HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
   
 
  Haunted Palace, The Whatever Possessed Him?Buy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr, Frank Maxwell, Leo Gordon, Elisha Cook Jr, Milton Parsons, John Dierkes, Cathie Merchant, Darlene Lucht, Barboura Morris, Bruno VeSota, I. Stanford Jolley
Genre: Horror, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: In the 18th Century American village of Arkham, the locals are suspicious of the owner of the palace on the cliff top, Joseph Curwen (Vincent Price). They believe he is a warlock who has been planning to sacrifice a young woman he has placed under a trance, and they're not far wrong. Arriving at the palace doors that night, they are greeted by Curwen and his mistress, and decide to take the law into their own hands. Curwen is dragged out, bound to a tree and burned alive, but not before he places a curse on the village...

Although Edgar Allan Poe's name is on this film, technically it's not part of producer and director Roger Corman's Poe cycle, because this tale was actually based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, adapted by Charles Beaumont. That's not to say it shares none of the same traits with the Poe films, because once again there is the stifling influence of the death and the dead hanging over the characters, only here mixed with the dark, Lovecraftian Gods who dwell on the other side of reality, biding their time until they manage to break through.

One hundred and ten years later, Curwen's great-great grandson Charles Dexter Ward (also played by Price) arrives in Arkham accompanied by his wife (Debra Paget), after inheriting the palace. The villagers make no gestures towards welcoming them, as they are suffering the curse of Curwen that leaves many of them mutated, as though the curse involves inbreeding, especially as the same actors play the descendants of the people who put the warlock to death.

Now Ward is here, the spirit of Curwen begins to possess him. The caretaker of the palace is Simon, played by Lon Chaney Jr, and it's one of the pleasures of this film that we get to see Chaney and Price in scenes together, even if Chaney looks ill (and not because of his green faced makeup, either). Simon is in fact one of the warlocks who was originally in league with Curwen, and he wastes no time in bringing him back.

Curwen is one of Price's most despicable characters, and even Price's charm can't take the edge off of the warlock's drive for vengeance, which not only has him burning the descendants of his tormentors to death, but also sacrificing Mrs Ward. Corman relies heavily on atmosphere, meaning a lot of wandering about in the cavernous, cobwebby, shadowy sets, but he's not above the odd shock to relieve the tension.

The film is less concerned with the demon in the cellar than with the insidious evil of Curwen, and manages a number of creepy scenes, such as the Wards being advanced upon by the mutants, that make this worthwhile, and better than its unfairly obscure reputation would have you expect. It's definitely one of the best (if looser) Lovecraft adaptations, even if the oppressive sense of overwhelming, otherworldly evil is largely substituted with something more man made. Music by Ronald Stein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6097 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Roger Corman  (1926 - )

Legendary American B-Movie producer and director who, from the fifties onwards, offered low budget thrills with economy and flair. Early films include It Conquered the World, Not of This Earth, Attack of the Crab Monsters, A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors and X. The Intruder was a rare attempt at straightforward social comment.

Come the sixties, Corman found unexpected respectability when he adapted Edgar Allan Poe stories for the screen: House of Usher, Pit and The Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia among them, usually starring Vincent Price. He even tried his hand at counterculture films such as The Wild Angels, The Trip and Gas!, before turning to producing full time in the seventies.

Many notable talents have been given their break by Corman, such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorcese, Monte Hellman, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, James Cameron and Peter Bogdanovich. Corman returned to directing in 1990 with the disappointing Frankenstein Unbound.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: