The Haunted Palace - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Haunted Palace Reviews

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½ October 4, 2016
In no doubt is the palace haunted, but it'd be more fitting to decide that the building is just one component of the overarching paranormality of the fictional Arkham, which is your typical 1700s era Massachusetts village plagued by the effects of a smoke machine on overdrive and by residents who've grown accustomed to telling visitors to leave "or else" rather than greet them enthusiastically.
But who can blame them? Nearly two centuries earlier, a curse was placed on the city by Joseph Curwen, the warlock owner of the titular complex. Before being dramatically lynched by townsfolk too pissed about his latest sacrifice to Satan (or whomever he worships) to let things go once again, he calls out, by name, the people who have wronged him. They, along with their next of kin, will thus be doomed for an eternity.
Cut to the present of 1875 and we find that Curwen's great-great-grandson (also played by Vincent Price), Charles Dexter Ward, has recently inherited the castle. His wife (Debra Paget) by his side, neither expects to do anything besides imitate an indecisive couple on a particularly good episode of "House Hunters." If the property's nice, they'll stay. But if their intuitions suggest they go in the opposite direction, they'll do as they feel and go back to their normal lives.
Since they're immediately welcomed by a man who warns them that the "town is evil," going with option two seems smarter even before they take a peek at the castle at the first time. But things that would unsettle a person with healthy common sense are cast aside as excusable quirks, and, before you know it, the couple's begun the process of calling the manor home.
Though Charles is feeling it more than his betrothed - she'd do anything to leave, while he's perfectly content staying and utilizing the palace's loyal caretaker (Lon Chaney, Jr.) as a resource and friend. It doesn't help that the spirit of Curwen has coincidentally decided to possess Charles's body shortly after arrival, either. And so the clock ticks as Curwen regains the upper hand and begins the process of trying to continue what he started back in his heyday.
The seventh of the nine Roger Corman directed Edgar Allan Poe adaptations for American International Pictures, "The Haunted Palace" is hardly "House of Usher" (1960) nor 1964's terrific "The Masque of the Red Death," moving along with déjà vu if only because the macabre setting feels so homogenized in comparison to its counterparts. Such could be the result of its not necessarily being based off a Poe work at all - while its title derives from a poem written by the horror maestro, it's more thoroughly lifted from H.P. Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." And the film's a doozy of black humor interlaced with fantastical terror; if it weren't considered to be part of such a wonderful (unofficial) franchise, it'd be supremely effective in its own right.
But comparison's inexorable, especially with "Red Death" released immediately after. Price is, of course, fantastic - no one plays a Jekyll and Hyde dual role with his brand of mastery - and support from Paget and Chaney, Jr. is convincing. But this time around do the sets look just a little bit cheaper, innovations drier and camp perhaps less purposeful. It very much looks like the work of a filmmaker holding the financial fort down as his next moment of inspiration lifts him into the air and changes his life. Entertainment value is inescapable, as all of Corman and Price's collaborations are. But familiarity is not, and the film is more safe than shocking.
September 29, 2016
HP Lovecraft meets Edgar Allen Poe in this entertaining Roger Corman flick. Add Vincent Price and Lon Chaney to the mix and you have an undeniably fun film. The visuals look great, the acting is excellent, and the music is just about what you'd expect. Highly recommended- 4 stars
June 27, 2016
Roger Corman strikes gold again in this entry in the Poe Cycle...though it really isn't a Poe adaptation, it's a Lovecraft (equally good!) tale. I think Corman was tiring of doing Poe stories, which is why "The Raven" became a comedy, and he decided to adapt H.P. Lovecraft story instead, but the studio wanted another Poe because they had done well, and at the time Poe was a more recognizable name. So Corman made the movie he wanted and slapped on a title of a short poem by Poe that fit the subject matter. The movie itself is really good...dark, spooky, has some if the best acting and cinematography if any of the Corman films in this series. I always like the odd supernatural stories and themes that Lovecraft writes, and it was nice to see a story if his get a similar quality treatment as the Poe stories had gotten from Corman and Co.
June 26, 2016
Vincent prich at his best.
½ April 1, 2016
Although marketed as Edgar Alan Poe's The Haunted Palace this movie, directed by Roger Cormen, is actually based on H. P. Lovecraft's short novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward with the screenplay adapted by Charles Beaumont. It's not an entirely faithful adaptation of the short novel but it does have Vincent Price in dual roles as Joseph Curwen and Charles Dexter Ward.

In 1875, Charles Dexter Ward inherits a Gothic castle-like Palace that, about 110 years earlier, had been brought over stone by stone from Europe and re-built overlooking the New England town of Arkham by his great great grandfather, Joseph Curwen. Curwen was effectively burned at the stake by the town's people for being a Necromantic Sorcerer (responsible for the impregnating of local young women by demonic entities) who cursed them all before he died - he vowed to return from death and get revenge on each of those responsible and all their descendants.

Curwen apparently had a back up plan ready to go should an angry mob end up murdering him, using his Necromantic Sorcery he ensured that his disembodied Spirit would remain "vital" within the Palace till he could find a suitable victim to possess and through whom he would be able to exact his revenge. Ignorant of his ancestor's history Ward decides to move to Arkham and into the Palace with his wife Anne, played by Debra Paget... big mistake.

Cue 60s Gothic Horror Movie melodrama hardened by a dark Lovecraftian weirdness. It has a good solid cast, that includes Lon Chaney Jr as Simon Orne - a loyal cultist/servant of Curwen's, and a sumptuous look typical of Roger Cormen's "Poe Cycle" for American International Pictures. The film itself is titled after an Edgar Alan Poe poem and in the closing scenes the final verse of that poem is narrated - '...While, like a ghastly rapid river, through the pale door, a hideous throng rush out forever and laugh - But smile no more'

The Haunted Palace marks the first time actual names of Lovecraftian Monstrosities, such as the Elder Gods Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth, are uttered on celluloid. It is also the first time Lovecraft's legendary black magic book, the Necronomicon, is not only mentioned but also makes its premier appearance in the history of motion-picture tropes as an integral prop and plot-device.

Not one of Cormen's best but certainly his most Lovecraftian. Vincent Price's performance is, as ever, a delight to watch.
½ November 10, 2015
Price/Corman do Lovecraft by way of Poe? It's a hoot and allows Price to play both his earnest goody and his dastardly baddie. It's nice to see a film attempt at Cthulhu, but I do miss the Lovecraft chants that are replaced with Latin.
October 19, 2015
If you've seen any of the other Roger Corman/Vincent Price movies, you've likely seen this one. A man living in a castle goes crazy, while other spooky things happen about (like ghosts and monsters), and it all ends with the castle burning to the ground. All the same tropes are in place, and you can get the same experience, except... except this time it feels much cheaper. The sets in these movies usually range from noticeably bad to remarkably detailed, and The Haunted Palace falls on the cheap end of the spectrum. None of the sets are as elaborate as some of the other Corman "Poe" movies, and there are plenty of times when the backdrops they used were folding in on themselves and you could see the wrinkles. The plot is actually one of the more interesting of these movies, adapting from an HP Lovecraft story this time. But the monster at the end of the movie is incredibly fake looking, having no articulation and being hidden by effects (likely to hide how bad it looked). The movie starts off well, with Vincent Price haunted in his new home, but the movie devolves into "what do we do with the extra time?" status when he has nothing better to do than to go out and kill people. It had nothing to do with his master plan, he just wanted revenge on people who were descendants of his murderers. Overall, it's a fine film, and I didn't hate it because I love these movies and Vincent Price is always great. But there are better ones you can be watching.
½ October 16, 2015
An unrated horror tale about a mad warlock who gets killed and returns to curse the town in which he was killed through his descendent through the use of a painting of himself in the mansion next to where he was killed. The plot lies around the supernatural occurrences of raising the dead through the use of the Necronomicon! Have you ever seen The Evil Dead series? Yes? Then, you know what's so special about this book. The usage was the same. In some aspects, I think Sam Raimi got partial inspirations for his series through this film.

It's an unrated film from '64 which is nuts, I'd say it's PG-13 if the film was re-rated. The film has got plot. Typical mediocre acting of the time outside of course, Vincent Price himself. The plot is a direct film adaption of an Edgar Allen Poe tale, like many of Price's films during the era. The film has a twistful ending. The score exists of just one song, but it's just so well used and timed. This is probably one of Price's' lesser known films and I definitely have to recommend it. It contains just the right amount of supernatural horror slasher without compromising on plot and overdoing violence. It's not graphic either.
September 18, 2015
Vincent price was excellent as always. Interesting take on the H.P. Lovecraft story "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".
August 9, 2015
Standard Vincent Price stuff
½ July 1, 2015
Lovecraft AND Poe mashed together, starring Vincent Price AND Lon Chaney...? Yes please!!
June 8, 2015
Can one actor elevate an okay movie into a good movie? Yes if that actor is Vincent Price. You can tell Price is having a ball here playing a wronged warlock who exacts a horrible revenge on the townspeople that burned him
½ September 1, 2014
Although released as part of Director Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe cycle of films this film was actually from an H.P. Lovecraft novella. its only connection to Poe is the title. This is a very good film, filled with atmosphere, bloody deaths, and classic Gothic horror. The script by Charles Beaumont, who wrote many episodes of The Twilight Zone, is intelligent and unsettling. Corman's direction is stylish as always; the make-up effects, showing the cursed, deformed villagers, is effective. An eerie atmosphere presides over everything and memorably macabre moments are laced throughout, such as the scene where Vincent Price and his wife, played by Debra Paget, are slowly surrounded by the deformed townsfolk - revealing the terrible fate that Price's ancestor condemned them to. There is a bizarre dream sequence that features villagers with misshapen faces, some with only one eye that stands out.

Vincent Price gives his usual great performance. He was at his best as we slowly see his mind and soul being assumed by his warlock ancestor. Debra Paget is both beautiful and formidable as Price's leading lady; unfortunately, this was her final feature film. The supporting cast was excellent and filled with great character actors, especially Lon Chaney Jr. as Price's henchman and, Frank Maxwell, Elisha Cook, Jr., Leo Gordon, John Dierkes as the villagers.

This film may not be at the top tier of the Corman/Price/Poe batch of films, but it's still highly watchable and eminently enjoyable.
½ August 26, 2014
The ending was disappointing,
June 2, 2014
Can't exactly say why, but I could watch Vincent Price's Corman movies and nothing else and be happy. The color, music score, creepy makeup ... and Price ... THE BEST!
May 26, 2014
Good Old School Vincent Price....
½ May 23, 2014
Roger Corman directed version of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." Though the film was part of Corman's Poe cycle of films, and a Poe poem is partially credited with Lovecraft as the screenplay being based upon, the story is almost entirely from the Lovecraft tale. Frequent "Twilight Zone" scribe Charles Beaumont wrote the screenplay about a decedent of a notorious family returning to their abandoned mansion only to find suspicious and mutated townsfolk. It's not as dark as Lovecraft's story, but it's still probably the best Lovecraft adaptation until Stuart Gorndon came along. Francis Ford Coppola actually did uncredited additional dialogue on the film. There's a solid cast, including Poe/Corman regular Vincent Price and also Lon Chaney Jr. and Elisha Cook Jr. It's not a classic, but it's pretty darn entertaining.
½ March 1, 2014
Another enjoyable Corman/Price collaboration.
December 28, 2013
Another masterpiece of the genre between three greats: Poe, Price and Corman, The Haunted Palace is perhaps the most atmospheric of the American International Pictures' Poe film releases. It shows Vincent Price in great form, playing dual characters, and features a lot of spooky visual settings, which are much darker than usual. It should come as no surprise as the story concerns a warlock (Price) who is burned to death by a town mob in the 1700's. Before his death, he places a curse on the villagers, which causes their latter offspring to be born with birth defects. His great, great grandson (also Price) in the 1800's inherits the home of his satanic dead relative, only to be taken possession of by him and get up to his old devilish tricks again. The best thing about the film is the score, which is quite fantastic, and probably the best score of the Poe films. As mentioned the atmosphere is also great, but the story and the pace are a bit lax. It's still a terrific film. Maybe not the best, but definitely worth the time if you're a fan.
November 18, 2013
Actually a retelling of a Lovecraft story (and not Poe as advertised), Roger Corman's next collaboration with Vincent Price sees the latter becoming possessed by his own great-grandfather (who was trying to mate humans with Cthulu or some such horrifying thing and got burned at the stake). Although rather glorious in its gothic design and creepy in its depicition of mutants, the film is all build build build and no real pay-off. The Lovecraft elder god is viewed murkily through some water. Nevertheless, the world of the movie or at least of the Haunted Palace is a relentlessly spooky one that might bear repeat visits.
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