My Horror Double-Feature arrived in the mail today. It contains Vincent Price in Masque of the Red Death and Herbert Lom in another film of the same name. I am immensely looking forward to watching the former, but the latter seems a little too nasty for a person of my tastes. While most of the Roger Corman Poe-based films actually have a plot with a little relevance to Poe, Alan Birkinshaw's film just seems like a gorefest and eighties clothes. I don't like gore-fests. Or eighties clothes. I don't think I'll watch Birkinshaw's version which should not be called "Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death." It should be "Michael J. Murray's Very Very Stupid Screenplay That Has No Right to Bear the Name of "Red Death." It should be called "An Attempt to Make Money off the Eighties Slasher Craze." Wanna watch a gorefest? Watch Friday the 13th. Watch Reanimator (THAT'S based on H.P. Lovecraft). What the heck, watch this movie. But don't expect a faithful plot from that film.
Now in the Corman films, they stayed faithful as best they could. Poe's stories were too brief to be made for a feature-length movie. So they did what they could. I appreciate Roger Corman for doing that.
But this? THIS is just a stupid slasher movie. I won't deny it, the Red Death's costume looks pretty freakin' awesome. I would have been okay with it if it was modernized - hey, still Poe. But no, this is just about a photographer who gets trapped in a celeb party and the celebs start dying in really disgusting ways. One is WOUND UP ON A LOOM. Oh God, I cannot think of that.
I've also been listening to Nox Arcana's Poe-based album, Shadow of the Raven. It ROCKS. Oh my God, is this freakin' AMAZING.
All of the music in it nearly captures the essence of Poe. Poe saw into the void. He looked too deep, and he was, sadly, ruined. Nox Arcana is too scared to actually look into that complete, utter darkness, but they stand a good hundred feet away. A lot of people don't come that close to the utter madness of that horrific abyss. But Nox Arcana's music has a very powerful...essence in it. In their track "Murders in the Rue Morgue," I can see urgent police searching the darkened alleys with lanterns. I can see a nervous person relating what happened in the apartment. I can see people locking their doors.
"Masque of the Red Death" turns from a creepy organ piece to a creepy organ waltz, with a choir adding to the eerie effect. "The House of Usher" goes from desperate to sad and back in minutes. The beginning of "Lenore" is indescribably sad. "The Pit and the Pendulum" tells of the inexorable horror that just gets closer and closer to killing our poor narrator. And even the pieces that are just sound effects, like "The Black Cat," are pretty disturbing. "The Black Cat" in particular.
Yes, Nox Arcana has come dangerously close to seeing the darkness Poe did. But they didn't. They nearly touched his greatness, but they didn't. Poe gave horror a voice. Nox Arcana made a variation of that language, except simpler. And that is my post for tonight.