Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Raven

"The Raven" (1963, Roger Corman, AIP) is a somewhat comic adaptation of Poe's famous poem of the same name and should also not be confused with another Karloff film from 1935 of the same name which also starred Bela Lugosi.

In this film a sorcerer named Dr. Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price) is going about his wizardly business and mourning the death of his wife Lenore (Hazel Court), when he is interrupted by a rather blustery talking raven. Using a potion that the raven instructs him on how to make, Erasmus returns the raven to its true form, that of Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre), a fellow sorcerer.

Bedlo reveals that he was transformed during a duel with the evil wizard, Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff) and also happens to mention seeing Craven's wife's ghost wandering Scarabus' castle. Both wizards set out together, along with Erasmus' beautiful daughter, Estelle (Olive Sturgess), and Bedlo's son, Rexford (a very young Jack Nicholson), to deal with this Scarabus once and for all.

Of course, this advance results in a rather funny and tongue-in-cheek wizard duel between Price and Karloff with a lot of entertaining 60s special effects.

The wardrobe of the cast is also quite amusing: the wizard hats especially!

Whilst it's not really a horror movie, I like this film for several reasons:
  • It stars some of my favourite horror icons
  • It has a sense of humour
  • It's set in a big creepy castle
  • It involves B-movie special effects
Essentially, this is a light hearted romp starring some extremely wonderful people, and Vincent Price reading the poem really gives me the chills! (although it's notable that aside from that and the fact that there is a raven present for some scenes, this film has practically nothing to do with the actual poem).

[Image: AIP]

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