Theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Roger Corman|
|Produced by||Roger Corman|
|Written by||Edgar Allan Poe
|Music by||Les Baxter|
|Editing by||Ronald Sinclair|
|Release date(s)||January 25, 1963|
|Running time||86 min.|
The Raven is a 1963 horror film produced and directed by Roger Corman. The film stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff as a trio of rival sorcerers. Part of a series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptions produced by Corman through American International Pictures, the film was written by Richard Matheson based on references to Poe's poem The Raven. Nominally in the horror genre, it is more appropriately classified as a B movie horror-comedy.
Three decades earlier, Karloff had appeared in another film with the same title, Lew Landers' 1935 horror film The Raven with Bela Lugosi. Aside from the title, the two films bear no resemblance to one another.
The sorcerer Dr. Erasmus Craven has been mourning the death of his wife Lenore for over two years, much to the chagrin of his daughter Estelle. One night he is visited by a raven, who happens to be a transformed wizard, Dr. Bedlo. Together they brew a potion that restores Bedlo to his old self. Bedlo explains he had been transformed by the evil Dr. Scarabus in an unfair duel, and both decide to see Scarabus, Bedlo to exact revenge and Craven to look for his wife's ghost, which Bedlo reportedly saw at Scarabus' castle. After fighting off the attack of Craven's coachman, who apparently acted under the influence of Scarabus, they set out to the castle, joined by Craven's daughter and Bedlo's son Rexford.
At the castle, Scarabus greets his guests with false friendship, and Bedlo is apparently killed as he conjures a storm in a last act of defiance against his nemesis. At night, Rexford finds him alive and well, hiding in the castle. Craven, meanwhile, is visited and tormented by Lenore, who is revealed to be alive and well too, having faked her death two years before to move away with Scarabus. As Craven, Estelle, Rexford and Bedlo try to escape the castle, Scarabus stops them, and they are tied and locked up. Bedlo panics and flees away in raven form, having convinced Scarabus to turn him back into bird form rather than face torture. As Craven is confronted with the choice of Estelle's torture or of him giving away the secrets of his "hand magic", Bedlo flies back in, frees Rexford, and together aid Craven.
Craven and Scarabus then seat facing each other and engage in a magic duel. After a lengthy performance of narrow escapes and derision, Craven defeats Scarabus, and escapes with his friends after rejecting Lenore, who tries to get back with him after alleging she had been "under a spell". The castle then tumbles down on Scarabus and his mistress, but they are shown to survive, though Scarabus has been stripped of his magic.
Rexford and Estelle retreat alone, while Bedlo tries to convince Craven to turn him back to human form once more. Craven tells him to shut his beak and recites the famous lines from Edgar Allan Poe's poem: "Quoth the raven - nevermore".