Although recognised as part of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe cycle (its title comes from a Poe poem), The Haunted Palace has a much more significant place in film history for being the first high-profile adaptation of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, in this case his novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
Ward is one of two characters played by Vincent Price, the other being Ward’s great-great-grandfather Joseph Curwen, burned as a warlock 110 years before. When Ward returns to the village of Arkham to reclaim the family mansion, his striking resemblance to his ancestor is just the first of many macabre events that proceed to unfold, including the screen debut of Lovecraft’s legendary Necronomicon.
As before, Corman and his team worked wonders with their modest budget, with Daniel Haller’s sets amongst the most elaborate in all the Poe cycle, enhanced by genuinely creepy moments such as the crowd of deformed villagers still living under Curwen’s curse.