Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

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The Raven

{1963 c.e. Starring Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Jack Nicholson: Directed by Roger Corman}

Based on Poe's classic, this is a most amusing film about two warring Sorcerers, Dr. Scarabus {Karloff} and Dr. Erasmuc Craven (Vincent Price) who eventually meet up and duel it out one stormy night using their various imaginative Magical talents to out-notch eachother.

The film begins with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven' read by Dr. Erasmuc Craven {Price} which leads into a-knocking at the chamber window, in this case, an actual raven scratching at the pane, but there is more to this lovely bird than meets the eye, who happens to speak in Peter Lorre's voice; it seems he is in a jam being transformed into the black bird by one Dr. Scarabus {Karloff}, and rightfully so, for being intoxicatingly petulent during a visit to his castle {after all, "If a guest in your Lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy!" - SROTE #4}. So he nags the mild-mannered Craven to return him to his proper form, quite rudely at that, but when not enough potion is mixed up to fully recouperate him, they must go to the cemetary to acquire one last missing ingredient - that of "hair of a dead man", so Erasmuc figures that his deceased father would not mind a lock cut, but while clipping, is warned by the corpse to "beware". Finally, the familiar form of Dr. Bedlo {Lorre} is restored, a rather bumbling nincompoop on the fringes of "The Brotherhood of Magicians", and off he goes to gain revenge, but not before informing Craven that he actually spotted his dead beloved Lenore at the castle, so the grieving Craven is thus determined to free her 'spirit' from his clutches; but to his eventual surprise, discovers that she never died, but actually left him for Scarabus, placing a decomposing body to mislead Craven into thinking it was she, to which his dedication bade him to turn into a shrine. I found Lenore to be of a particularly despicable sort, more of an opportunistic "groupie" who feigns "love" in order to leech from the Sorcerers' potencies, merely living in their shadow. An empty creature at best, in and of herself.

Erasmuc and Bedlo are eventually accompanied by their children, Craven's nubile daughter {Olive Sturgess} and Bedlo's strapping son "Rexford"{Jack Nicholson} on the journey to the Scarabus Castle; wherein Rexford is momentarily possessed by some "diabolical mind control" while he manns the cortege', as was Craven's retainer earlier on, a bald trollish brute who wielded an axe against his superiors, until the mysterious influence wore off. Once within the castle, Scarabus is quite the gracious host, treating his guests to dinner until Bedlo becomes intoxicated and against better judgement, decides to act up again, challenging Scarabus to an enchanted bout, yet Scarabus merely toys with the incompetent "wizard", until finally, growing tired of the mediocre display, dispatches him with a bolt of lightning. But it turns out that there were more sinister purposes concocted by Scarabus, beneath this whole spectacle, as Bedlo re-appears to the subsequently imprisoned trio freeing them of their binds. It is at this point when Scarabus' true intentions are revelaed, and the Magical battle begins between he and Craven, resulting in quite an entertaining match where both imagination and skill are pitted against eachother in kind.

Black humor abounds, I rate The Raven at a 9/9.


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