THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963)
Article #562 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-28-2002
Posting date: 2-21-2003
A couple visits the town of Arkham to visit a palace they inherited, but the man is possessed by the spirit of his warlock ancestor.
Roger Corman’s “Poe” films ran the gamut from those that more or less followed the story that it was based on to those that merely quoted a few lines from one of his poems at some point and slapped his name onto it somewhere. This is one of the latter; the story is actually based on a work by H.P. Lovecraft (who is given story credit, incidentally). Admittedly, THE HAUNTED PALACE is a catchier title than “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. Actually, this is perhaps my favorite of the few cinematic attempts at Lovecraft from the sixties; it actually has some moments that give me that sense of queasy horror that I always felt was a hallmark of Lovecraft; the scene where the couple are approached by several deformed people in the town is the most striking example. I also like the familiar cast of faces; Vincent Price and Lon Chaney Jr., of course, but also Debra Paget, Leo Gordon, John Dierkes, Bruno Ve Sota, and Elisha Cooke Jr. I always thought you could have a fun little game with the latter actor; whenever he shows up in a movie, have everybody make a guess as to how many minutes you will be into the movie before his character dies. You can even guess that he won’t die, but you’ll probably lose.