Classic Cinema: The Raven (1963) – By Jason S. Lockard

My Name is Jason S. Lockard and I love classic films and there’s something about the old B Horror films that I love. I know the monster’s looked like a guy in a monster suit [cause most of the time it was] and the stories weren’t that compelling, but they were just cool to watch. And in the 50s and 60s there was one man that stood above the rest The king of the Bs Roger Corman, but in 1963 Corman who had been producing B Horror films for years got three of the Horror great together to tell his unique take on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, the three horror great where Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price!

Roger William Corman was born on April 5, 1926 in Detroit Michigan, the son of Anne and William Corman, an engineer. Roger Corman received an industrial engineering degree from Stanford University, beginning his film career in 1953 as a producer and screenwriter. Corman started directing films in 1955.

Corman has apprenticed many now-famous directors, stressing the importance of budgeting and resourcefulness; Corman once joked he could make a film about the fall of the Roman Empire with two extras and a sagebrush. One of the most expensive films he produced was Battle Beyond the Stars.

In Corman’s most active period, he would produce up to seven movies a year. His fastest film was perhaps The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), which was reputedly shot in two days and one night. This is why he became known by the Nickname "King of the Bs", although he himself calls this inaccurate.

Corman is probably best known for his filmings of various Edgar Allan Poe stories at American International Pictures, mostly in collaboration with writer/scenarist Richard Matheson, including House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962) The Raven (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). All but Premature Burial starred Vincent Price.

The Raven is classified as a B movie horror-comedy. In which a sorcerer Dr. Erasmus Craven has been mourning the death of his wife Lenore for over two years, much to the chagrin of his daughter Estelle. One night he is visited by a raven, who happens to be a transformed wizard, Dr. Bedlo. Together they brew a potion that restores Bedlo to his old self. Bedlo seeks revenge on the evil Dr. Scarabus who turned him into the raven to begins with, so off the go to the castle, but not without some obstacles along the way!

At the castle, Scarabus greets his guests with false friendship, and Bedlo is apparently killed as he conjures a storm in a last act of defiance against his nemesis. At night, Craven is tormented by a visit from Lenore, who is revealed to be alive and well, having faked her death two years before to move away with Scarabus, but this is only the beginning what else happens in this film you’ll have to watch it to find out!

After finishing the film version of The Raven, Corman realized he still had some shooting days left before the sets were torn down and so made another film, this film entitled The Terror!

 Watch for a the character Rexford as this man is played by an very young Jack Nicholson! While The Raven is not the best Corman film ever made it is very fun and amusing and has great special effects for 1963!

In 2005 Roger Corman was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at New York City Horror Film Festival.

So if you want to see a master of B-Movies pick up The Raven or any of Roger Corman’s classic they’re well, worth a look! So until next month This is Jason Lockard saying if you want a good movie check out a classic!

 

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Moral Rating: Nothing Offensive
Audience: Teens & Adults
Genre: Comedy/Horror
Length: 86 min.
Released: 1963
Our Rating: B-