The Haunted Palace is a 1963 horror film released by American International Pictures, starring Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr., and Debra Paget in a story about a village held in the grip of a cult. The film was directed by Roger Corman, and is often regarded as one in his series of nine films purportedly based on the works of American author Edgar Allan Poe. The Haunted Palace actually derives its plot from The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, a novella by H. P. Lovecraft. The only connection of The Haunted Palace to Poe is its title, which comes from a poem by Poe published in 1839 and later incorporated into his horror tale, The Fall of the House of Usher.
In 1765, the inhabitants of the New England town of Arkham are suspicious of the strange goings-on up in the grand ‘palace’ that overlooks the town. They suspect its inhabitant, Joseph Curwen, of being a warlock.
One stormy night, a young girl from the town wanders up to the Curwen palace in a trance-like state, and is led by Curwen and his mistress, Hester, down in to the dungeons of the palace. The girl is then subjected to a strange ritual, where an unseen creature rises up from a covered pit below her, in wreaths of green smoke. The townspeople, however, observe the girl wandering off in to the night, and storm up to the Curwen palace to confront its mysterious owner. Though the girl appears unharmed, the townspeople deign that she has been bewitched to forget what happened to her, and drag Curwen out to a tree where they intend to burn him. However, the leader of the mob, Ezra Weeden, insists that they do not harm Curwen’s mistress Hester (to whom Weeden was previously engaged to be married.) Before dying, Curwen puts a curse on Arkham and its inhabitants, saying he will rise from the grave to take his revenge on the descendants of the five men who burned him…
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Tags: 1963, American horror, American International, Arkham, curse, Debra Paget, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, horror film, Lon Chaney Jr., New England, poem, Roger Corman, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Haunted Palace, Vincent Price, warlock