I like Roger Corman's cliched but always watchable Gothic atmosphere with cold castle walls and costumes that seem to have been bought for a Halloween celeb party. The movie is also full of fun dialogue and is entertaining to watch as the actors clearly are having a ball with the script. A pure camp production, but the animated visual effects are weak which makes the final sorcerer duel (fun as it is) a letdown.
Corman is often more at home in tongue-in-cheek B-pictures, shown in this film that was his best of those written by Matheson, a comedic-horror flick that took liberties with the Poe poem. It too is uneven, but it's livelier, and it betters Corman's awkward comedy of the Little Shop of Horrors, due to the jokes being told more patiently and thus feeling more natural, even if it still isn't laugh out loud funny,
Une comédie fantastique qui ne respecte en rien le fameux poème d'Edgar Allan Poe, dont est tiré le scénario et qui ne mérite guère que quelques discrets voire minuscules accessits pour la présence du légendaire triumvirat Price / Lorre / Karloff et celle de Jack Nicholson dans le rôle du fils du docteur Bedlo... www.cinefiches.com
Susan Sontag in 'Notes on Camp' wrote that camp is the love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. Well, I had no idea what camp was when I was 10. Everything is possible. Camp is an acquired taste and many many years later I can appreciate it for what it is.
The most ridiculously campy approach that Roger Corman ever took to tarnish a creepy Poe classic with one too many screwball cliches and cheap wizardry effects that would easily come off as a poor imitation of dark children's fantasies that are scarier than this. Jack Nicholson really looked embarrassed with playing a bumbling hero before he displayed his true potential as an actor in years to come.
Not very "good," but Lord, is it fun. Karloff is the only one who gets away with his dignity in this, probably because he's so adept at pantomime. Everyone else is just waving their hands and making faces. Price's best scenes are with the raven. Lorre is parody. Young Nicholson is a trip. It seems all of Corman's best efforts went into costuming and lighting Hazel Court's considerable assets, with great success.