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The Haunted Palace

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The Haunted Palace (1963) starring Vincent Price, Debra Paget, by Roger Corman
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Charles Dexter Ward inherits The Haunted Palace from his ancestor in a small village. His ancestor was a warlock who died 100 years ago when the villagers burned him at the stake. But the warlock put a curse on them …

The Haunted Palace (1963) starring Vincent Price, Debra Paget, by Roger Corman

First off, The Haunted Palace is not based on Edgar Allen Poe’s story — despite the title and the marketing. It is based on H. P. Lovecraft’s story, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. In many ways, the basic plot is reminiscent of “Diary of a Madman“. In both, a likable protagonist is slowly being taken over by an evil spirit, forced to do evil things, while struggling against the possession. But The Haunted Palace, the evil’s affected other people in the small town of Arkham as well.

Some of the townspeople are hideously deformed. It’s blamed on what happened over 100 years before, when an evil warlock, Joseph Curwen, along with two others, was attempting unholy experiments with the “old ones”. Prehistoric, evil creatures that allegedly one ruled the Earth, and want to do so again. It’s a recurring theme in Lovecraft’s work. But the townspeople rebel, and burn the warlock at the stake. And with his dying words, he swears revenge:

Ezra Weeden: Have you anything to say, warlock?
Joseph Curwen: Only this… As surely as the village of Arkham has risen up against me, so shall I rise from the dead… against the village of Arkham. Each one of you! Ezra Weeden, Micah Smith, Benjamin West, Priam Willet, Gideon Leach, all of you and your children and your children’s children shall have just cause to regret the actions of this night. For from this night onward, you shall bear my curse.
Ezra Weeden: Burn the devil… Burn him!
Joseph Curwen: [set on fire] AHHHHH!

And in the present, the warlock’s great grandson comes to claim his inheritance, accompanied by his lovely wife. And the conflict begins …

Product Description 

SYNOPSIS: Charles Dexter Ward travels with his wife to Arkham to inspect a large house he has inherited. It was once owned by his great grandfather Joseph Curwen, a disciple of the devil, who cursed the local villagers as they burned him at the stake. Everyone is hostile to Ward, blaming the curse for the number of mutants in the village. Indeed, Ward’s arrival allows Curwen to take over his body and restart his evil ways by revenging himself on the descendants of those who killed him …The Haunted Palace (1963)

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