It’s certainly not the first AIP gothic horror film I’d recommend, nor the first Vincent Price film. It’s not a film about which one should get especially excited, but I certainly didn’t mind spending some time with it.
The main problem with Cry of the Banshee is that all of this should be a lot more interesting than it turns out to be. With naked witches, pagan rites, vengeful landlords, corrupt priests, witch burnings, and a ratty werewolf tearing out throats, Cry of the Banshee should be a thrilling, chilling, grotesque affair.
Francesca he intends to press against her will into decadent royal society, which in classic style involves lots of cavorting, eating of turkey legs, mild orgies, and devil worship
AIP was certain that making the connection to Corman’s previous Poe films was the way to go, so at the last second, and in the final frame of the film, they had Price read a couple lines from the poem.
Premature Burial remained for a long time the ignored entry into Corman’s cycle, more or less skipped over as people hastened to get from Pit and the Pendulum on to Tales of Terror, Masque of the Red Death and The Raven, when everything was back as it should be and Vincent Price was once again stalking across the screen
Whether or not Pit and the Pendulum is a better film than House of Usher is a moot question. What is important is that it’s not a disappointment. It maintains the lofty standards set by the first film and proved the success — both artistically and financially — was no fluke.
For anyone who appreciates the history of horror, House of Usher is a treat. It creaks and creeps with menace and is crawling with intellectual angst and doom. It is a poetic, delicately crafted masterpiece of the macabre that fuels itself with atmosphere and an inspired performance from Vincent Price.