Friday, 20 December 2013

Vincent Price's letter to Theatre of Blood make-up artist George Blackler on display at the BFI Southbank

As part of the BFI's Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film season, there's an accompanying exhibition on display in the BFI Southbank mezzanine, which runs until Sunday 19 January 2014.

H for Horrific, charts how Britain exported horror to the world, from the early milestones set by James Whale and Boris Karloff to the runaway success of Hammer. Original scripts, contracts and designs are on display alongside iconic posters and costumes from the period, including Christopher Lee’s Dracula suit and cloak.

Case No 3 features items from 1973's Theatre of Blood. Among these are the poster and original pressbook; a letter from Vincent Price to veteran British makeup artist George Blackler thanking him for his work on the film; a receipt for haemoglobin (powdered blood) - a lot of which was used in the course of the gory comedy horror; colour charts for the make-up scheme, which range from 'Secret Pink' to 'Red Riding Hood'; and test shots of the colour charts, which were used to check for their vibrancy. 

Blackler (1912-1986) also worked with Price on Roger Corman's Tomb of Ligeia in 1964 (which Price mentions in his note) and would later create Vinnie's Dr Death makeup for Madhouse in 1974.

Imagine my excitement coming across these unique items, especially Price's warm, witty and very personal letter. You can find them upstairs above the BFI ticket counter until 19 January 2014.

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