Combustible Celluloid
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With: Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Hazel Court, Olive Sturgess, Jack Nicholson, Connie Wallace, William Baskin, Aaron Saxon
Written by: Richard Matheson, based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe
Directed by: Roger Corman
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 86
Date: 01/25/1963

The Raven (1963)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One of Roger Corman's cycle of eight Edgar Allan Poe films, The Raven (1963) is ostensibly based on Poe's famous poem, but it's actually the silliest of the cycle, a fun monster mash with three horror icons, and Jack Nicholson besides. Vincent Price stars as Dr. Erasmus Craven, who mourns the death of his wife Lenore (Hazel Court). He receives a visit from a talking raven, who claims to be a wizard under a spell. Craven transforms him back, to Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre), and he learns that the ghost of Lenore may be hanging around the castle of the culprit, Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff). So they head there, joined by Craven's daughter Estelle (Olive Sturgess) and Bedlo's son Rexford (Jack Nicholson), for a showdown. Even at a scant 86 minutes, the movie sometimes seems to get a little stuck, but overall, it's ridiculously enjoyable. The great horror/sci-fi author Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) wrote the screenplay.

Kino Lorber released the film in a good Blu-ray edition for 2021, including a commentary track by film historian David Del Valle, interviews with Corman and Matheson, a "Trailers from Hell" episode with Mick Garris, and a whole bunch of trailers.

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