“The house, itself, is evil now.”
356One of the most celebrated, visually sensual and alluringly doom-laden series of horror films came courtesy of Roger Corman’s outstanding love affair with the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. A fan of these dark tales of dementia, jealousy and death since a child, he longed to be able to bring them to the screen and to project their dark magic upon audiences who had become saturated with atomic-mutated insects and brain-sucking saucer-men. After a slew of low-budget quickies that appealed to the Drive-in teen market he appealed to AIP that if he was awarded double the funds, he could create one sumptuous gothic horror film in colour and in widescreen and provide audiences with the sort of the jolt that had very recently been proved valid, potent and, most importantly, profitable for Hammer Films, who had singlehandedly brought such lavish and literary adaptations to gaudy, gory acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.
He reminded them that America had its own legacy of critically lauded literary giants – Lovecraft and Poe – whose names were synonymous with unspeakable horror and dread, even if their actual stories were not that well known amongst the usual crowd of silver-screen thrill-seekers. With a fifteen-day shoot and a budget of $27,000, a highly reputable and bankable screenwriter in Richard Matheson, whose novels I Am Legend and The Shrinking Man were unparalleled masterpieces, and a slew of film and TV scripts to his name, he assured the studio that he could deliver something to rival the redolent and provocative titles from Hammer. But the coup de grace was the procuring of an established and highly sophisticated actor to play the tortured lead role. The soon-to-be-legendary Vincent Price.
It remains a masterpiece of permeating tension, dread and haunting darkness even today. Read the full in-depth article HERE.
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