The Masque of the Red Death

BookThe Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death

Devil's Advocates


July 1st, 2022





The Masque of the Red Death (1964), the seventh collaboration between producer-director Roger Corman and horror icon Vincent Price, became the crowning achievement for both men, their masterpiece. After the critical and commercial success of House of Usher in 1960, Corman fervently desired to adapt Edgar Allan Poe’s story, ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ as his next project, but the tale took three years to finally become, not Corman’s second Poe film, but his second to last. Its long development benefitted the end result, and the story of its making reveals the persistence and vision of Corman, the artist and entrepreneur of classic horror.

In this Devil’s Advocate, Steve Haberman takes an auteurist approach to the film with Corman as the ultimate author of the work. He explores the emergence of Corman’s themes and techniques through directorial control and compares them with the intentions and concerns of the story’s original creator, Poe. In his research, Haberman secured both drafts of the script, the first by Charles Beaumont and the last by R. Wright Campbell, consulted published interviews and met with Corman. The result illuminates not only the film but the profound and profoundly dark world views of both Roger Corman and Edgar Allan Poe.

Author Information

Steve Haberman has taught Visual Design, Production, Screenwriting and various film history courses at colleges and universities in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, including a screenwriting course taught at his alma mater, University of Southern California. He was awarded a PhD in Film Studies from De Montfort University. He has written the stories and screenplays for four produced studio features, including Life Stinks and Dracula, Dead and Loving It, and is a three-time Prime Time Emmy Award nominee for producing the HBO comedy specials Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett – Together Again, Mel Brooks Strikes Back and Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen. Dreams Within a Dream: The Classic Cinema of Edgar Allan Poe, a documentary he wrote on movies based on the works of Poe, was included on the 2019 Blu-ray release, The Universal Horror Collection, and he has contributed to numerous DVD and Blu-ray commentaries. He is the author of Silent Screams: Chronicles of Terror (Luminary Press, 2003), a history of silent horror cinema.