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REMEMBERING VINCENT PRICE & THEATRE OF BLOOD

Posted by Billyjam, October 25, 2007 07:46pm | Post a Comment
vincent price
Today I spill a lil on the curb for the late, great Vincent Price, who died exactly 14 years ago on October 25th, 1993. A truly great and most unique American actor, Price will be forever remembered for his distinctive voice and the semi-serious/semi-comedic roles he played in countless horror films. He will also be remembered to some for such things as hosting the PBS television series Mystery! in the 1980's and for adding the ghostly voice-over at the beginning of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." 

Vincent Leonard Price was 82 years of age when he died of  complications from emphysema and Parkinson's disease. He was still active up to within a few years of his death; one of his last major film roles was a part in the movie Edward Scissorhands. That last film of his, which saw him in a smaller role due to his ill health, was in 1990 and capped an extremely long, illustrious, and most prolific film career. It began for the actor in 1938 and included well over a hundred films -- many available on DVD at Amoeba Music. Two of my personal favorite Vincent Price films are House of Wax (1953) and Theatre of Blood (1973) -- the latter vincent pricebeing the very first film of his I ever saw and the one that got me hooked on his ever-engaging on-screen persona. The film is pure, brilliant horror and suspense with just the perfect balance of humor -- the sort of film that makes most of today's over-the-top on special effects but low on anything else so-called "horror" flicks pale in comparison.

In Theatre of Blood, Price plays British stage actor Edward Kendall Sheridan Lionheart who has illusions of grandeur about himself being some great  Shakespearean actor -- which he is not. Rather, he is a poor actor with a bitter soul who seeks out revenge against all of the critics who have lambasted him throughout his career. In the gore-fest that ensues he diligently schemes, with the help of his daughter Edwina (played beautifully by Diana Rigg of The Avengers UK TV show fame), to creatively murder these arch rivals (as he sees them through his evil eyes) one-by-one -- inspired by the deaths of characters in Shakespeare's plays.  He also obsessively knocks off each of his seven victims in relation to each of the Seven Deadly Sins -- no doubt something that later inspired the film Seven. He re-enacts The Merchant of Venice scene in which Shylock gets his pound of flesh -- only it is the critic's live heart that the Vincent Price character coldly removes in Theatre of Blood. But the plotted murder from the movie that will forever be stuck in my mind is the one carried out in the theme of Shakespeare's gore-ridden tragedy Titus Andronicus, in which the Vincent Price character tricks his victim into eating his own beloved two poodle dogs which have been baked into a pie (eeew! I know)! The victim, a person of girth, who chokes to death on the pie, represents gluttony out of the Seven Deadly Sins.

I was reminded of Vincent Price while listening to London's wonderful ResonanceFM which recently rebroadcasted a great interview with the passionate actor (circa 1990) in which he talked of his love for not just film but also for the stage and especially for radio theater, noting how decades ago radio plays were such a vital form of entertainment. 

Vincent Price leaves behind a huge legacy. Below, courtesy of the lists posted on websites including amazon and wikiipedia, is the long list of Vincent Price's films.

-----------------------------------VINCENT PRICE 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) (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) (narrator)
    ▪     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) (cameo)
    ▪     The Butterfly Ball (1976) (voice)
    ▪     Days of Fury (1978) (documentary) (narrator)
    ▪     Scavenger Hunt (1979)
    ▪     Time Express (1979)
    ▪     The Monster Club (1980)
    ▪     Pogo for President: 'I Go Pogo' (1980) (voice)
    ▪     Vincent (1982) (short subject) (voice)
    ▪     House of the Long Shadows (1983)
    ▪     Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984)
    ▪     Dracula, the Great Undead (1985) (documentary) (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)