The Masque of the Red Death (1964) Poster

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  • Haughty Prince Prospero (Vincent Price), who assumes that his worship of Satan will keep him safe from the Red Death ravishing the countryside, decides to hold a masquerade in order to provide protection for the local nobility. Forbidding anyone to wear the color red, Prospero is incensed when someone shows up in a red robe. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Masque of the Red Death is based on a 1842 short story of the same name by American author Edgar Allen Poe. It was adapted for the movie by Charles Beaumont and R. Wright Campbell. The subplot featuring the midget dancers was incorporated from another Poe tale "Hop-Frog" (1849). The subplot featuring the hopeless escape by Francesca (Jane Asher), her father Lodovico (Nigel Green), and her lover Gino (David Weston) was inspired by the short story "Torture by Hope" (1888) by French writer Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The red-cloaked figure, whom Prospero believes to be Satan, leads Prospero and Francesca through the dance hall, announcing that the revelry has now become the dance of death. All of the attendees are shown covered with the bloody skin indicative of the Red Death. Prospero requests that Francesca be spared, and the red-cloaked figure sends her outside to where Gino is waiting. The figure then reveals that he is not Satan and rips off his mask to reveal himself as the Red Death, wearing Propero's own face. Prospero attempts to escape through the dancing crowd but, as the dancers begin to fall, he makes his way through the green, purple, and blue rooms, and into the black room where he comes face-to-face with The Red Death. "Why should you be afraid to die," the Red Death asks. "Your soul has been dead for a long time." Prospero then falls to the floor, his face bleeding. In the final scene, the Red Death sits under a tree playing tarot cards with a young girl. He is joined by his brothers, the Black Death, the Blue Death, the Yellow Death, the Golden Death, and the Purple Death, and they compare notes on how many victims they have taken. As in Poe's story, the final note reads: And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Black Death, Blue Death, Yellow Death, Golden Death, and Purple Death do not appear in Poe's version of the story, obviously added to the movie by the screenwriters. In the story, however, even the Red Death appears to have been fabricated by Poe, unlike the Black Death which can easily be equated with the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, that ravaged Europe in the 14th century. However, fans of the movie have attempted to equate the various cloak colors with other known diseases. For example, the yellow-robed harbinger has been equated with Yellow Fever. The purple-robed figure could be carrying puerperal fever mispronounced as "purple death". The pale blue cloak may be related to a condition called "green sickness", another term for hypochromic anemia, or to cholera, which can cause grayish-blue skin. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Yes. Project Gutenberg has made "The Masque of the Red Death", which is in the public domain, available for download here. Edit (Coming Soon)

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