Friday, 26 October 2012

Little Shoppe of Horrors No 29 – What's Inside the Definitive Dr Phibes Issue

 The Covers
Jeff Preston’s autumnal cover perfectly captures Vincent Price as the Phibes character, while
 Dean Ormston’s inside cover is a much more ghoulish affair - especially those eyes, and that white-robed Phibes creeping around the cemetery is really sinister.
Paul WattsDr Phibes Rises Again poster on the inside back cover contains some nice ideas, but the soft focus doesn't do it justice. MarkMaddox’s back cover, however, is priceless.

Issue 29 kicks off with Frank Darabont reviewing The Abominable Dr Phibes in his article The Magic Window. Here, Darabont describes how the films we worshipped as kids just disappoint in our adulthood. Fascinating stuff, especially as the films he lists are exactly the same as mine. Of course, TADP is one that will never disappoint.

Of course Tim Burton offers a few words. After all he practically owes his career to Vincent Price. Here, he talks to film producer Constantine Nasr about Vinnie, director Robert Fuest, and his boyhood fantasy of having Vulnavia as his girlfriend.

The Kind of Fiend Who Wins: The Making of The Abominable Dr Phibes
Justin Humphreys has done an amazing job piecing together all of the elements that went about making Fuest’s cult film. The 29-page article explores the director’s cinematic style and his troubled relationship with the film’s producers, AIP; traces the history of the script through its the creators, James Whiton and William Goldtsein; and looks at the casting of Vincent Price and Joseph Cotton in their lead roles. It also reveals the secrets behind the makeup and costumes; and sheds light on how designer Brian Eatwell and cameraman Norman Warwick helped bring Fuest’s vision to life. There’s also some interesting nuggets about the film’s music and title, and how it was received on its release. Humphreys also provides an amusing aside against the errors you find on the Internet Movie Database.

Not Introducing Virginia North
David Taylor uncovers the real-life Vulnavia #1, Viriginia North, a model turned actress whose silent but seductive turn as Syphile in a controversial 1970 play Council of Love got her the role. North gave up acting in 1974 when she married Hanson CEO Gordon White, but was ‘severed too quickly from this life’ in 2004 after a two-year struggle with cancer. This is a touching tribute.

Abandoning the Obvious: The Brilliant Life and Art of Brian Eatwell

Justin Humphreys shines a light on the technical artist whose name may not be well-known but whose CV is enviable.  Humphrey’s piece is set to be expanded into a much larger piece, and I look forward to reading that.

A Date with Dr Phibes

Denis Meikle (author of Vincent Price: The Art of Fear) recalls the memorable day he spent 90 minutes on the set of TADP interviewing an in-costume Price. Reading this made me very jealous indeed.

The Unphilmed Phibes: From The Fingers of Dr Pibe to Somewhere Over the Rainbow

David Taylor and Sam Irvin have produced something phans have been trying to do for decades – a definitive timeline on the genesis of all those scripts and treatments linked to the proposed franchise, and brings the Phibes character right into the 21st-century with a look at how the character has been resurrected in books and comics. Thanks to Dave, Sam and all those people who helped in the research. Wonderful stuff.

David Del Valle, who needs no introduction, dishes the dirt on Vincent Price, Robert Quarry and Fiona Lewis in three witty columns. Reading these will only make you want to read more of his work, especially Lost Horizons - Beneath the Hollywood Sign and Six Reels Under.

The Sting’s in the Tale!

Writer and Hammer historian Bruce G Hallenbeck's 'The Making of Dr Phibes Rises Again' is a much shorter piece than the Humphreys piece, though not as indepth.

Valli Kemp – Vulnavia #2

LSoH's Richard Klemensen gets in a quick Q&A with Valli Kemp, who played Vulnavia in DPRA. Its short and sweet, but reveals nothing about Kemp’s work on the film. Pity.

Sidebar features
And finally, there's some short pieces to chew over. Longtime LSoH reader Lem Kitaj reveals his close links to some of characters in TADP; David Taylor tracks down Phibes' 1926 Rolls-Royce; Sam Irvin reveals how Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien got to become a Dr Phibes; Derek Botelho highlights the links between Phibes and the Saw films; Dennis Lynch looks at the collectable soundtracks, and Fred Olen Ray has an amusing piece about Robert Quarry’s fedora. There's also an odd one about a Phibes-inspired online book, but that looks a bit out of place. Personally, I would have preferred more pictures of the car (like the one I found here) or maybe more of those Italian motoring magazine ads featuring Virginia North. Still, this is one issue of Little Shoppe of Horrors that I'll be treasuring forever.

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