Accessibility Links

The Masque of the Red Death

1h 29m Feature, Horror 1964

The Pope Of Pop Cinema, Roger Corman, brings several classic Edgar Allan Poe tales to life in a 4K restoration of this complex and creepy cult classic.

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 short story of the same name (and drawing on other stories to flesh out the subplots), The Masque of the Red Death sees legendary independent cinema figure Roger Corman directing arguably his best of the eight Poe adaptations he made in his career.

Vincent Price plays the Satanic Prince Prospero – as in, he’s literally a Satanist – who rules his plague-ridden lands and castle with cruelty. After abducting a peasant girl, Francesca (Jane Asher), and burning her village to the ground, his life of debauchery takes an unexpected turn as the innocence of the young woman and the perils of the impending Red Death collide.

“If a God of love and life ever did exist, he is long since dead. Someone… something, rules in his place.” – Prospero

Tackling ideas of existentialism and evil all within the vessel of a Corman film seems like a lot, but it’s grounded by one of the best performances of Price’s significant career and a steadying supporting cast in Asher, David Weston, Hazel Court, Nigel Green and Skip Martin. The production design and art direction all help weave together a tapestry of a hyper-coloured horror that, despite its period setting, feels timeless in its dissection of humanity. The cinematography of veteran Nicolas Roeg was never better than when he was working in the genre space – see his directorial efforts The Witches (1990) and Don’t Look Now (1973) for evidence – and his sure hand as Director of Photography here helps bring one of Poe’s best screen adaptations to life… or death, rather.

– Maria Lewis, Assistant Film Curator

The Masque of the Red Death was restored in 2018 by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Film Archive and the Film Foundation. The restoration was based on the 35mm original camera negative and original sound elements.

Missing censored scenes from the American release were replaced using shots from a 35mm Technicolor print from the Dante/Davison Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

Read more

Roger Corman on making The Masque of the Red Death, BFI, 15 Mar 2021

The Masque of the Red Death review – horribly apt Poe adaptation, Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 21 Jan 2021

How Roger Corman Finally Restored His Uncensored Vision for The Masque of the Red Death, Tony Sokol, Den of Geek, 29 Jan 2021


Roger Corman


English, Latin





You may also like

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
1h 41m Feature, Horror 2015
The Babadook
1h 34m Feature, Horror 2014

Download the app to view your purchased content!

Available on TV apps

ACMI acknowledges the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, on whose land we meet, share and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or text.