Haunted Palace, The (1963)

The Haunted Palace (1963), produced and directed by Roger Corman.

Vincent Price finds himself possessed by the spirit of an evil ancestor: a malevolent, vengeful sorcerer. The really bad kind: he has a Necronomicon and knows how to use it.

Originally titled Edgar Allan Poe's The Haunted Palace, this is actually based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by HP Lovecraft, who does get credit. Today they'd probably reverse that: Lovecraft is more popular than Poe. Is this the first film use of his mythology? Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, the Elder Gods...

It's a good entry in the series, but perhaps more entertaining for those who know the original story. Recently Lovecraft has been implicated in some pretty lurid productions -- From Beyond (1986) and Re-Animator (1985) -- but his better and longer works are more suggestive than explicit, dealing with the fear of vast gulfs of time and space and god-like extra-dimensional beings.

This is pretty Debra Paget's last feature film. She suffers from possessed Price's sexual menaces and just might be made to mate with a demon-thing in the cellar.

Many familiar faces. I always like seeing Elisha Cook Jr, but Lon Chaney Jr always seemed like a non-actor to me. Sorry. (Later: I regret writing that. He had good roles in other films).

Shot in 15 days, well-reviewed and a big hit.

Available on Blu-ray with two truncated commentary tracks, no one actually watching the film.