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Episode 10: American Gothic Double Feature: The Raven & The Masque of the Red Death


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The tenth episode of Daughters of Darkness is the first in a series of special double feature discussions to tie in with Diabolique’s American Gothic-themed summer season. In this one, Kat and Samm explore Roger Corman’s delightful Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, most of which starred horror icon Vincent Price — and sometimes his fellow genre luminaries Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. They give an overview of this eight film series, as well as a few titles American International Pictures attempted to include, but they specifically examine the horror-comedy The Raven (1963) and the morbidly colorful The Masque of the Red Death (1964).

In The Raven, Price plays a good-hearted magician who agrees to help Peter Lorre’s character get revenge on the sinister Scarabus (Karloff), who has a number of surprises at his eerie castle by the seaside. Laser beams, wizardly hijinks, too-big hats, and a number of other shenanigans ensue, aided and abetted by a young Jack Nicholson. The Masque of the Red Death, on the other hand, is a serious horror tale set in the medieval fortress of avowed Satanist Prince Prospero, who holes up with scores of guests to throw an elaborate masked ball while a deadly plague rages outside his doors.

The episode also includes a discussion of Poe’s work, his impact on European readers, and his legacy as a major figure of American Gothic — as well as nineteenth century fears, like being buried alive, and how they factor into the Corman-Price-Poe series.

In addition, Kat recently contributed to Arrow’s upcoming Blu-ray release of Dan Curtis’s Burnt Offerings, which you can preorder now, while Samm has just begun a Ken Russell series over at Diabolique. They also recommend checking out the magazine Art Decades, which will have a new issue out soon, and the podcast Hello! This is the Doomed Show.

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