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The Raven

The Raven (1963)

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Release Date: Jan 25, 1963 Limited

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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 4,494

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Movie Info

Although Roger Corman narrowly managed to avoid self-mockery in his pulpy, flamboyant adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe tales, it appears that the director chose this opportunity to let loose with outright parody; the result is a wonderfully entertaining romp with tongue planted firmly in cheek. The first screen teaming of legendary horror stars Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Peter Lorre -- later billed as "The Triumvirate of Terror" -- this so-called "adaptation" uses Poe's most famous poem as

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (1) | DVD (6)

Indisputably the odd duck among the AIP Poe movies, although it is also one of the very best.

October 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The Raven takes Poe's most famous poem and doesn't so much adapt it as dress it up in a clown nose and silly hat.... it's hard to shake the cognitive dissonance of Jack Nicholson posing like Burt Ward...

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDJournal.com
DVDJournal.com

Anything to do with Poe other than hearing The Raven poem read aloud is non-existent.

February 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Gimmicky drive-in fare, though nobody can deliver that poem like Price.

August 29, 2005
Flipside Movie Emporium

Amusing horror parody notable mostly for its stars.

February 2, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A classic AIP horror-comedy; Lorre is priceless; Price has tongue firmly in cheek. And a young Jack Nicholson to boot!

August 15, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Audience Reviews for The Raven

A few films with this title now, which is the better you may ask, well it certainly isn't the one with John Cusack. An intriguing Corman take on the classic Poe poem, a horror comedy with his typical B-movie visuals and cheesy dialog. Of course this being a horror his style works and adds huge amounts of ghoulish charm to the proceedings.

The fifth film Corman adapted from Poe's classic works and probably one of the best (and more well known). The cast is of course the main factor here, Vincent Price who stars in all but one of Corman's adaptations. Peter Lorre who stars in one other Corman/Poe adaptation, Boris Karloff and of course Jack Nicholson.

The plot is based around the Poe poem but of course is very very loose. Obviously most of it has been made up to fill out an entire film and frankly its pretty hokey and childish. Basically Price's character (a good sorcerer) is mourning the loss of his 'Lenore', a talking raven comes into his life which turns out to be Lorre who was turned into the raven by an evil sorcerer (Karloff). Lorre explains that he has seen Lenore at Karloff's castle so off they go to find her. Turns out Lenore faked her death and ran off to the evil 'Dr. Scarabus' (Karloff) to lure 'Dr. Erasmus Craven' (Price) to the castle so they can take his powers.

The plot is thinner than a supermodels waistline and merely serves to offer up some Price vs Karloff sorcery towards the end. Nothing really happens throughout the entire film other than a lot of silly dialog and some rather poor attempts at comedy, its very dated. Nicholson plays the part of a young lad and son of Lorre's character, who also falls for 'Dr. Erasmus Craven's' daughter (she accompanies them all on their adventure to Karloff's castle). No real reason for him to be in this really, he does nothing other than serve up wooden deliveries.

The visuals in the film are nice with that musky old haunted castle type atmosphere, plenty of old leather bound armchairs and dusty bookcases. Price fits the scene like a glove of course, Karloff seems a bit out of place being slightly too serious but he looks good, while Lorre's character is a real misery and quite unlikable, but its all about his voice isn't it. Some nice matte painting work on the outside castle shots, totally fake looking of course haha but I love that kinda stuff, nice cheesy storm too.

Overall its rather lame really, yes I know its a cult classic with an ultra classic legendary cast but the film is pretty dull and uneventful. The highlight is easily the sorcery battle between Price and Karloff in the finale. A great fun and quite long continuous sequence with some nice ideas and nice effects too. The ending is very soft but what do you expect? this is soft core 1960's horror here, back in the day I'm sure it was deemed quite thrilling.

I'm sure the hardcore fanboys of these silver screen stars will love this, I enjoyed it but must admit I was bored. The finale is cool but the rest is merely filler, still worth your time though purely for the cast.

'Quoth the raven, Nevermore.'
February 17, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Corman left completely aside Poe's ghoulish tone to make this tongue-in-cheek "adaptation" of his most famous poem. For this reason, it is not efficient as a horror story but amusing as a light comedy, co-starring Price, Lorre and Karloff in hilarious performances.
June 16, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

A movie that features Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and a young Jack Nicholson. Need I say more?
April 27, 2012
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

This movie is kind of silly, and the special effects are goofy looking, but it's nice to see these great horror actors goofing around in a movie. It's an enjoyable movie, and I like it.
November 24, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Der Rabe (DE)
  • The Raven (1963) (CA)
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