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One stormy night, magician Craven (Vincent Price) is visited by a
talking raven, who when returned to human form turns out to be alcoholic
magician Bedlo (Peter Lorre), & this man tells himhe was turned into
a bird by magician Scarabus (Boris Karloff), who not only stole the
title of leader of the Brotherhood of Magicians from Craven's deceased
father but also lives with Lenor (Hazel Court), Craven's wife thoght
dead. So the 2 magicians, along with Estelle (Olive Sturgess), Craven's
daughter, & Rexford (Jack Nicholson), Bedlo's clumsy son, travel to
Scarabus's castle., only to find that man to be a perfect & charming
host. But as Bedlo soon gets roaringly drunk, he challenges Scarabus to
another magic duel ... & vanishes in the process. But he is not yet
dead as everyone thinks him to be but only tried to make a quick
getaway from his wife by being thought dead & furthermore now wants
Scarabus to teach him some superior magic in return for having lured
Craven to his castle - but Bedlo is merely turne to a raven again, while
Craven, Estelle & Rexford are soon laid into bondage &
incarcerated by Scarabus, who wants to learn some magic secrets from
Craven. Craven though refuses, & in the end only a magic duel can
decide who's sthe more powerful of the 2 magicians, a duel that grows
increasingly childish before Craven wins it, & Scarabus' castle
falls victim to the flames, burying Scarabus & treacherous Lenore
beneath the rubble, while everyone else is leaving happily - except for
Bedlo who still is a raven, of course.
After filming many a
serious Edgar Allan Poe-adaptation, Roger Corman also proved to be the
perfect man to parody his own movies, just taking all the clichés he
had used one step further & having his lead Poe-player Vincent Price
do a rather effeminate version of his standard character - Price was so
good in fact, that he for the next decade or so got rarely offered
anything else but leads in horror-comedies (with Witchfinder General
being a notable exception). But unlike in most of his other Poes,
Corman did rely less on the power of Price alone but came up with a
great ensemble cast of which at least Karloff & Lorre do manage to
balance Price out.