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.
If the world was just and kind, then the sentence, ‘It’s a movie where Vincent Price stars as a madman who rules over an underwater society of fishmen prone to kidnapping scantily clad beautiful women,’ would indicate the existence of probably one of the greatest films ever made.
Scream and Scream Again will have you giggling with confused and bewildered glee. It doesn’t matter if you have high, low, or no expectations for this film. It will manage to confound them all.
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.