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Friday, September 22nd 2006

1:35 PM

Nevermore: The Edgar Allan Poe Films of Roger Corman

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Event Date & Time: Opening night reception & photo exhibition
  • Location: Drkrm Gallery - 2121 San Fernando Road, Suite 3, Los Angeles, CA 90065
  • In Person: Roger Corman, David Del Valle

"Nevermore: The Edgar Allan Poe Films of Roger Corman" is an exhibition of rare photographs from eight horror films that Corman produced and directed in the 1960s, based on the writing of Poe.

The exhibition kicks off on Saturday, October 21 with an opening night reception from 7:00 to 10:00pm. Veteran filmmaker Roger Corman, who turns eighty this year, will make a special appearance at the event.

The photographs are being supplied from the archives of David Del Valle, who has performed similar services for past Drkrm exhibitions, such as Haunted Hacienda and Beefcake Babylon.

Corman's long career encompassed many different genres: science-fiction, westerns, gangster flicks, biker pics - you namke it. But his greatest contribution undoubtedly was in the horror genre, thanks to his wonderful Poe series. Although the films play fast and loose with the orignial texts (pretty much a necessity when expanding a short story to feature length), they captured the spirit of Poe better than previous adaptations.

What's remarkable about watching the films now is to realize that they were conceived as exploitation drive-in fare that would appeal to teenagers (hence the typical casting of young, often inexperienced actors as the heroes). Yet, seen today, the films look stately, almost formal in their visual style, and they seem very little compromised by commercial considerations. All of the films were well-scripted(usually by Richard Matheson), and seven of them benefit greatly from the presence of "Merhcant of Menace" Vincent Price, usually playing either a villain or a tormented tragic figure. (Ray Milland took over for THE PREMATURE BURIAL, somewhat to the film's detriment.) Consequently, Corman's Poe films stand the test of time as true classics. Particularly praiseworthy are TALES OF TERROR, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, and THE TOMB OF LIGEIA.

A stand-out feature of the Poe adaptaitons was their lavish visual look. Despite low budgets,cinematography and production design (the latter courtesy of Daniel Haller) created a highly artificial, almost surreal landscape of the mind, where the horrors of the stories - usually focused more on madness than monsters - seemed perfectly situated.

This remarkable visual stylization makes the "Nevermore" exhibition of particular interest, so don't miss this chance to check out the artwork that will be on display.

The exhibition runs from October 21 through November 18.

Call 323-223-6867 for more information, or check out Drkrm's web page for the event here.

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