If you’re like me, than your first introduction to Edgar Allan Poe was via Roger Corman’s inspired and low-budget films starring Vincent Price. Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, Corman brought Poe to the drive-in and cineplex with films like The Raven, Pit and the Pendulum, The Tomb of Ligeia, and (my personal favorite) The Masque of the Red Death. Well, now it seems that the 86 year old horror legend plans to bring back those overheated classics by remaking eight of them.
Roger Corman recently announced that he plans to remake some of his Poe-based films, including Pit and The Pendulum, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia, Premature Burial, The Raven and the first Poe-Price-Corman feature House of Usher. Corman will not direct, however, but produce, and plans to keep the budgets around $2 million per feature. What’s more, he hopes to churn out two movies a year, starting with House of Usher.
And the actor to replace the irreplaceable Vincent Price? Corman hopes to find a fifty-something actor who can provide “the sensitivity and neuroticism that Vincent was able to bring.”
That’s quite a big order, as I’m certain Corman knows. He also hopes to keep true to the source material – which, let’s face it, is not actually something he did in most of the original films – without any added nudity or violence.
All of which actually sounds very exciting to me. Roger Corman is after all a legend in his own right, and although he won’t direct you can be certain that his stamp will be all over these films. The big question that remains though is who he can find to take on the roles that Price originated. Some of what is so good about the original Corman films is the elegance and class that Vincent Price brought to the table – not to mention the bit parts played by equally superior actors, Basil Rathbone and Peter Lorre. I don’t know where they’ll find actors with that kind of gravitas today. Still, I can honestly say that I’m excited about the prospect of new(ish) Corman/Poe films.
The first film on the slate, House of Usher, is supposed to shoot in 2013. We’ll keep an eye on things – especially that all-important casting choice – as time goes on. Who knows? If anyone could bring Vincent Price back from the dead to star in his movie, Roger Corman can.