Although Edgar Allan Poe did have an abnormal amount of tragedy in his life, readers often wonder exactly what it was that made him so morbid, so depressive, such a miserable man. Maybe he was psychic, and saw that in the future his name would be associated with garbage like this. THE
MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH has only passing resemblances to Poe's moody, suspenseful, affecting story.
In this updated version, it's the tale of a pretty, barely clothed news photographer (Michelle McBride) who goes to a castle in Bavaria to spy on a soap opera queen (Brenda Vaccaro) at a costume party. The party is run by an aging, lonely nobleman (Herbert Lom), who seems to have some personal
agenda for the ball. Almost from the beginning, guests get killed off by someone in a red cloak with a matching skull mask. Eventually, we learn, as more and more guests are killed off, that the nobleman is dying of a nervous system disorder, and had the party to say farewell to his guests. When
too many try to go, he gets lonely and shuts the gates, and so the remaining guests must contend with the murderer until morning.
This film has absolutely nothing to offer anyone. Those with even more prurient interests will be disappointed by the lack of sex or interesting violence (though they will get the joy of seeing a woman woven onto a loom, with the yarn going under her skin). The acting is pathetic. Even the name
actors disappoint. Vaccaro again makes the viewer mutter, "Was she really in MIDNIGHT COWBOY?!" Lom delivers the histrionics we expect, but with none of the fun or personality he offered in the PINK PANTHER films. And Frank Stallone.... The screenplay is slapdash and stupid. (If we're supposed to
relate to McBride as the intelligent character in the flick, then maybe she shouldn't keep walking backwards through strange rooms towards curtains. Or maybe she should have figured out how to get out of the locked house when she needed to, not afterwards!) The costumes and settings are far too
good for this film; what idiotic executive okayed the expense?
Early in the film, McBride wakens from a nightmare, and blames it on reading too much Poe. Too bad the same can't be said of this film's writers. (Excessive violence, profanity, adult situations, nudity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: Although Edgar Allan Poe did have an abnormal amount of tragedy in his life, readers often wonder exactly what it was that made him so morbid, so depressive, such a miserable man. Maybe he was psychic, and saw that in the future his name would be associate… (more)