Peasantry tortured by princes is a class struggle adapted often to film. Whether it is for humour in Monty Python and the Holy Grail or for lighter stylings in the drama category in The Adventures of Robin Hood and the darker, serious adaptations that would follow, it is utilised as a narrative crutch or an important talking point. For The Masque of the Red Death, it is there and enveloped in horror. Plagues and healthcare. They’re both the same, probably. For the work director Roger Corman puts in here, it is the benefit of working with Vincent Price that steers him clear of any real disaster. They are never far off. No horror film is too far from the edge, but that is where the best ideas ignite, as they do for The Masque of the Red Death.
Twisted artists and nauseating muses are no oddity to cinema. Creative minds verging on and often pushing over into insanity are trite, stale, ideas that we as a collective audience have sat through time and time before. Trust in House of Wax. For those mired and tired by the reams of chilling, uneventful features where dab hands plunge themselves into madness, Vincent Price will lead us once more to original ground. His offering from 1953 in collaboration with André De Toth will provide unnerving situations. Hellbent on offering the public something fresh and invigorating, House of Wax showcases a New York sculptor drumming up profits for his museum with the help of a manic business partner.
Theatre is dead. Or at least, it is for the time being. Cinema prevails, then, in showcasing the theatrics that once appeared before us. I’ve never been to see a stage production before, but I did once go to the theatre to see a concert, so I suppose that’s close enough. Perhaps the lapsed villain at the centre of this, Theatre of Blood, would disagree with me. I hope not, for disagreements with the deranged rogue at the heart of this piece seem to be fatal for those on the opposing end. Another marvellous horror piece for Vincent Price, but we shouldn’t expect any less from such a staple of the genre.
Infantile as it may be, I really can’t stand the pairing of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. I find Depp’s performances in these instances obnoxious and immune to interest, whilst Burton’s direction is something I’ve never found myself gelling with outside of 1994s Ed Wood. Their distortion of conventional filmmaking is acceptable, but not wholly interesting to me, especially when they churn out such similar feeling films over and over, without much difference between the gothic horrors Burton prides himself on. Still, Edward Scissorhands does at least try something interesting, where it blends these aforementioned gothic notions with a criticism on idyllic suburbia. At least, it would’ve done if it weren’t so boring, and had the message not been fumbled this could have been truly spectacular.