The Roger Corman Poe Cycle

The Roger Corman Poe CycleI added another page to Psychotronic Review, The Roger Corman Poe Cycle. For those who don’t know it, it probably sounds horrible — like something Arnold Schoenberg wrote in 1930 that still no one quite gets. But it’s actually something really great: eight films that Corman directed (and sometime produced) between 1960 and 1965 based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. (Actually, one of them is based on an H P Lovecraft novel, but the title is taken from Poe.)

I’ve been watching these films since I was a kid. Yet when I sat down to write about them, I found it really hard. Since Roger Corman was King of the Cheap Movie, the films largely look alike. That’s especially true of House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Raven. And so I found myself confused about just what memory went with what movie.

In addition, fully half of the films deal with someone buried or entombed alive. It’s kind of amazing to think how much drama you can get out of that one idea. But I suspect that most people find the idea of being buried alive to be pretty terrible. And none of the stories are the same. So there you go.

One thing I noticed while going over the films is that they’re a bit on the sexist side. Women are either devoted spouses (or would-be spouses) or they are the most treacherous creatures imaginable. Hazel Court is really the best at that. I do have a kind of bizarre crush on the characters she plays. Oh, to spend my life with such a deliciously smart and evil woman! The only problem would be, of course, that she almost certainly would have murdered me. If not, she would have left me for someone richer and more evil.

Films Worth Watching

All these movies are about an hour and half. If you leave 15 minutes for intermission, that’s 13.75 hours. It would be awesome to rent a movie theater and show all eight films, starting at 10:00 am and running until midnight. It’s shocking that people don’t do that kind of thing more often. I suspect you could rent the films pretty cheaply. The question is: just how many freaks like me would pay ten bucks (And I’d pay a hell of lot more!) to sit in a movie theater all day watching movies made before I was born? Not enough, I’m afraid.

Go check out The Roger Corman Poe Cycle. Over time, I’m sure I (hopefully others too) will write articles about the individual films. I’m sure to write about The Raven. It’s my favorite. The truth is, I like Vincent Price most when he plays a good guy. And the film is a comedy. And it has the great trio: Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff join Price. Plus, there’s Hazel Court — really at her best.

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