Monday, March 2, 2009

The Haunted Palace (1963)

What WAS the terrifying thing in the Pit that wanted women? It was one of the Elder Gods of course! Or an Elder God's second cousin. In any case, I just finished watching "The Haunted Palace," an AIP picture directed by Roger Corman. Now, the film is called "Edgar Allan Poe's The Haunted Palace" despite the fact that it is based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by HP Lovecraft. Apparently AIP was worried that no one knew who Lovecraft was, whereas everyone knew Poe. Plus, they had made a string of successful Poe adaptations so yadda, yadda, yadda. The only connection to Poe is a voice over of his poem near the very end.
My third favorite actor in history, Vincent Price, plays Charles Dexter Ward, a dandy who just inherited his great-great-grandfather's estate. Problem is, Pappy was the evil warlock Joseph Curwen, who was burned alive by the townspeople of Arkham for his wicked ways. Of course, he cursed the townspeople, as you do, and 150 years later the poor saps are still suffering from deformities and general bad luck.

You do not fuck with warlocks, especially warlocks who own a copy of THE NECRONOMICON and are trying to create a super race by mating human women with the beastie in the pit! Ward and his wife have no idea of his ancestor's history, and when they arrive they are greeted with fear and dire warnings to "Leave Now!" They don't, and soon Ward is possessed by the spirit of Grandpa and all hell breaks loose.
I have to admit I loved this picture! Price is fantastic, Lon Chaney Jr shows up as the evil butler (unfortunately much ravaged by the effects of alcohol abuse,) and the score kicks ass, even though it was not done by Les Baxter (he had to have been hanging around though because it is so jazzy cool.) Big thumbs up for "The Haunted Palace."

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