James Rolfe: Welcome to Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness" as we run through the history of the horror films, terror films, supernatural thrillers, monster movies-- Whatever the hell you wanna call them. We've been through the silent cinema of 1920's, the golden age of the 30's, the monster mash of the 40's, the sci-fi boom in the 50's and the resurrection of the classics – now in bloody color.
The 1960's were the age of elaborate gothic thrillers. One man who actually made the transition is Roger Corman. He started off making low budget B-movies in the 50's and early 60's, more than you can possibly count. Then he got his big break and started making bigger scale horror films based on the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. To this day Roger Corman has made a hundred billion movies – maybe not that much but a lot!
Today we're not gonna talk about any one specific film but a general impression of his "Poe"-series that ran through the 60's. Bringing the writings of Poe to the big screen has never been done perfectly, because it's hard to do justice to his work and this wasn't the first time it has been attempted. In the 1930's Universal Studios made "The Black Cat" and "The Raven", both starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. This was the first the two actors were paired together.
Dr. Vitus Werdegast: Did you ever see an animal skinned, Hjalmar? Hehehehe…
James: While these were great flicks, with topnotch performances and suspenseful plots of rivalry and revenge, they had little to do with the stories of Poe.
Dr. Richard Vollin: Poe, you're avenged!
James: Besides, adapting a short story of Poe into a feature film isn't easy. So the Roger Corman films did a good job retaining Poe's original ideas.
Dr. Craven: Suddenly there came a tapping, as of some one gently rapping--
James: But also had the flexibility to invent. They more or less pay tribute to Poe rather than being literal screen translations. They might have been a little weak on plot but they made up for it and excelled in creating atmosphere, a sense of humor and bringing together a brilliant cast. Vincent Price was a recurring star to lead the whole franchise. Then we would have two classic horror stars nearing the end of their career; Boris Karloff…
Dr. Scarabus: Afraid, my dear? There's nothing to be afraid of…
James: …and Peter Lorre.
Dr. Adolphus Bedlo: Shut your mouth!
James: Then, before he was a big star, there was Jack Nicholson. This wasn't the first time Nicholson made an appearance in a Roger Corman film. Earlier he played a part in "The Little Shop of Horrors".
Wilbur Force: Most people don't like to go to the dentist but I rather enjoy it myself, don't you?
James: This ensemble of big names brought together in the Roger Corman "Poe"-series definitely makes it one of the important eras in our history of thriller films.
Dr. Craven: Quoth the raven, nevermore.