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Join us for a special screening of MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH the Cult-Classic based on the terrifying tale by Edger Allen Poe starring master-of-horror Vincent Price, directed by Roger Corman and newly-restored in 4k, this prismatically potent, spine-chilling cinematic experience will be followed by a costume dance party!
MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (Dir. Roger Corman, 1964, 89 mins). Followed by a costume dance party for the wicked and the brave. Thematic Tricks & Treats will be provided!
Known as “The King of Cult”, master-of-exploitation filmmaking Roger Corman made a string of films in the 1960’s based from unusual source material: the decidedly antiquarian (and public domain!) short stories of 19th-century writer Edgar Allan Poe. The seventh of these films is a medieval tale of evil aristocratics attempting to outwit and outwait the mysterious “red death” which ravages the countryside around them. They pass the time with sado-masochistic masquerade balls and satanic rituals (“let me speak to you about the anatomy of terror” is a party pick-up line for the ages), but even deals with the devil may not be enough when the plague without becomes the plague within. Master-of-horror Vincent Price stars as Prince Prospero, a genteel monster who enjoys commanding his party guests to bark like dogs and mansplaining Satanism to Francesca, an innocent God-fearing girl he’s kidnapped from the village, played by a wide-eyed 19-year-old Jane Asher.
Scripted by Twilight Zone stalwart Charles Beaumont and with stunning cinematography by Nicolas Roeg highlighting the rich hues throughout. Masque of the Red Death is visually spellbinding, comically wicked, and unabashedly indulgent — a groovy, mod-meets-medieval spectacle with comically large candles, ludicrous hats, and dreary dungeons for days. In Poe’s story, the pride of Prince Prospero’s palace is seven rooms. Each is decorated and illuminated in a specific color: blue, purple, green, orange, white, and violet. The last room is black and bathed in light which shines a deep color of blood. All of the furniture is black, including a clock, which chimes each hour. At the chime of the clock, the revelers at the masquerade freeze. The musicians stop playing. The dancers strike a pose, and all conversations stop. Revelry resumes when the chiming stops. The rooms represent the human mind, the blood and time infuses corporeality. The resulting tone is both mischievous and chilling. Due to the United States’ primness toward sex and religion, and British prudishness toward violence, the film was censored in both countries. Newly restored in 4k from the 35mm original picture negative and a 35mm Technicolor print, this cult-classic has now lovingly been restored to director Roger Corman’s original, full-length vision.
“The Masque of the Red Death is a film that expands our visual vocabulary as we watch it. It creates (where most films simply reflect) a fresh way of seeing.”
-Senses of Cinema
“The Masque of the Red Death moves with a sinuous, unselfconscious elegance.-Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian