The tongue-in-cheek playing is certainly amusing. Richard Mathesons script has an amusingly droll dryness to it Vincent Price shows Peter Lorre his wifes coffin in the hallway, I keep her here, to which Lorres reply is a shrug, Where else? Or Boris Karloff, as he prepares to torture Olive Sturgess, having the torturer stub a red-hot brand out on his hand and commenting Hmm, not quite ready yet.
Vincent Prices tendency towards fruity overplaying is well suited to the film. Boris Karloff is fine despite being in very poor health at the time the reason he spends so much of the film seated. Most fun of all is Peter Lorre, who ad libbed most of his performance, charging about like a drunken, neurotic chihuahua. Jack Nicholson, for a career to come that was based on so much over-playing, is amusing to see as a straight man, at which he comes across wooden and flat. Richard Mathesons plot is too shapeless for The Raven to be a great film but the droll subtleties at least make it an amusing one.
There are several other loosely Poe-based films with the same name, including the earlier The Raven (1935), which also starred Boris Karloff as an escaped criminal who is surgically disfigured by Bela Lugosi as a Poe-obsessed madman, Ulli Lommels The Raven (2006) and David DeCoteaus The Raven (2007), both about a mad killer, and The Raven (2012) featuring Poe up against a serial killer.
Roger Cormans other Edgar Allan Poe films are:- The House of Usher/The Fall of the House of Usher (1960), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962), the Poe-titled but H.P. Lovecraft adapted The Haunted Palace (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and most of the production team also teamed up on the Richard Matheson-scripted morticians comedy The Comedy of Terrors (1963) under Jacques Tourneur at AIP around the same time, which has a similar tone to The Raven.
Roger Cormans other genre films as director are: Day the World Ended (1955), It Conquered the World (1956), War of the Satellites (1956), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Not of This Earth (1957), The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Journey to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957), The Undead (1957), Teenage Caveman (1958), A Bucket of Blood (1959), The Wasp Woman (1959), Last Woman on Earth (1960), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961), Tower of London (1962), The Terror (1963), X The Man with X-Ray Eyes (1963), The Trip (1967), Gas; or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It (1970) and Frankenstein Unbound (1990). Cormans World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) is a documentary about Cormans career.