Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Haunted Palace

The Haunted Palace (1963)

Slightly Trashy

Guy (Vincent Price) inherits an old mansion in New England and moves there with his wife (Debra Paget). There, he becomes possessed by the spirit of his ancestor (also Vincent Price), who was the head of some kind of cult and was burned alive by the townsfolk a hundred years before. He then gets together with his old buddies and goes back to work resurrecting some kind of monster in the basement (this is based on a Lovecraft story and thus there has to be some really big, shapeless monster inserted at some point).

I really enjoyed this movie. It suffered from every Lovecraft cliché imaginable, but it was still very well done, being very moody and still really fun. It brought a smile to my face, so to speak.

And you know, I really liked Vincent Price in it. I like him most of the time but I liked him extra in this for some reason. And he had this beard, it was strange, but whenever he was Charles Ward (the normal guy), the beard was really working for him, but when he was Joseph Curwen (the satanist guy), the beard was really evil. It was neat.

Granted, even when he's being Captain Evil, he still seems really cute and harmless. Like, there's this one scene where he tries to rape his wife and, well, he's pretty sinister but... he's Vincent Price. I mean, come on. He looks like such a friendly guy. That's what always got me about him. He's always playing a real evil bastard but he's friggin adorable. Every time. He makes my heart smile.

But yeah, I found myself actually really caring about what happened in this movie, like, on the edge of my seat with worry. It really got to me. Go figure.

On the bad side, the music was ridiculously over-dramatic when very little was actually happening, but that really just enhanced the cuteness of the film (as in "aw, they don't know what they're doing", although it did make me wonder whether or not it was actually written for the movie. Probably not).

Also, it was maddeningly dark (visually speaking), and bordered on hard-to-tell-what-was-going-on in spots, but that was pretty much cancelled out by the squishy goodness of the rest of the movie.

There should be way more movies like this.


Directed by: Roger Corman.  Written by: Charles Beaumont, based on the short story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft.  Starring: Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr., Frank Maxwell, Leo Gordon, Elisha Cook Jr., John Dierkes, Milton Parsons, Cathie Merchant.

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