Loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's novel THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, this fright flick opens with a warlock placing a curse on a group of villagers about to burn him at the stake. Generations later, the warlock's descendant returns to the village to pick up where his ancestor left off.Written by
Although the American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1961-1970 identifies I. Stanford Jolley as the Boat Captain [sic], IMDb correctly lists him as Carmody, the Coachman; no Boat Captain appears in the film. See more »
The main door of the castle has the deadbolt on the outside, possible the doors were installed the wrong way around because the opening handles are on the inside. See more »
Joseph, have you not gorged yourself enough on revenge?
Charles Dexter Ward:
You do not know the extent of my appetite, Simon. I'll not have my fill of revenge until this village is a graveyard. Until they have felt, as I did, the kiss of fire on their soft bare flesh. All of them. Have patience my friends. Surely, after all these years, I'm entitled to a few small amusements.
See more »
The UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove facial shots of a corpse in a coffin and to reduce a scene of a man on fire. Later releases were uncut. See more »
The darkest of Roger Corman's Poe chillers, though this yarn owes more to HP Lovecraft than Edgar Allan's poetry. Vincent Price gives his all time greatest performance in a dual role as possessed and possessor, aided by a wonderfully literate script by Charles Beaumont. It gives Price no leeway to indulge his tendency to sometimes ham it up.
Here, he keeps tight dramatic restraint on himself, making his gradual transformation from kindly innocent to the reincarnation of his warlock ancestor a virtuoso portrayal of inner turmoil overwhelmed by fiendish evil. Corman even provides a last good role for Lon Chaney Jr (as he'd done previously for Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone) as a ghoulish henchman.
Undeniably, 'The Haunted Palace' does have a rather ponderous pace and music score that makes the film seem stretched as Price wanders down just one more hidden corridor. Floyd Crosby's widescreen cinematography is also unrelenting, capturing the drab, muted blue and brown pastels of a Puritan village plagued by witchcraft. And the barely glimpsed green demon lurking inside the vault was perhaps a mistake.
But Corman's skill on a 15-day schedule and a cheap budget is evident throughout. He introduces Chaney in a splendidly done sudden shock appearance that will still make unwary audiences jump (asked why he is preparing a room in the dark, he tells Price, "One becomes accustomed to the darkness... here").
True Corman fans will rank this chilling piece of American Gothic among his best. Not least where an exasperated Chaney asks the possessed Price when he will be satisfied avenging himself on the descendants of those who burned him at the stake. "Not until this village is a graveyard," Price promises Chaney sibilantly. "Not until they too have felt the kiss of fire on their soft flesh... all of them."
15 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this