Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Tomb of Ligeia (1965, Roger Corman)


Vincent Price goes goth steampunk in Roger Corman’s final Poe film, The Tomb of Ligeia. Choosing to go out with more of a slower film than the lavish Masque of the Red Death, Ligeia is still a fairly bleak flick, one that slowly builds up its horrors. Price plays a nobleman who remains under his late wife’s spell, as made very clear by the eerie opening. Other, far darker elements are only hinted at and revealed later on.

Verden, Price’s character, is a nobleman who lives in an old, crumbling abbey full of cool artifacts and his loyal manservant. He makes the mistake of falling in love with Rowena, who is then beset by a cat that may be the spirit of his dead wife. This movie takes “Just the cat!” to unhealthy levels, as that cat attacks everyone who comes near it. Eventually Verden has to face the cat, and the haunting spirit of his decreased beloved.

Elizabeth Shepherd is great in a double role, even though they had to use makeup and other tricks to make Price seem younger. I wonder how the film would have worked had they been able to get Richard Chamberlain in the part instead. Regardless, this is a well made movie that I liked a lot, and I wonder if we will ever see anyone adapt so many literary works from one author like Corman did.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Masque of the Red Death (1964, Roger Corman)


Throughout my years of horror watching, I have marveled at the fact that there are 1960s movies that can disturb and even scare me. You would think that movies way older than me wouldn’t have that effect, yet the decade gave us many a good chiller picture. Well The Masque of the Red Death is easily one that left me uneasy very much, and made my skin crawl. This is a film depicting evil of all kinds, and it almost seems to revel in the cruelty of mankind. I’m glad my dad didn’t let me watch this on AMC when I was a kid-it would have given me nightmares.

It doesn’t help that we are currently in a pandemic that has swept the land. Just like the red death that has taken over the land ruled over by devil worshiper Prince Prospero, played with evil relish by Vincent Price. This might be his best role, or at least his most unforgiving one. Price takes the part and dials it up to 100, resulting a role that is both memorizing and very creepy. Jane Asher is also great as Francesca, the ginger peasant girl he forces to be a part of his court.

This film also has Hazel Court, Nigel Green, and Patrick Magee, all playing different roles of good and evil. The cinematography is marvelous yet it is the film’s gorgeous set design that really caught my eye. The film uses colors like any good or great horror film, and this is easily going into my Top 100 Horror films list when I’m done with October. I don’t know if I have the stomach to view it again though, and I thank Shudder for gathering a nice batch of Vincent Price films to watch in time for Halloween.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Pit & the Pendulum (1991, Stuart Gordon)


Look I didn’t hate Stuart Gordon’s take on the Edgar Allan Poe classic story, mostly because it is more close to the original tale than some of the other adaptations. My problem is that the 1960s version with Vincent Price is so cool this one feels unnecessary. Lance Henriksen hams it up so much that he manages to overshadow the rest of the cast. It was odd seeing Jeffrey Combs being the straight man in this flick, and I chuckled when he apologized to a witch for not having time to torture her properly. After all, no torture, no confession and then the Inquisition looks bad or something.

The other problem with this film is that the leads are really bland and I didn’t care about them at all. Oh and Oliver Reed pops up for a short cameo because he probably had nothing better to do. I gave this film a passing grade because the sword fights were neat and it does somewhat cover the horrors of the time period. Coming from a good director like Gordon it is disappointing yet I still have liked the other ones I’ve seen from him so far.

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