Reviews | Written by Stephen Pierce 21/01/2021

THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964)

Each man creates his own heaven, his own hell. The immortal words from Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death starring Vincent Price. The horror legend plays Prince Prospero, a Satan worshiper, who has lavish parties in his medieval castle whilst tormenting and ridiculing his guests all the while. While all this is going on, the mysterious red death plague is laying waste on the nearby town’s peasants.

The film gets its UK Blu-ray debut from StudioCanal in a fantastic package. Two versions of the film are presented here: the theatrical cut and the extended cut, restored by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation. However, only the latter version appears to be from the 4K 35mm scan. The transfer is stunning; all the vivid colours and textures that the movie is famous for appear much richer. That said, the original theatrical cut does hold up quite well.

The Blu-ray set holds a host of special features. Firstly, there is a fact-filled commentary track for the extended version by Kim Newman and Sean Hogan. There is also a 10-minute interview with Keith Johnston, who covers the film's colour and censorship as well as analysing cinematographer Nicolas Roeg’s work on the film. The booklet covers some of the same aspects. Unfortunately, as the interview starts, it appears as though we are coming in halfway through a conversation, and there is also an odd sound jump at around the three-minute mark.

The best of these extra features is Roger Corman filmed in conversation with Kim Newman at BFI. The interview runs over an hour, in which we get to hear the history of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films; perfect for both fans of the movies and those new to Roger Corman.

Release Date: January 25th

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