‘Sticks & stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,’ goes the old saying. Someone obviously forgot to tell Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) in Masque of the Red Death because his words can REALLY hurt. Has there ever been a better put down than this, for example?
Scarlatti arrives late at Prospero’s castle and begs him for sanctuary from the Red Death.
Scarlatti: Take my wife! I give her to you to do what you please!
Prospero: I've already had that doubtful pleasure.
Not exactly the reply Scarlatti was hoping for, surely. For in less than 10 words Prospero has:
a) Brazenly admitted to Scarlatti that he’s shagged his missus. b) Told him that she was rubbish anyway. and c) Turned down Scarlatti's request for sanctuary, thus giving him a virtual death sentence.
But that’s not all. Prospero then grabs a crossbow and shoots Scarlatti through the neck. Making it the greatest put-down ever, because he has:
a) Brazenly admitted to Scarlatti that he’s shagged his missus. b) Told him that she was rubbish anyway. c) Turned down Scarlatti's request for sanctuary, thus giving him a virtual death sentence. and d) Followed all that up with extreme violence.
Masque’s is Price’s finest hour (in my expert opinion). His delivery of each and every line is deliciously macabre and impeccably sinister - look out for his conversation about God with Jane Asher on the battlements of his castle (“Do you know how a falcon is trained my dear? Her eyes are sown shut…”). What a voice.
And also look out for his hot MILF wife played by Hazel Court (that’s ‘hot’ as in ‘sexy’, and not ‘hot’ as in ‘I’ve-just-branded-myself-with-an-upside-down-crucifix’).
Wonderful acting, great source material, lavish set-designs... Masque truly has everything for horror and non-horror fans alike. Even a midget burning a man in a gorilla costume. He deserved it though.