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Vincent






















Vincent

























Vincent

A Tribute To Vincent Price

My Opinion

Back in the day Vincent Price was my favorite actor (although he was often tied with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to be honest), now that’s a sick little kid right? I still think Price was a great and under rated actor, turning something that could’ve been a total train wreck into something not that bad ("The Last Man on Earth"), creating characters equal to although not as famous as some of horror’s greatest characters ("Fall of the House of Usher", "Masque of the Red Death"), he was able to easily deliver a restrained yet camp performance ("House on Haunted Hill"), and an over the top camp performance ("Madhouse") and turn in an intense truly terrifying performance ("Witchfinder General"). Vincent Price still ranks high on my list of all time greatest, regardless of genre. He was truly one of a kind.

Bio

from: Wikipedia.org/

Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. (May 27, 1911 - October 25, 1993) was an American film actor, remembered for his distinctive voice, his tall 6-foot 4-inch stature and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films.

Early life and career

Price was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Marguerite Cobb (née Willcox) and Vincent Leonard Price, Sr., who was the president of the National Candy Company. His grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, invented "Dr. Price's Baking Powder", the first cream of tartar baking powder, and secured the family's fortune.

Price attended St. Louis Country Day School. He was further educated at Yale in art history and fine art. He was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity and the Courtauld Institute, London. He became interested in theater in the 1930s, appearing professionally on stage from 1935.

He made his film debut in 1938 with Service de Luxe and established himself as a competent actor, notably in Laura (1944), opposite Gene Tierney, directed by Otto Preminger. He also played Joseph Smith, Jr. in the movie Brigham Young (1940), as well as a pretentious priest in The Keys of the Kingdom (1944).

Price's first venture into the horror genre was in the 1939 Boris Karloff film Tower of London in which his character was murdered by Karloff's. The following year he portrayed the title character in the film The Invisible Man Returns (a role he reprised in a vocal cameo at the end of 1948's horror-comedy spoof Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein).

In 1946 Price reunited with Gene Tierney in two notable films, Dragonwyck and Leave Her to Heaven. There were also many villainous roles in slick film noir thrillers like The Web (1947), The Long Night (1947), Rogues Regiment (1948) and The Bribe (1949) with Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner and Charles Laughton. He was also active in radio, portraying the Robin Hood-inspired crime-fighter Simon Templar, aka. The Saint, in a series that ran from 1943 to 1951.

In the 1950s, he moved into horror films, with a role in House of Wax (1953), the first 3-D film to land in the year's top ten at the North American box office, and then the monster movie The Fly (1958). Price also starred in the original House on Haunted Hill (1959) as the eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren. (Geoffrey Rush, playing the same character in the 1999 remake, was not only made to resemble Price, but was also renamed Steven Price.)

1960s

In the 1960s, Price had a number of low-budget successes with Roger Corman and American International Pictures (AIP) including the Edgar Allan Poe adaptations House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death, and The Tomb of Ligeia (1965). He also starred in The Last Man on Earth (1964), a film based on the Richard Matheson novel. In 1968 Price gave an iconic, coldly menacing, performance as Matthew Hopkins the "Witchfinder General" in the film of the same name.

He also starred in comedy films, notably the cult-classic Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965). In 1968 he played the part of an eccentric artist in the musical Darling of the Day opposite Patricia Routledge, displaying an adequate if untrained singing voice.

He often spoke of his pleasure at playing "Egghead" on the Batman television series. Another of his co-stars, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), often said Price was her favorite co-star. In an often-repeated anecdote from the set of Batman, Price, after a take was printed, started throwing eggs at series stars Adam West and Burt Ward, and when asked to stop replied, "With a full artillery? Not a chance!", causing an eggfight to erupt on the soundstage. This incident is reenacted in the behind-the-scenes telefilm Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt.

It was also in the 1960s that he began his role as a guest on the game show The Hollywood Squares, even becoming a semi-regular in the 1970s, including being one of the guest panelists on the finale in 1980. He was known for usually making fun of Rose Marie's age, and using his famous voice to answer maliciously to questions.

Later career

During the early 1970s, Price hosted and starred in BBC Radio's horror and mystery series The Price of Fear. Price accepted a cameo part in the children's television program The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (1971) in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, on the local television station CHCH. In addition to the opening and closing monologues, his role in the show was to recite poems about the show's various characters, sometimes wearing a cloak or other costumes. He has also appeared in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and Theatre of Blood (1973), in which he created a series of campy, tongue-in-cheek villains. Price also recorded dramatic readings of Poe's short stories and poems, which were collected together with readings by Basil Rathbone.

He greatly reduced his film work from around 1975, as horror itself suffered a slump, and increased his narrative and voice work, as well as advertising Milton Bradley's Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture. Price's voiceover is heard on Alice Cooper's first solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare from 1975, as well as the TV special entitled Alice Cooper-The Nightmare. He starred for a year in the early 1970s in a syndicated daily radio program, Tales of the Unexplained. He also made guest appearances in a 1970 episode of Here's Lucy showcasing his art expertise and in a 1972 episode of The Brady Bunch, in which he played a deranged archaeologist.

In the summer of 1977, he began performing as Oscar Wilde, in the one man stage play Diversions and Delights. Written by John Gay and directed by Joe Hardy, the play is set in a Parisian theatre on a night about one year before Wilde's death. In an attempt to earn some much-needed money, he speaks to the audience about his life, his works and, in the second act, about his love for Bosie, Lord Alfred Douglas, which led to his downfall.

The original tour of the play was a success in every city that it played, except for New York City. In the summer of 1979, Price performed it at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado on the same stage that Wilde had spoken to the miners about art some 96 years before. Price would eventually perform the play worldwide and to many, including his daughter Victoria, it was the best acting that he ever did.

In 1982, Price provided the narrator's voice in Vincent, Tim Burton's six-minute film about a young boy who flashes from reality into a fantasy where he is Vincent Price. That same year, he performed a sinister "rap" on the title track of Michael Jackson's Thriller album. A behind the scenes recording of the second verse of Vincent's rap can be heard on the Thriller 25 album.

In 1983, Price played the Sinister Man in the British spoof horror film Bloodbath at the House of Death starring Kenny Everett. One of his last major roles, and one of his favorites, was as the voice of Professor Ratigan in Walt Disney Pictures' The Great Mouse Detective from 1986.

From 1981 to 1989, he hosted the PBS television series Mystery!. Also, in 1985, he was voice talent on the Hanna-Barbera series The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo as the mysterious Vincent Van Ghoul, who aided Scooby-Doo and the gang in capturing thirteen evil demons into an ancient chest. During this time (1985-1989), he appeared in horror-themed commercials for Tilex bathroom cleanser. In 1989, Price was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. His last significant film work was as the inventor in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990).

A witty raconteur, Price was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, where he once demonstrated how to poach a fish in a dishwasher. He also was a frequent panelist on Hollywood Squares during its initial run. Price was a noted gourmet cook and art collector. From 1962 to 1971, Sears, Roebuck offered the Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, selling about 50,000 pieces of fine art to the general public. Price selected and commissioned works for the collection, including works by Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí. He also authored several cookbooks and hosted a cookery TV show, Cooking Pricewise.

Family

Price was married three times and fathered a son, named Vincent Barrett Price, with his first wife, former actress Edith Barrett. Price and his second wife Mary Grant Price donated hundreds of works of art and a large amount of money to East Los Angeles College in the early 1960s in order to endow the Vincent and Mary Price Gallery there. Their daughter, Victoria, was born in 1962.

Price's last marriage was to the Australian actress Coral Browne, who appeared with him (as one of his victims) in Theatre of Blood (1973). He converted to Catholicism to marry her, and she became a U.S. citizen for him.

Death

Price was a lifelong smoker. He had long suffered from emphysema and Parkinson's disease, which had forced his role in Edward Scissorhands to be much smaller than intended.

His illness also contributed to his retirement from Mystery, as his condition was becoming noticeable on-screen. He died of lung cancer on October 25, 1993. The Arts & Entertainment Network aired an episode of Biography highlighting Price's horror career the next night, but because of its failure to clear copyrights, the show was never aired again. Four years later, A&E produced its updated episode, a show titled Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain, which aired on October 12, 1997; it is often rebroadcast and is available on DVD. The script was by Lucy Chase Williams, author of The Complete Films of Vincent Price (Citadel Press, 1995). In early 1991, Tim Burton was developing a personal documentary with the working title Conversations With Vincent, in which interviews with Price were shot at the Vincent Price Gallery, but the project was never completed and was eventually shelved.

Legacy

In 1951, impressed by the spirit of the students and the community's need for the opportunity to experience original art works firsthand, Price donated some 90 pieces from his own collection to East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California, thus establishing the first "teaching art collection" owned by a community college in the U.S. Today, the Vincent Price Art Gallery continues to present world-class exhibitions, and remains one of the actor's most enduring legacies. The collection contains over 2,000 pieces and has been valued in excess of five million dollars. (On exhibit at The Vincent Price Gallery on the ELAC campus for free. Mon-Thu 12:00pm-3:00pm behind the F-5 Building)

Price was an Honorary Board Member and strong supporter of the Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum located in Bristol, Connecticut until his death. The museum features detailed life-size wax replicas of characters from some of Price's films, including The Fly, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and The Masque of the Red Death.

A black box theater at Price's alma mater, St. Louis Country Day School, is named after him.

Director Tim Burton directed a short stop-motion film as a tribute to Vincent Price called Vincent, about a young boy named Vincent Malloy who was obsessed with the grim and macabre. It is narrated by Price. Vincent Twice, Vincent Twice was a Price parody on Sesame Street. He was parodied in an episode of The Simpsons ("Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"). Price even had his own Spitting Image puppet, who was always trying to be "sinister" and lure people into his ghoulish traps, only for his victims to point out all the obvious flaws. Starting in November 2005, featured cast member Bill Hader of the NBC sketch comedy/variety show Saturday Night Live has played Price in a recurring sketch where Vincent Price hosts botched holiday specials filled with celebrities of the late 1950s-early 1960s. Other cast members who have played Price on SNL include Dan Aykroyd and Michael McKean (who played Price when he hosted a season 10 episode and again when he was hired as a castmember for the 1994-1995 season). The October 2005 episode of the Channel 101 series Yacht Rock featured comedian James Adomian as Vincent Price during the recording of Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

In 1999, a frank and detailed biography of Price, written by his daughter Victoria Price, was published by St Martin's Griffin Press.

From Wikipedia

Filmography

Service de Luxe (1938)
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
Tower of London (1939)
The Invisible Man Returns (1940)
Green Hell (1940)
The House of the Seven Gables (1940)
Brigham Young - Frontiersman (1940)
Hudson's Bay (1941)
The Song of Bernadette (1943)
The Eve of St. Mark (1944)
Wilson (1944)
Laura (1944)
The Keys of the Kingdom (1944)
A Royal Scandal (1945)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Shock (1946)
Dragonwyck (1946)
The Web (1947)
The Long Night (1947)
Moss Rose (1947)
Up in Central Park (1948)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) (voice only)
Rogues' Regiment (1948)
The Three Musketeers (1948)
The Bribe (1949)
Bagdad (1949)
The Baron of Arizona (1950)
Champagne for Caesar (1950)
Curtain Call at Cactus Creek (1950)
Notes on the Port of St. Francis (1951) (short subject) (narrator)
Adventures of Captain Fabian (1951)
His Kind of Woman (1951)
Pictura: An Adventure in Art (1951) (documentary) (on-screen narrator)
The Las Vegas Story (1952)
Water, Water Every Hare (1952)
House of Wax (1953)
Crucifixion (1953) (short subject) (narrator)
Dangerous Mission (1954)
Casanova's Big Night (1954) (Cameo as Casanova)
The Mad Magician (1954)
Born In Freedom: The Story of Colonel Drake (1955) (short subject)
Son of Sinbad (1955)
Serenade (1956)
While the City Sleeps (1956)
The Vagabond King (1956) (narrator)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
Eight Steps to Peace (1957) (documentary) (narrator)
The Story of Mankind (1957)
The Fly (1958)
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
The Big Circus (1959)
The Tingler (1959)
Return of the Fly (1959)
The Bat (1959)
House of Usher (1960)
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile (1961)
Rage of the Buccaneers (1961)
Master of the World (1961)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Naked Terror (1961) (documentary) (narrator)
Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962)
Tales of Terror (1962)
Convicts 4 (1962)
Tower of London (1962)
Taboos of the World (1963) (documentary) (narrator)
The Raven (1963)
Diary of a Madman (1963)
Beach Party (1963)
The Haunted Palace (1963)
Twice-Told Tales (1963)
The Comedy of Terrors (1964)
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Chagall (1964) (short subject) (narrator)
The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)
War-Gods of the Deep (1965)
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965)
Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966)
The Jackals (1967)
The House of 1,000 Dolls (1967)
Spirits of the Dead (1968) (narrator in English version)
Witchfinder General (1968) (AKA: The Conqueror Worm)
More Dead Than Alive (1968)
Scream and Scream Again (1969)
The Oblong Box (1969)
The Trouble with Girls (1969)
Cry of the Banshee (1970)
Mooch Goes to Hollywood (1971) (Cameo)
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
The Beginning of the End of the World (1971) (documentary) (narrator)
The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (1971) (Canadian Television) (cameo: narrator/host)
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971) (voice)
An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe (Television - 1972)
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
Theatre of Blood (1973)
It's Not the Size That Counts aka Percy's Progress (1974)
Madhouse (1974)
The Devil's Triangle (1974) (documentary) (narrator)
Journey Into Fear (1975)
Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare (Television -1975) (host/"The Curator")
The Butterfly Ball (1976) (on-screen narrator)
Days of Fury (1978) (documentary) (on-screen narrator)
Scavenger Hunt (1979)
Time Express (1979)
The Monster Club (1980)
Pogo for President: 'I Go Pogo' (1980) (voice)
Vincent (1982) (short subject) (narrator)
House of the Long Shadows (1983)
Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984)
Dracula, the Great Undead (1985) (documentary) (on-screen narrator)
The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo (1985) (Television - voice)
The Nativity (1986) (short subject) (voice)
The Great Mouse Detective (1986) (voice)
Escapes (1986)
Sparky's Magic Piano (short) 1987
The Whales of August (1987)
The Offspring (1987)
Dead Heat (1988)
Don't Scream It's Only a Movie (1989) (documentary) (narrator)
America Screams (Television - 1990)
Catchfire (1990)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The Thief and the Cobbler (1995) (voice) (audio was recorded in 1973)

My Reviews

Tower of London, The (1939)- Not really horror material but horrible material as we watch the lengths Richard III would go to to become King of England. Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff return for Universal after making "Son of Frankenstein" with Rathbone as Richard III and Karloff as his executioner ally. Karloff and Rathbone are excellent in their sinister roles and it is one of Karloff's great moments (much of the other acting is dated though). Despite a low budget this one offers some great set pieces and is a great story (loosely based on Shakespeare). A young Vincent Price turns up in his first 'horror' role and he would go on to play Richard III in Corman's 60s remake. B-.

The Invisible Man Returns (1940)- A lot of reviews I've read talk about how great 'The Invisible Man' was. James Whale was a great director by that point, his exploration of megalomania was good, etc. I didn't like it though for reasons stated above. This movie more or less follows the first, but with a better storyline (the first really didn't have much of a story line). The original Invisible Man's brother gives his invisible-making serum to a friend who has been falsely accused of murder and is up for execution, he then easily escapes from prison. A young Vincent Price is the invisible man this time and plays the part with great restraint as he looks for evidence to clear his name and courts his fiancé all while invisible and trying to avoid that slipping into madness the serum eventually causes. Some of the acting is over the top and the camp works sometimes and doesn't at other times but over-all I thought this was a much more thought out story than the first one. A point to note, Price hadn't yet developed his 'horror movie persona' yet so don't expect to recognize his voice right off. B+.

Shock (1946)- This is an early Vincent Price vehicle. Price plays a psychiatrist who accidentally kills his wife when she threatens to ruin his career by exposing his affair with a nurse. A woman in an adjoining room in the hotel where this occurs witnesses the murder and goes into 'shock'. Price then becomes her psychiatrist and has to figure out what to do with her. Price's character is supposed to be a nice guy who is a victim of circumstance but he comes across as a little more sinister than I think he's supposed to so you never really feel any sympathy for him and the woman who witnesses the murder just goes around over-acting. It's a good plot poorly executed but Price is good as the confused doctor. C-.

House of Wax (1953)- More or less a total remake of "Mystery of the Wax Museum". Vincent Price plays Atwell's part and there is no smart-assed reporter. I think this version works a little better than the original. Again the sets are great and Price plays his part incredibly well. Charles Bronson is also in it, but he's young and doesn't have that crustache yet. Plot-wise it is identical to the original and some of the scenes are even exactly the same. Also, it was originally in 3-D so there are scenes where things are thrown or fall at the camera. B+.

Fly, The (1958)- Classic 50s sci-fi/horror about a scientist who ‘plays god’ by making a teleportation device. Not sure how exactly making a teleportation device is ‘playing god’ anymore than making a car or an airplane would be. Anyway, while testing the device out on himself a fly gets into the pod and his genes are fused with the flies when he is reassembled, creating a half human half fly, and a half fly half human. Without the fly-human the human-fly can’t try and undo the catastrophe. All this is told in flashback to the scientist’s brother and a police inspector by the scientist’s wife, who is being charged with murder as she admits she killed her husband by putting his head (and arm) in a machine press. Yikes! Vincent Price plays the brother-in-law in a very understated way and over all the acting is great. Yeah, there is the over-the-top ‘gee Beav’ 50s idyllic home life of the mad scientist, his wife, annoying dumbass son, and housekeeper, complete with lots of ‘ain’t life grand’ violin music, which I guess is suppose to juxtapose against the horror that is to come, and yes, the effects are dated, but this is still a better than most 50s monster movies. The colors, directing, and dialogue for the most part work really well. I’d say this is pretty much classic status, and was one more step towards Vincent Price becoming the horror cult icon he became. A.

The House on Haunted Hill (1959)- Vincent Price's wife wants a party, so he throws her one in a big ol' scary house. He's wealthy and she wants him dead. He's wealthy and he wants her dead. It's an interesting dynamic that they pull off really well. This is a great movie pulled off admirably by the great William Castle, a 50's icon of horror schlock. Are the things happening in the house because of Price or because the house is haunted, or both? Very well done, although the twist ending doesn't really hold up if you think back to everything that went down, plus the voice over at the very end by the owner of the house seems oblivious to what actually happened at the end. Get past these weaknesses and you have a great suspense yarn. B+.

The Bat (1959)- There's a serial killer on the loose, one the cops had thought was gone. What's he after, hidden money? Inheritance? Or just killing people for no reason? Is Vincent Price in fact "The Bat" or just another red herring? You'll have to watch this goofy murder mystery to get the answers; even after watching it you may not have the answers! Not a particularly good movie but not terrible. Price is good in this early vehicle, before he had really developed his horror persona he'd make famous with Roger Corman. Good enough acting and OK directing but the plot and writing leave something to be desired. C-.

Tingler, The (1959)- This is, on the surface, more goofy William Castle stuff. You probably know the story about seats in the theatre being wired to produce a mild electrical shock to people at the most opportune times as they watched the movie back in the day. Yeah it's goofy and no, it doesn't actually require the warning that you may die of fright but this movie does work on many levels. It is well written (for hokey stuff anyway) and the plot is actually pretty good and tightly directed. The plot? Vincent Price is a coroner but his real interest is in the physiological changes the body experiences while frightened and exactly what triggers and releases those changes. He finds the perfect subject in a woman who is mute and therefore can't scream, which is the hypothesized release. Due to a decent enough plot twist Vincent gets to discover the creature from the title, The Tingler, which is a very silly giant centipede like thing which escapes and then triggered the electrical shocks in the theatre (It escapes in a theatre in the movie, nice touch). It is as silly as it all sounds but somehow it does work and is a pretty original plot. B+.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)- Richard Matheson's script is pretty faithful to Poe's tale of a man held prisoner in his house and haunted by the past deeds of his nefarious family members. The house is crumbling around them and there are no heirs and he plans on keeping it that way as a suitor tries to woe away his sister, who he has also kept in his prison. Vincent Price plays Roderick Usher in a very subdued believable manner and we are never totally clued into whether or not Usher is insane or if in fact what he says is true. This is part of the power of the film along with the magnificent sets and great acting. While I liked the film quite a bit I don't feel that it is the masterpiece many reviewers set it up to be so I'll give it a strong B.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)- Vincent Price's dad was an inquisitor and he witnessed some heinous stuff when he was young, including the torture of his mother. Rough childhood. Luckily he's grown out of all that stuff and has a lovely and caring young wife... or has he... or is she... Nice twist on the Poe tale (which as it is wouldn't make for much of a full length movie but makes for a great read). I really liked the twist and twist again ending too. Corman was hitting his stride with these Poe/Price vehicles at this time and I think this is one of his best. Great sets, color, and acting throughout. A.

  • Tales of Terror (1962)- Pretty strong entry into the Roger Corman Poe Cycle. This is a 3 tale omnibus, story one being that of ‘Morella’. She died young and blamed her infant daughter on her sickness, her husband sent the daughter away when she was young and keeps his wife’s body in the bedroom. The daughter, now 26, returns and all is far from well. It is well acted with great sets and use of color but seems to end a tad abruptly; I’ll give it a B-.Story two combines ‘The Black Cat’ with ‘The Cask of Amontillado’. A drunken wine expert embarrasses a famous wine expert in a contest. The famous wine expert then begins an affair with the drunkard’s wife and things of course do not end well for anyone involved. Peter Lorre is great as the drunkard and Price as the over the top wine taster, A+. Finally ‘The Case of M. Valdemar’ gives us a dying Price character who agrees to be hypnotized at the moment of death, against the advice of his doctor and wife, so that moment can be studied. He becomes trapped between life and death and winds up being very unhappy. I’ll give this an A+ too. These are subtle flicks that fall in line with the rest of Corman’s Poe output of this era, if you dislike them then you will dislike this, but if you dig the others then this is a must see. The 3 grades average to an A-.

  • Twice Told Tales (1963)- A three tale omnibus based on Nathanial Hawthorne stories. Story one involves two old friends celebrating a birthday. The old man whose birthday it is is lamenting the loss of his bride-to-be on their wedding day 38 years earlier when lightning strikes her crypt just outside the house. One thing leads to another and the old man discovers what may be the secret to eternal youth, and what may be their undoing as well, A strong story very well done by Price and the rest of the cast. A. Story two revolves around a young woman apparently held prisoner by her father, a once famous biologist who now has some very poisonous plants, among other things, a tad weaker than story one but still interesting and well done. A-. Story three, based on the famous "House of Seven Gables" is about a man trying to find a vault with the rest of his inheritance, before a family curse does him in, he finds the vault, and also its contents... This one seems rushed, it is pretty well done but they seem to cram too much in the short time these types of movies can allow. B+ This averages to an A- which might be a little bit low but I’ll go with it.

    Diary of a Madman (1963)- Vincent Price plays a judge who visits a man condemned to death in prison. The man claims to be possessed by an evil spirit, a "Horla", he tries to kill Price but dies in the attempt and the Horla, needing a new host, enters Price (a plot that would be reworked for 1998's "The Fallen"). Price's interest in art is renewed and he hires a model to pose for him, but really it is the evil Horla who wants the model around. This flick is more than a little cheesy and the effects are bad even by 1963 standards, but Price gives his usual 110%, which brings the other actors up a notch and saves the film from being totally forgettable. A classic if you like these 60s flicks. B.

    Haunted Palace, The (1963)- Corman directed Price vehicle based on Lovecraft’s "The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward", Corman threw in a couple of lines from a Poe poem so he could make folks think it part of his successful Poe series, but it was in fact the first film based on a Lovecraft story. If you like these type of Corman flicks then I think you will like this. I liked it a lot and felt the acting and directing were great as were the sets. Amazing what can be done on Corman budgets! Price plays both the evil Curwin, a warlock who uses a town’s young maidens to try and mate with ‘The Elders’ to create a super race and is then burned by the town’s folk, but not before he curses them all, and his great great grandson, Ward, who inherits the palace and then becomes possessed by Curwin and starts up the old practices again. Price is great in his dual role and obviously relishes the chance to switch between good and evil at the drop of a hat. This film fits right in with his "Masque of the Red Death" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" and is a must see if you liked those. A

    Raven, The (1963)- Classic from my youth pulling together an old Boris Karloff, a young Jack Nicholson, and Vincent Price and Peter Lorre to boot. Peter Lorre is a magician who is turned into a raven by the magician Grand Master (Karloff) and goes to a reluctant magician (Price) for help. Price ends up back at the Grand Master’s castle for what winds up being an all or nothing battle of magic. Yeah, it is as goofy as it sounds and yet, unlike a similar ‘Comedy of Terrors’, works. Why did this work for me and not the other? This pretends for the most part to take itself seriously, even though it very obviously isn’t, whereas ‘Comedy of Terrors’ goes slapstick from scene one. Still, I realize many folks will hate this, but if you like the low budget Corman quickies (goofy like ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ or serious like ‘Masque of the Red Death’) then you’ll appreciate this I think. I will give it a strong A, keeping in mind it is meant to be goofy stuff.

    Comedy of Terrors (1963)- A very fitting name! Here we have some of the greatest horror movie actors ever (Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone), one of the great directors (Jacques Tourneur) and one of the greatest horror writers ever (Richard Matheson) all coming together for this horror/comedy about a funeral parlor owner who is falling on hard times and needs some new ‘customers’. There is plenty of scenery chewing over-the-top, 110% or nothing acting and writing going on, all of which is completely spoiled by ‘zaniness’. This falls pretty quickly into piss-poor sound effects, fast motion, and 3 Stooges slapstick (which had to even feel dated in 1963), and well, pretty much sucks because of that. Seriously, I hated this, just not my cup of tea, F.

    The Last Man on Earth (1964)- Another take on a Matheson novel. This is based on his "I Am Legend". A great book about a virus that turns people into vampires. Matheson hated this movie, as I believe did its star Vincent Price but I like it quite a bit. You can really see where modern zombie movies comes from, as this movie is a bridge between the old school Voodoo zombies and the cannibal zombies of Romero. Price is locked away in his house all night waiting out the vampire/zombies as they try to get in and kill him. During the day he reinforces his house and kills the sleeping vampires/zombies. There are some suspenseful moments as he is late getting home etc. and the ending, though weird, is effective. The pseudo-scientific explanations work too rather then getting in the way of the story and the flash backs to the plague sweeping Europe and coming to America work well for me. I'm not sure why this movie is looked down on most of the time; yeah it's cheap, slow at times, and the editing is pisspoor but over all it still works on a B movie level. B.

    Masque of the Red Death (1964)- Roger Corman took Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" and mixed it up with "Hop Frog", added in some of his own elements and ideas and wound up with this colorful movie. A very well acted and interestingly directed movie about a sadistic prince who worships Satan and hides out in his castle with a large group of invited guests while a plague ravages the countryside. Corman's interesting use of color (which comes from the name of the story and the plot but is used well visually in this adaptation) along with some great acting by everyone, especially Price who revels in the role of a terribly evil person, make this worth a view. It often mirrors in both feel and subject matter Igmar Bergman's "Seventh Seal". B+.

    The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)- This was a favorite of Vincent Price's and many say it is one of the best of the Corman Poe adaptations. It does have great acting and great sets (including external location shots which were rare on Corman budgets) but despite all this I couldn't much into this flick. A strange widower lives in the ruins of a castle. He eventually falls for a woman and marries her. He wants to leave the old castle but is forced to remain for some unseen reason. He never sleeps with his new bride and she is beginning to hallucinate. Is the ghost of Prices' wife about? The movie was Ok and had some good suspense but the end kind of went on and on and wasn't really satisfying. C+.

    Witchfinder General (1968)- Vincent Price stars as witch finder Mathew Hopkins in this account loosely based on a true story. Price is cool, cruel, and calculating as Hopkins, who travels the English countryside accusing witches and being paid by local magistrates for his services, and those of his assistant John. He is making a good living torturing and killing women (and men) and occasionally taking advantage of the women in order to ‘save’ them too. He makes a mistake however when he kills a Catholic priest who happens to be taking care of a niece, who is engaged to a soldier. Hopkins has his way with the woman, promising to save the priest in return for her favors, but decides to kill the priest after his assistant rapes the woman. The soldier returns to hear the story and tracks the pair of witch hunters down and exacts his revenge as he and his now wife slip into insanity. This is a great looking film and is brutal, especially for 1968. It is definitely one of Price’s best rolls; the mutual dislike between he and the director only making the movie more tense, obviously bringing the best out of Price who left his often campy style at home to play the part with cold brilliance. And the dark ending is perfect for the close of the film. A nice look at what a paradise we could have if we’d only let the religious run everything. A+.

    The Oblong Box (1969)- Vincent Price is a member of a rich family with large land holding in Africa. After a terrible accident a curse is placed on his brother and they return home to England to live in isolation. His brother is determined to get out of that attic he's locked in and comes up with a pretty desperate plan that then backfires, sort of. Christopher Lee shows up as a doctor who becomes the victim of some blackmailing. All in all this is a pretty effective movie with some cool witchdoctor/voodoo scenes and pretty effective ending, and plot twist. Interesting, original, well filmed (except the day for night scenes) and well acted. The only exception would be the weak makeup job on the cursed brother. A-.

    Scream and Scream Again (1969)- This is the only movie to have Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing, 3 of the greatest horror movie stars ever, in it. That's a drag. It's a drag because putting those 3 together could produce some good movies and also because this movie pretty much sucks. From the terrible 60s 'Spy Hunter' soundtrack to weird Nazi wannabe characters, to the much too long chase scene with the never-satisfactorily-explained vampire character, this movie just fails. Apparently scientists are developing super humans, kind of "bionic people". These Nazi types have a British spy plane pilot and want to see the case notes on these bionic people. Random stuff happens. The acting is pretty good, the directing is very dated as is the terrible music mentioned above. This is kind of sci-fi meets horror via James Bond. Fairly original but only because it's a bad idea, D-.

    The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)- Price plays Dr. Phibes, a psychopath genius that is believed dead. He blames several doctors for his wife's death and sets out getting his revenge using the seven plagues of Egypt as inspiration. Man they would come up with a lot of interesting ways to kill people in these movies (and modern movies like "Se7en" and "Saw" would pick up on that). The movie has that odd 60s psychedelia going for it, which works sometimes and gets old sometimes. Price plays the part with strange restraint (his character can't talk) and the sets are equally strange. Somehow, between the weirdness it still all works. The camp relief of the bungling police is a nice touch too. The same theme would be developed further in "Theatre of Blood" and to some extent in "Madhouse". A-.

    Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)- Dr. Phibes put himself in suspended animation at the end of the first film and now is back, looking for the River of Life in Egypt to resurrect his beloved Victoria, who, if you can recall, died on the operating table after an accident and the doctors who couldn't save her were killed off in the first Phibes film. When Phibes wakes up he realizes his house has been demolished and his map to the River of Life is gone. The guy who has the map has his own reason for wanting to find the River of Life so Phibes kills off anyone in his way in some interesting ways. This movie revives the very 'oddness' of the first and also the black comedy, which still holds up. It is an interesting plot but over all a weaker effort than the first. I liked the ending though, not what I expected. B.

    Theatre of Blood (1973)- The perfect vehicle for Vincent Price to go over-the-top as an over-acting over-emotional Shakespearean actor. It has the perfect mix of camp, gore, and murder. There are no real surprises in this one but the acting and the plot are great either way. Price is a stage actor who was denied an award he believed he'd earned. He attempts suicide and everyone believes he was successful; he wasn't and returns to kill off the critics that denied him his award. One by one he kills them in creative ways all inspired by the Shakespeare plays he was in the season he was denied his award. Everything just works in this movie and I have to say I liked it a lot. A.

    Madhouse (1974)- Vincent Price is an actor famous for his horror movies, in real life and in Madhouse. In Madhouse his fiancé is found decapitated and while most believe Price did it, it can't be proven, and Price's character doesn't remember the event at all and slips into insanity. Years later he is asked to make a come back playing a character from one of his movies in a TV series. He reluctantly agrees and murders again begin to follow him. This is a nicely paced piece with fine performances from Price and Peter Cushing. The murder mystery is carried off nicely and the ending is satisfying, although the murderer sure took the hard way to try and accomplish his goal. Also, just to throw this out there, the murder of Price's fiancé is actually never solved in the movie. Nice touch. A.

    From a Whisper to a Scream (1987)- Featuring a wraparound story about a female serial killer being put to death, we find a reporter asking the woman’s uncle (Vincent Price) how his niece came to be such a cold blooded killer. He proceeds to tell her it has to do with her hometown where horrible things have always happened, like: Story 1 deals with an introvert who still lives at home with his sister (and their relationship may not be overly healthy). He wants very badly to date hottie from work (who wears GIANT 80s glasses!), she accepts his offer for dinner, but steadfastly rejects his advances, which causes him to lose it, he kills her, but his love won’t die with her. Well played and an interesting, albeit goofy ending, I’ll give it a B. Story 2 finds a crook on the run. He takes a bullet and is saved by an old man who lives out in the swamp. The old man practices voodoo and it turns out he may in fact be a VERY old man. The young crook wants in on the voodoo secrets and of course, gets way more than he wished for. I liked this one and will give it an A (great soundtrack too). Story 3 finds a young woman madly in love with a circus freak who eats glass and razor blades for a living. The problem is he may have had to sell something important in order to gain that ability. A tad over the top I’ll give this one a C. And finally story 5 revolves around the end of the Civil War. Some soldiers on their way home decide to do some raping and pillaging, but things don’t go as planned when they encounter a strange house full of young kids. This one had a pretty strong ‘creepiness’ to it I liked, it wasn’t great with regard to story but it worked on an atmosphere level so I’ll give it an A. And back to the wrap around and an ending I really didn’t dig, but that’s because I’m old school I guess. This averages to about a B which seems right.

    Dead Heat (1988)- I knew going in what to expect, and I got exactly what I thought I would get. A big evil corporation is reanimating folks and an evil doc is using the zombies to rob jewelry stores. Cops are confused but a couple of loose cannon types are on the case. One gets killed and reanimated and now he’s pissed. Joe Piscapo is in this so you know it is going to suck. It tries to be funny, campy, and scary and fails at all three. The people making this knew it was going to suck so they just went all out. I’m going to give this an F, I know it was supposed to be dumb, but it’s just too damned dumb, despite a great part by The Night Stalker and a cameo by an old Vincent Price.


    Red Death indeed