The Masque of the Red Death is one of Corman’s most sumptuous Poe pictures. Vincent Price plays the decadent Prince Pospero, presiding over sadistic revels while the plague rages outside his castle walls. The plague, however, is personified here, and has plans for Prospero. In The Premature Burial, Ray Milland is obsessed with the fear that he will be buried alive. Guess what happens? Though not as good as Masque, this film has long been absent from home video, and its appearance here is ver… welcome.
The soundtrack on both films is the original mono. The mono is warm and clean, and hasn’t noticeably aged. Nothing to complain about here.
Corman’s films have great widescreen compositions, which until DVD were utterly destroyed on VHS. So it’s great to see these two movies in their true 2.35:1 anamorphic ratios. The pictures are very clean (sufficiently so that you can easily make out the painted backdrop of the opening scene in Premature Burial). The colours, contrasts and print conditions are very good. The blacks could be a little deeper, though.
On top of the fact that you’re getting two movies on one disc (and hence a boost in the star rating), there are also two interesting interviews with Roger Corman. “Roger Corman Unearths The Premature Burial” runs a mere ten minutes, but “Roger Corman Behind the Masque” is twice that long. Both features give us a lot of insight into what it was like making these features for American International. (Remember that, though expensive by AIP standards, they were a long way from being big-budget epics). The theatrical trailers are also on offer. The menus are silent and still.
A very strong addition to the Midnite Movies collection. When can we expect The Haunted Castle and The Tomb of Ligeia?
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailers
- “Roger Corman Behind the Masque” Interview
- “Roger Corman Unearths the Premature Burial” Interview