Dante’s Weekend Double: A Tribute To The Master Of Low-Budget Cinema Roger Corman With ‘The Terror’ And ‘The Masque Of The Red Death’

Corman by default
Roger Corman on Dinocroc via empsfm, YouTube

Last Thursday saw the passing of one of, if not the most important figures in cinematic history, and a true pioneer of the independent movement who lived and died without rival.

Corman on Conan
Roger Corman Gave Many Hollywood Legends Their Starts | CONAN on TBS, Team Coco, YouTube

Roger Corman reinvented the art of filmmaking with a parsimonious approach that inspired generations by showing just how much something can be made from nothing with enough motivation, creativity, and a helluva lotta enthusiasm without a single penny, or minute wasted.

The original ‘Guerilla Filmmaker’ directed 55 films, and produced hundreds more in his seven-decade career, all while fostering young talents. Some would go off to become greats in the industry like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and James Cameron to just name a few.

Terror by default
Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff in Roger Corman’s The Terror (1968), American International Pictures

This weekend, Bounding Into Comics would like to pay tribute to the aptly named ‘King of Cult’ with a double shot of vintage Corman. As much as one would like to list The Little Shop of Horrors, X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes, and/or Bucket Of Blood they will have to wait their inevitable turn.

Until then, end the hot weekend with these two chillers.

The Terror  (American International Pictures)

Horror icon Boris Karloff stars in this gothic tale from 1963. French soldier, André Duvalier (played by American actor Jack Nicholson with his very American accent), gets separated from his regiment, and he comes across a beautiful young woman (Sandra Knight) while wandering the beachside.

Forgetting all about finding his troops, Jack…I mean “André” pursues her instead. This brings the thirsty fellow to the home of Baron von Leppe (Karloff), and there he discovers the dark secret of his mysterious beach babe. Before Jack Nicholson became Randall McMurphy, Jack Torrance, and way before Jimmy Hoffa…he was the Thirsty Frenchman.

Beautifully shot with a lovely set design which might look familiar to anyone who has seen The Raven from earlier that same year. Despite being a nine-month shoot, Karloff filmed all of his scenes in two days before getting out of Dodge.

It’s always interesting to see a younger, thinner, and even more Joker-looking Jack back when he was still a nobody. He doesn’t try to do a French accent, and that’s probably for the best. Just as it’s a good idea to not pay too much attention to the fact that he’s wearing his 19th-century military uniform throughout the entire movie.

The Terror helped finance another Corman-produced film, Targets (1968), by first-time director Peter Bogdanovich which is considered to be one of the greatest directorial debuts of all time. Follow The Terror to its home on TUBI.

The Masque of the Red Death (American International Pictures)

This classic from 1964 is based on the 1842 short story of the same name by the immortal father of modern fear fiction, Edgar Allan Poe.

Acting legend, Vincent Price, is in the leading role of Prospero, a devil-worshipping medieval prince who hides inside his castle while the Red Death plague sweeps across the lands. He offers his rich noble friends sanctuary and decides to throw a party while letting the peasant villagers of his realm die in droves. That’s until an uninvited guest arrives.  

Give thanks to Prospero-That's the Price
Vincent Price wants gratitude in The Masque of the Red Death (1964), American International Pictures

This is one of eight movies that Corman adapted from Poe’s work, and it’s easily one of the best. Just like with the last film, it has great design, but this one takes it to another level.

Vincent Price brings charisma to the role of the sadistic Prince and a dark charm that’s impossible to resist. Some may recognize Stanley Kubrick alum Patrick Magee as one of the guests. If you do, viddy well, droogie!  

“And darkness and decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all” — Edgar Allan Poe. Masque of the Red Death can be found infecting the Pluto TV app.

NEXT: Dante’s Weekend Double – Break On Through To The Other Side With The Trippy Tales ‘John Dies At The End’ And ‘Altered States’  

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