Sunday, 31 August 2014

Triple Distilled Horror! We Belong Dead Issue 14 showcases three Vincent Price cult classics

Vincent Price fans will want to get their claws on the latest issue of We Belong Dead, the British fanzine celebrating the Classic Age of Horror & Fantasy film, as there are three articles dedicated to the cult favourites, Scream and Scream Again, Pit and the Pendulum and Cry of the Banshee, while the front and back covers feature specially commissioned art work from Paul Watts and Dave Brux of Scream and Pit.


In Synthetic Flesh, Secret Agents and Psychotic Killers… John Llewellyn Probert re-examines Gordon Hessler’s 1970 sci-fi-horror hybrid Scream and Scream Again, which he calls ‘a unique piece of classic British cinema', and was a big favourite of the legendary Fritz Lang. It's also one of mine.

Steve West re-enters Roger Corman’s Pit in Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition to delve into the enduring legacy of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 short story The Pit and the Pendulum, while also looking at the making of Corman’s 1961 adaptation, which I reviewed for this blog when the Arrow Blu-ray was released earlier this year (you can read it here).

And in The Cuts that Killed the Cry of the Banshee, yours truly looks back at Gordon Hessler’s 1970 British horror - which sounded the final wail for AIP’s Price/Poe film series, to explore the differences between the AIP US theatrical cut and the original UK edit. Do let me know what you think of it, by leaving a comment below.

The 100-page Issue 14 also has features on Jaws, The Birds, Dr X, Vampira, From Beyond the Grave and The Fog, Targets and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, as well as an interview with Hammer legend Veronica Carlson, and a retrospective look at her career (there’s also a signed photo on the inside jacket).

Available from Hemlock Books or The Cinema Store or direct from We Belong Dead. £6 plus shipping (£2 UK/£3 Europe/£4.50 Rest of World). Payable via paypal at

You can also follow We Belong Dead on Facebook 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

10 reasons why The Last Man on Earth still thrills 50 years on

The Last Man on Earth (1964)'Another day to live through… Is that all it has been since I inherited the world? Three years? Seems like a hundred million'


While the US got to see The Last Man on Earth first back in 1964, having premiered on 7 May 1964 (as double bill with Circus of Horrors), it wasn't until 19 August that it was released in Italy, where it was filmed, under the title L'ultimo uomo della terra. Folks in the UK, however, had to wait even longer, as the film didn't come out until December 1966. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, here’s 10 reasons why one of the most underrated sci-fi’s of the 1960s is worth a revisit.  

1) It was written by the legendary author Richard Matheson The film is based on the American writer’s first novel, I Am Legend, for which he got a $3000 advance from Gold Medal Books. Published in 1954, its paranoid post-apocalyptic scenario struck a chord with a Middle America in the grips of McCarthyism. The first modern vampire novel and this first film version also proved a huge influence on George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. It was later filmed as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston in 1971 and as I Am Legend starring Will Smith in 2007.

Last Man on Earth (1964)  

2) It could have been a Hammer film called The Night Creatures Following the success of The Quatermass Experiment (aka The Creeping Unknown) in 1955, Hammer Films paid Matheson $10,000 to adapt his novel for the British studio, with Val Guest lined up to direct. However, the British censors turned the script down fearing it would be too graphic. Hammer, however, kept the title rights and later used it for their 1962 period adventure Captain Clegg.

 Last Man on Earth (1964)  

3) B-movie producer Robert L Lippert brought it to the screen Lippert wanted to film Matheson’s script in 1959 under the title Naked Terror. But ended up securing a co-production deal with Produzioni La Regina in Rome for parent company 20th Century Fox who retitled it The Last Man on Earth. Like Hammer, Lippert ended up using his title for a 1961 documentary about Zulu tribal practices, narrated by… Vincent Price. Matheson, however, was upset by the rewrites and ended up taking his name off the credits and using a psedonym, Swanson. Lippert was also responsible for Hammer's 1954 noir thriller House Across the Lake (check out my review here).

Last Man on Earth (1964)

 4) It gave Vincent Price a long holiday in Rome At the end of his first contract with AIP (which had preventing him from undertaking any other horror roles), Price scored a three-picture back-to-back deal in Italy in 1961. So, while filming the swashbuckling pirate adventure Rage of the Buccaneers and the sword and sandals intrigue Queen of the Nile, he and wife Mary got a long stay in one of their favourite cities ‘digging around’ the ruins and art troves. The Last Man on Earth was filmed in January 1963 (according to Lucy Chase Williams in The Complete Films of Vincent Price).

 Last Man on Earth (1964)  

5) Price gives one of his most underrated performances As the soiled suited 50-year-old scientist Robert Morgan, Price might be light years away from the Matheson’s 30-something everyman factory worker hero (Robert Neville) in the novel, but he lends his shabby sophisticate a subtle sense of restrained dignity that emphasizes Morgan’s displacement in the film’s zombie vampire infested wasteland.

 Last Man on Earth (1964)  

6) It was shot in the dead of winter The film’s eerie post-apocalyptic look was achieved by the film’s cinematographer Franco Delli Colli shooting in the early hours and Vincent Price hated it. ‘I never was so cold in my life as I was in that picture. I had a driver, and I used to tip him a big sum to keep the car running so I could change my clothes in the backseat’, recalled the actor at the 1990 Fangoria Weekend of Horrors.

  Last Man on Earth (1964)  

7) It was filmed at the legendary Titanus Studios The film is supposed to be set in Los Angeles, but the landscape is unmistakably the outskirts of Rome. That’s because it was shot entirely on location and at the Titanus Studios. The 100-year-old family run studio established by Gustavo Lombardo is as much a part of world cinema history as the famed Cinecittà, and has been home to peplum and classics like Visconti’s The Leopard. Today it serves as a television production facility and was recently honoured at the Locarno Film Festival. There's even a museum dedicated the studio in Torino (check it out here).

The Last Man on Earth (1964)  

8) Vincent Price visits the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in the EUR district of Rome An icon of Fascist architecture, the Square Colosseum, as its known, was constructed in 1935 by Mussolini for his planned 1942 world exhibition, and was intended as a large scale image of how urban Italy might have looked had his fascist regime not fallen. The iconic building can also be seen in films like Federico Fellini’s Boccaccio 70 episode, Peter Greenaway’s Belly of an Architect, and the 2005 sci-fi Equilibrium. From 2015, it will serve as the new HQ for the fashion label Fendi.

The Last Man on Earth (1964)  

9) The Paul Sawtell soundtrack is pretty cool, too! The film is highly praised for its moody soundtrack, which is quite collectable now, and is by Paul Sawtell, who did heaps of 1950s sci-fi movies, including the two Fly movies starring Vincent Price, as well as the theme tune to TV’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which Vinnie once guest starred. Order it out (here).

Last Man on Earth (1964)  

10) It’s in the public domain… There are lots of bad prints streaming on YouTube and cropping up in many a DVD collection, but I've found the best looking one so far. There's even a colourised version available (but I prefer the original black and white). So? What are you waiting for?

Last Man on Earth (1964)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Monster Club (1981) | Vincent Price has a very special invitation for you… on Blu-ray

Three stories to shock you! Chill you! Thrill you! And make you laugh... From Amicus, the studio that dripped blood in the 1960s and 1970s with a slate of uniquely British horror fare, comes 1980’s The Monster Club - now in HD. Taking its cues from Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes’s 1975 short story collection (which is excellent btw), this horror-comedy anthology found veteran actor Vincent Price (playing a vampire for the first and only time in his film career) and an ailing John Carradine (paying a fictionalised Chetwynd-Hayes) musing over three tales of terror while enjoying the dubious delights of a naff member’s club for supernatural creatures. But it bombed! Author Chetwynd-Hayes was struck dumb by how badly his source material was rewritten, while the great Roy Ward Baker (who’d been pulled out of retirement) directed without his usual flair. It was his final feature film, and also that of Amicus supremo, Milton Subotsky.

With little to no fanfare in 1981, The Monster Club ended up on home video, where it took on a bit of a cult following. Looking at it again however the Shadmock and Humgoo stories are actually quite effective, but the club scenes (featuring the worst masks ever) and the comedic vampire story are still pants. Vincent Price (who shot his scenes between 15 and 19 May 1980) is a real trooper throughout - and his impassioned soliloquy for allowing humans into the club (because they are the real monsters) is a highlight.

Network Distributing's UK Blu-ray restoration release comes from ITV Global and is a sparkly fresh delight (it also shows up just how bad those masks are). The special features includes the film with isolated music score – where you get to hear all of the songs featured (Barbara Kellerman and Simon Ward having breakfast while listening to a punk vampire song on the radio is hilarious), plus Douglas Gamley’s lyrical instrumental music and Alan Hawkshaw’s stirring synth score; two theatrical trailers (one textless); textless film elements, comprising the opening scene of the bookshop without sound, and the John Bolton/Dez Skinn colour promo poster (see below); promo, featuring the best bits on Blu-ray accompanied by The Viewers’ theme tune; and an image gallery, featuring UK and Spanish lobby cards, as well as lots of pictures you may not have seen before – all courtesy of Stephen Jones.

What is missing are the extras you get on the US Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing (October 2013), which included George Reis’ detailed production history liner notes, and two interviews with Vincent Price conducted by film historian David Del Valle (I was looking forward to those). But considering I’ve only ever had the film on DVD in French before – it came with an issue of Mad Movies – I’m not complaining. Still, a pdf of the collectable promotion comic would have been a real treat.

 Check out Vincent's friendly vamp Erasmus discussing the rules of monsterdom in this clip:

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

House of the Long Shadows (1983) | Michael Armstrong’s screen play gets a first-time special edition release

For the first time ever, comes Michael Armstrong’s complete screen play for the 1983 black comedy horror House of the Long Shadows, which famously brought legendary horror icons Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine together under one gleefully ghoulish roof.

Presented in black hardback in its original format, this special edition will be one title of an entire collection of over 40 screen plays that Michael Armstrong plans to release. The numbered limited edition release, which includes the original text plus foreword and biography, comes individually signed by Armstrong.

House of the Long Shadows is now available to purchase at the London Repertory Company website, with all proceeds received going straight towards the LRC:

Michael Armstrong will also be a special guest at the Camden Film Fair on Saturday 16th August 2014, at The Electric Ballroom, Camden NW1, where he will be available for photographs and signing (including copies of the limited edition release). 

For more information about Michael’s Collector Edition Screen Plays, check out his official website:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Join an exclusive dinner in honour of Vincent Price and the James Beard Foundation in New York this October

The Vincent Price Family Legacy has just announced the first of a series of exciting events that fans won’t want to miss out on. On October 30 2014, Chef Francesco Palmieri of the Orange Squirrel Restaurant and Victoria Price (Vincent’s daughter) will be hosting a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City to benefit the James Beard Foundation. It will be a meal featuring recipes from the Vincent and Mary Price cookbook, A Treasury of Great Recipes, paired with wines from the all-new Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection. 

Seating is limited, so if you are interested in attending, sign up today through this link:

The full dinner and wine menu is listed on the site.

And if you can’t make it to New York on October 30, don’t fret as other Vincent Price wine dinners will be popping up in other US cities soon, and hopefuly London in the UK next year. If you know of a restaurant or organisation in your city that would like to host a wine dinner, please send your suggestions as soon as possible. Just leave a comment here or email the Vincent Price Family Legacy directly at


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Listen to Vincent Price on Desert Island Discs in 1969

Vincent Price was the guest on BBC Radio 4's legendary Desert Island Discs series on Monday 14 July 1969. Here's a short 4.34sec clip (click here to listen and download) in which Vincent talks to Roy Plomley about his love of art.