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Thread: Vincent Price.... And you!

  1. #1
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Vincent Price.... And you!

    So not wanting to take the other thread too off topic, let's talk Vincent Price here.

    My first exposure to him made a huge impact on me. My grandfather, a kindly old United Church minister who loved old horror and sci-fi movies and who helped warp my young mind, showed me The Fly when I was six or seven. It scared the crap out of me and I think because of that experience that movie still freaks me out even now that I round up to forty. It was one of those things that stuck with me.

    Prior to that, or maybe around the same time, I was familiar with Price not by name but by his image. I vividly remember him freaking me out in The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein, which only get limited exposure outside of Canada but was really one of the coolest kids shows ever. More info here for those who want it. Sat. mornings I'd wake up and cower to this:



    Igor also scared me as a kid, but that's a different discussion for a different time. At any rate, between The Fly and Frightenstein, I was pretty much convinced at a young age that there was no way Vincent Price wasn't the scariest dude alive.

    Obviously as I got older and saw more of his work I developed a different appreciation for him and while he no longer makes me cry he can still be a pretty creepy dude. He's slimy and evil incarnate in Witchfinder General and he's great in the Corman AIP movies.

    I especially like his work in Laura where he's cast against type. Good stuff there, shows some real dramatic chops as an actor in that part.

    So yeah, Vincent Price. He's awesome.
    Rock! Shock! Pop!

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    Being part of the British Commonwealth here during my formative years, I really grew up on late night TV Hammer horror shows and afternoon TV matinees of the Carry On films and Hammer re-runs (back in the day when free-to-air TV didn't have to conform to only showing films in the PG bracket between morning programming and 8:30pm at night). But the lucky thing is, those afternoon matinees brought me Mr. Price in the form of the Dr. Phibes movies. He seemed ultra-creepy and quite sinister in those...and that commanding voice! It's only in my later years that I realised what great performance he gave in those films -- as without being able to speak his own lines he had to emote purely through facial expressions and those eyes.

    Later on, an issue of British magazine Starburst brought Witchfinder General to my attention. As it had been the subject of numerous cuts and variant versions over the years, and it had Price in what many (the man included) called his best role I had to see it. Eventually I tracked the film down on VHS, and saw it - albeit in its BBFC theatrical version. But still, I loved it - and Vincent was at his best in the film. It's kind of equal to what Freddie Francis did with Peter Cushing in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, in that Reeves took an established horror icon and put him in a role that was the antithesis of everything he'd played up till that film. Cushing was wonderfully vile in Frankenstein, and Price was at his most grotesque and unlikeable.

    Then, the years rolled on and Mr. Price fell out of favour with me somewhat. Though I did enjoy him in Cry of the Banshee, another afternoon TV matinee favourite. Again, I've only ever seen that film with all the nudity and some of the violence trimmed from it to accommodate afternoon TV (though it was the British version of the film, as it had the Terry Gilliam credits). Remind me to buy the Optimum DVD. Then, after Kenny Everett's pretty awful big screen debut, Bloodbath at the House of Death, and Peter Walker's rather entertaining "old boys club" thriller The House of Long Shadows (for goodness sake, where is the DVD?), Vinnie faded from view again until Edward Scissorhands came along...

    It was while I used to post on another (now) lesser, nameless forum that I realised - out of the blue - that I'd read about the films Price did for Corman and AIP...but never seen any of them! In a skive off moment from the whole Hong Kong blog thingy, I bought all the ones I could from the UK plus the Phibes films. All original MGM pressings, all new, and all for the bargain price of $4.50AUD each. Last night, I watched House of Usher (which the box lists as The Fall of the House of Usher, but the print says otherwise) and I'm hooked on dear old Vincent again. Funny how being an old-school, lifelong horror fan runs in cycles...



    Two minor things struck be about House of Usher (outside of it being very good indeed): 1. I didn't realise Price was so tall, and 2. With all the product in Mark Damon's hair...why didn't his head catch fire at the end?

  3. #3
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Ha, valid question, Mike.

    As far as House Of Long Shadows goes, it's surprising it's not been released yet when so many of his other movies have been. That said, I've got a good quality bootleg of it if you need some help getting a copy.

    Anyone else (besides Tolch) familiar with the Frightenstein stuff? It's such an odd product of its time.

    The Phibes films are great. Haven't watched those in a long while but they left a pretty strong impression on me as well.

    It was kinda neat to see Price 'resurrected' in comic book form a few years back. I bought a couple of them and if the stories were only so-so, the covers were great.





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    Senior Member Mark Tolch's Avatar
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    Just found out that the local library has a copy of the Sinister Image, Vincent Price disc, which i haven't seen in ages....since hanging out with Mr. Jane. It's not anything that i need to own, but i'd like to check it out again.

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    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    That's been OOP for a while, it's tough to find now.
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    Senior Member Kevin Coed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jane View Post
    Ha, valid question, Mike.

    As far as House Of Long Shadows goes, it's surprising it's not been released yet when so many of his other movies have been.
    It's been released as one of those wretched 'on demand' DVD-Rs.

    clicky

    Here's an interview with Vincent at the National Film Theatre in London circa 1970 :-

    An Audience With Vincent Price

    It's fantastic - give it a listen.

    And here's a BBC dramatisation from a couple of years ago regarding the conflict between Vincent and Michael Reeves :-

    Vincent Price And The Horror Of The English Blood Beast
    Let's just get high and fuck some sluts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Coed View Post
    And here's a BBC dramatisation...
    Thanks for that Rich, that was a really first class radio play. Kept me glued to my PC for an hour.

    Here's a link to that Cinefantastique article I mentioned; didn't realise it was online.

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    Senior Member Kevin Coed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T View Post
    Here's a link to that Cinefantastique article I mentioned; didn't realise it was online.
    And thank you, in turn, for this. Had a quick skim of it and it looks excellent - will give it a proper read when the kids aren't vying for my attention.
    Let's just get high and fuck some sluts

  9. #9
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Frightenstein intro!

    http://youtu.be/XZKybIIyvG4
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    Senior Member Mark Tolch's Avatar
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    I've told this story before, but i'll tell it again....a guy that i worked with, now retired, used to work as stage crew at a theatre. Price was playing one of the roles and was at the theatre for a week or so. The crew, every night after the performance, would hang out backstage and play cards, smoke cigars, and drink scotch. He told me that once Price found out that this was going on, a couple of days into the run, he would always come to the card games and sit and play with them, and that he was one of the nicest, classiest guys that you could ever hope to meet, with a lot of appreciation for the crew that was running the show for him. I like that story.

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