsensical movie that barely kept my interest and stands as the worst of Vincent Price's work that I've seen so far. His performance is wooden and forgettable, and there isn't a single character that stands out. I've only read the gist of Poe's story, but I imagine it's difficult to stretch a short story into a 90 minute film. Still, I believe Corman was unsuccessful, as I still don't really know what this movie was supposed to be about.
Price plays the vicious Prince Prospero, a sadistic ruler who worships Satan and enjoys torturing peasants to pass the time. He kidnaps a beautiful peasant named Francesca (Jane Asher), who at first despises him but suddenly grows to care for him. Reminds me a lot of another terrible movie, The Conqueror. Prospero spends the entire film worshiping the Devil and spouting nonsense about the Red Death, a plague that's killing the poor. Prospero gets his in the end, though, as a demon who resembles Prospero himself poisons the prince's entourage with the Red Death and then does the same to the prince. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and getting there is a chore and a half.
I would not recommend this film to any horror fan or Vincent Price fan, and I'm not really sure where the cult love for it comes from. It doesn't make a lick of sense, has no interesting or redeeming characters, and by the time it's over, the only thing you'll realize is that 90 minutes have disappeared from your life forever. Take your chances if you wish. Just know that you were warned here first.