Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Vincent Price London Legacy Tour nominated for Best Fan Event at the annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

I’m very excited to announce that the VINCENT PRICE LONDON LEGACY TOUR which I organised last November with the help of Victoria Price, has been nominated as BEST FAN EVENT of 2015 for this year’s 14th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, which honours the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation. It’s up against some truly exciting competition, so we’re counting on your vote.

Just e-mail: taraco@aol.com with VINCENT PRICE LONDON LEGACY TOUR FOR BEST FAN EVENT in both the subject and message line, and please do remember to include your name. Send your email by no later than 10 April 2016.

Now, there’s a host of other fantastic people up for various awards in this year’s competition, so if you want to include them, check out the full ballot CLICK HERE

Remember, you don’t have to vote for every category, just the ones that you are interested in.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Shock (1946) | The classic Vincent Price suspense thriller turns 70

It was on the 1st February 1946 that the psychological thriller SHOCK, starring Vincent Price, got its US release following its premiere on 10 January 1946?

This film noir tells the story of psychiatrist Dr Cross (Vincent Price), who is treating Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw), a young woman who is in a catatonic state. The coma was brought on when she heard loud arguing, went to her window, and saw a man strike his wife with a candlestick and kill her…

To celebrate the film's 70th anniversary, here's the whole film to watch now. 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Vincent Price Movie of the Week | House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Its was on 17 February 1959 that William Castle unleashed his gimmick-laden chiller House on Haunted Hill. To celebrate it turning 57, here's the colourisation version in full.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Vincent Price's vintage shaggy dog tale The Book of Joe gets a 2016 reprint

Now here is just another reason why we all love Vincent Price. He loved animals, especially the four-legged variety. In 1961, he published The Book of Joe: About a Dog and his Man.

'This is a tale of how I went to the dogs or, to be numerically correct, to the dog. Now please do not expect this book to end with a glorious proclamation of rehabilitation. Not a chance. After fourteen years I’m incurably hooked on, intoxicated by, and addicted to - my dog Joe.'

Reading this shaggy dog tale/autobiography, which is beautifully illustrated by NBC courtroom artist Leo Hershfield (check them out below), you can hear Vincent's iconic voice on every page as he talks passionate about Joe and all the other pets he owned at the time.

Now this book is quiet the rarity, however a reprint is coming this year (due out at the end of April). It will also feature a new introduction from Victoria Price and is available to pre-order (and signed by Victoria) by following this link: http://www.vincentprice.com/collections/all/products/a-signed-copy-of-the-2016-the-book-of-joe-by-vincent-price-1

For more about the book: check it out here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6063533-the-book-of-joe 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Leonard Slatkin’s symphonic take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven with Vincent Price | A reflection by Lawrence French

On 29 January 1845, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven was first published in the New York Evening Mirror, which led to him becoming a household name. And it was in 1963 that Vincent Price teamed up with Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre for Roger Corman's comedy horror take on Poe's poem, which got its US debut on 25 January. Well, here's something I received from film writer Lawrence French that I'd like to share with you all. It's his personal reminiscences on Vincent's contribution to a musical composition based on Poe's classic with the legendary conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Credit: Donald Dietz
The Raven: A Reflection by Lawrence French
Perhaps one of Vincent Price’s least know endeavors, may have been performing the narration for a symphonic composition entitled The Raven, that composer Leonard Slatkin wrote for Mr Price in 1971. When I interviewed Price in April 1985, he had just given his penultimate performance of the piece in San Jose, California (on April 12, 1985) and I asked him how he first became involved as the narrator...

The Raven is a marvellous piece of music that was written especially for me by Leonard Slatkin,’ explained Price, ‘and it has been set to Poe’s poetry. In all, I read five of Poe’s poems: The Sleeper, The Bells, Romance, The Coliseum and The Raven. Leonard wrote it when he was the assistant conductor of the St Louis Symphony and since that time he’s become one of the country’s most distinguished conductors. He called me up and asked me if I’d like to do it and since I’m a native of St Louis and I love the works of Edgar Allan Poe, naturally I was quite delighted. We premiered it in St Louis, on May 2, 1971. Since then I’ve taken it all over the country and read it with different orchestras, both professional and student, and I always have a wonderful time doing it. Last week I had a marvellous time doing it with George Cleve and the San Jose Symphony.’

Sadly, no recording of Vincent Price reciting the narration was apparently ever made, and through Price performed it with 20 or so different orchestras over a fifteen year period, he always seemed to take it to smaller cities, and consequently it never got a lot of publicity or became very widely known.

Ironically, as Leonard Slatkin explained to The Baltimore Gazette’s Chris Slattery in 2008, Vincent Price’s movie version of The Raven was Mr Slatkin’s own initial inspiration for composing the score. After Slatkin’s father died in 1963, some friends suggested they all go to the movies to cheer him up. The film they saw was Roger Corman’s 1963 version of The Raven, starring whom else, but Vincent Price, along with Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff.

Slatkin recalled, ‘My friends thought I should get out of the house, and seeing that movie did help get me out of the depressed time I was going through.’ Indeed, after seeing The Raven, Slatkin became fascinated by Poe’s writings that led to his composing The Raven. ‘Poe’s use of language was so exquisite,’ noted Slatkin. ‘The beauty and the melancholy of it, and his rhyme scheme is so melodic. Poe himself seems to speak in a musical language. He uses words to delineate a sound, whether it’s for worms or for birds. For the most part, I wanted to underpin the text and not get in the way of it. So I chose five of Poe’s poems and set each one of them into different musical guises. In each of the poems, one can find a multitude of images that lend themselves to various musical treatments.’

Of course, who better to serve as narrator for a musical composition based on the poetry of Poe, than Vincent Price, who had beautiful declaimed snatches of Poe’s poems in his many Poe movies of the 1960s, including The Raven, The Haunted Palace, War-Gods of the Deep (aka City Under the Sea), Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm) and Spirits of the Dead. Mr Slatkin remembered Price’s performance in The Raven and asked him to come narrate his composition in St Louis, although Mr Price’s busy schedule only allowed for an average of one or two performances a year.

‘Leonard’s version of The Raven is really a divertissement of Poe's poetry,’ enthused Mr Price, ‘and all of it is woven in with his marvelous music. It starts out with "Once Upon a Midnight Dreary" that serves as the wrap-around for the five Poe poems I read. We then segue into The Sleeper, where a bassoon is used to portray a necrophiliac’s desire for his dead lover. This is followed by The Bells, which Leonard has written as if the percussion section is losing their minds. In fact, sometimes the students acted the same way. They have gone out and brought in pipes and chains and everything else they could find, to the point where nobody could hear me as the narrator. Obviously, we had to cut a lot of that out, but it’s always a fun piece to do. Next I read Romance, which has a dreamlike quality about it, and Leonard uses only the string section of the orchestra, which is rather appropriate, as the poem ends with these lines:  

That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things—
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.

For The Coliseum we only use the brass instruments, to evoke a setting of ancient Rome. Then we come to the climax with a full reading of The Raven, where the entire orchestra is represented by a single instrument from each section. It's really quite a fun piece for orchestras to do, and I especially enjoy working with the student orchestras. With professionals there is often a sort of ‘toss it away’ quality, where they say, ‘show me,’ but with the students it’s not like that at all. They are always very excited by their work.’

In 2008 Leonard Slatkin revived The Raven for a special performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday. ‘It’s a long piece, but it’s also intimate,’ says Slatkin, ‘with different sections of the orchestra used for each poem, until for the finale of The Raven all the sections come together with the whole orchestra.’

Of course, Vincent Price could not be in Baltimore for Poe’s 200th birthday, so John Astin took over his role as the narrator, but Price had narrated the piece in Baltimore in 1980.
Rather fittingly, Mr Price’s final performance of The Raven was done at his Alma mater, Yale University, with the Yale Symphony Orchestra, on April 20, 1985 in New Haven, Conan. Interestingly enough, when Price attended Yale, he had sung with the Glee Club, way back in 1932.

Vincent Price's performances of Leonard Slatkin’s The Raven.
St. Louis, MS (May 2 1971)
Lima, Ohio (1974)
Denver CO (1974)
Oklahoma City, OK (1975)
Rockford, IL (1977)
Shreveport, LO (1977)
Jackson, MI (1977)
South Bend, IN (1977)
Baltimore, MD (1980)
Winnipeg, Canada (1980)
Enid, OK (1982)
Lawton, OK (1982)
Harrisburg, PA (1983)
Waco, TX (1983)
Palm Springs, CA (1984)
Seattle, WA (1984)
San Jose, CA (1985)
New Haven, CT (April 20, 1985)

Friday, 5 February 2016

Saarbrücken to host a Vincent Price Film Festival this September

Here's the flyer for a fab VP festival happening in Germany in September, with Victoria Price as guest of honour. Films to be screened (in German and English) will be Shock (1946), The Whales of August (1987), Tower of London (1962), An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1972), and the underrated Baron of Arizona (1950). Tickets are 35 Euros for the two-days, or 25 Euros for Saturday, and 15 Euros for Sunday.

Now, I'd never heard of Saarbrücken before, but for a weekend getaway, this tiny town on the French border looks just the ticket. You can reach it by air, but it also has transport links from Frankfurt and Paris (by train), and Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Metz and Nancy (by bus).

Check out the Facebook Event page for up-to-date information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1672311319676758/

Thursday, 4 February 2016

When Vincent Price posed for Famous Monsters of Filmland

Here's a terrific shot I found while flipping through some of my back issues of Famous Monsters of Fimland. This was obviously shot during the Corman/Poe period, but I must admit I have never seen those portraits before. Could they have been for The Haunted Palace or Dr Goldfoot or some other film altogether. What do you think?