Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Abominable Dr Phibes | National Screen Service Press Campaign Booklet

To celebrate Arrow's forthcoming UK Blu-ray release of The Complete Dr Phibes, here's something from my collection: the original National Screen Services Press Campaign Booklet. Do feel free to download and share with your other Ph-ans!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Why you should join the Vincent Price Legacy Project

The Vincent Price Legacy Project has so much to offer for fans of the iconic actor, including three dedicated sites and a growing presence on social media including Facebook and Twitter, as well as Instagram and Pinterest, where it comes under the Master of Menace banner. And if you sign up to the newsletter, you get up to date information on upcoming events, products, promotions, competitions and other fun stuff. Do please take a look at them by clicking on the links and photos below.
This is your website for everything Vincent Price, including links to fan resources, a store with cool Vincent Price stuff, family and guest blogs, exclusive photos, books about Vincent, and great videos.

Features information about the 50th anniversary edition of the cookbook, A Treasury of Great Recipes, the new Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection, the Autumn 2014 Vincent Price wine dinners, as well as new recipes, stories about the cookbook, and Victoria Price's Road Trip Blog.
A new website where fans can meet one another, start discussions, and chat with one another, members of the Price family, and other guests! 


Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Complete Dr Phibes | Arrow's Blu-ray Artwork Unveiled

I'm so excited about Arrow Film's forthcoming UK Blu-ray release of The Complete Dr Phibes, that I thought I'd treat you with a look at the cover art.  Roll on 9 June...


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 15 | Lionheart is Immortal!


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 15 Following his humilation at 1970 Critics Circle Awards, Edward Lionheart gives an emotional recital of William Shakespeare's 'To be, or not to be' soliloquy from Act 3 Scene 1 of Hamlet, before throwing himself off the balcony of Peregrine Devlin's waterside apartment. Failing his attempt at suicide, Lionheart spends the next two years plotting his ultimate revenge...

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Happy Birthday Vincent Price!

Today, 27 May, marks the 103rd birthday of Vincent Price (1911-1993). What better way to celebrate than my reading his 1928 journal, My First Trip Abroad, which recently won Best Blog at the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, catching up with some old classics over on my YouTube channel, MrPrice07 or hooking up with other Price pals over on the Haunted Palace fan forum.

Whatever you do, make it a Vincent Price day, with a dash of Christopher Lee (who turns 92 today) and Peter Cushing (101 yesterday).

Enter now by clicking on the links below.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 14 | Lionheart as King Lear


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 14 While cradling his dead daughter Edwina (Diana Rigg) as his beloved theatre goes up in flames, Lionheart recites one of King Lear's most famous lines from Act V: Scene 3 of Shakespeare's tragedy.

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 13 | Lionheart as Titus Andronicus in This is Your Dish


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 13 Upset that Meredith Merridew (Robert Morley) was irresistibly reminded of a ham sandwich while watching his rendering of Titus Andronicus, Lionheart fed the old queen his pet poodles baked in two pies during a faux cookery show. Sure enough, Merridew just didn't have the stomach for it... 

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 12 | Lionheart as Butch in Henry VI, Part 1


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 12 Lionheart gives Chloe Moon (Coral Browne) some ash highlights as Butch in a hair-raising version of Henry VI Part 1 - the bit where Joan of Arc gets burnt at the stake - duckie!

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) | Roger Corman’s ghoulish Gothic horror starring Vincent Price swings again onto Blu-ray

‘…the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair’

This has been a great week for Vincent Price fans. Hot on the heels of the Arrow Video Blu-ray release of Theatre of Blood and ahead of The Complete Dr Phibes release on 9 June comes the Blu-ray release of The Pit and the Pendulum, director Roger Corman's 1961 follow-up to The Fall of the House of Usher.

The Greatest Terror Tale Ever Told!
16th-century Spanish nobleman Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price) is a haunted man: he fears his late wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) was prematurely interred and now stalks his gloomy seaside castle as a vengeful spirit. But he’s mistaken. Elizabeth is very much alive and is using a childhood trauma – Nicholas witnessed his mother being entombed alive by his inquisitor father as a child – to drive him insane. But her sick plan works only too well – Nicholas goes over the edge and becomes his own raving mad father, which puts the lives of Elizabeth’s brother Francis (John Kerr) and the rest Medina household in mortal peril…

Bring me my pendulum, kiddies!
Roger Corman’s second stab at Edgar Allan Poe, 1961’s Pit and the Pendulum, is a wilder, darker, more violent ride than the previous year’s The Fall of the House of Usher. Aiming to repeat that film’s success, Corman used the same team and stylistic design, even the same story. But he ended up crafting a Gothic masterpiece that’s definitely its own beast and another commercial success in his Poe/Price cycle of films.

Again Richard Matheson was called on to flesh out Poe’s original 1842 tale, which essentially was a monologue about the torments suffered by a prisoner at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. While not pure Poe (you have to watch the great extra on this release for that), the film certainly has a Poe-esque atmosphere about it: all dread and madness draped in mauve cobwebs and rococo furnishings.

Floyd Crosby captures this with some wildly fluid camerawork and rich colour cinematography, while Daniel Haller’s art direction comes to satanic fore in the scenes involving the titular rat-infested pit and blood stained pendulum (which was 18ft-long and weighed over a ton). Les Baxter’s minimal electronic score, meanwhile, lends the film a schizophrenic air – beginning with the film’s lurid liquid sky opening titles, which makes you think you are entering a terrifying acid trip.

While Crosby’s camera has full reign of Haller’s superb castle interiors, Vincent Price really lets loose with a performance that’s become as iconic as the film’s nightmarish set-pieces. Watching him go from morbidly depressed to murderously deranged while spewing Matheson’s fruity dialogue is a hoot. It’s also what made audiences want to come back year after year. If 1960's House of Usher officially launched Price's Master of Menace persona, Pit and the Pendulum most certainly crowned him the new king of Horror. This was what seeing ‘a Vincent Price’ movie was all about.

Price, whose first appearance in the film is ‘like a ghost in an amusement park funhouse’ according to Tim Lucas in his audio commentary, certainly outshines the likes of the stiff John Kerr (who later ditched acting to become a doctor), Luana Anders (who looks lovely, but that’s all) and Antony Carbone (who looks too much like Kerr to bother with), while Barbara Steele shows her mettle as the new horror queen with her sleek feline-like performance as Price’s scheming ‘dead’ wife. While some critics felt Price overdid it, director Corman thought his star was on the mark: ‘He was able to convey the intensity and the madness of the character, bringing it to its fullest extent without going over the top’.

[SPOILER'S AHEAD] The sequences which follow Price being lured down into the crypt to the grisly, heart-stopping finale (Steele gets locked up in an iron maiden, Kerr is almost cut in half by the razor-sharp pendulum, and Price tumbles into the pit) are the film’s visual highlights. And the final shots of Price glaring up out of the pit with his dead eyes open and Steele’s eyes peering helplessly from within the iron maiden have stayed with me for years. They also had a huge impact on other fans, including director John Landis, who said: 'It scared the shit out of me! The ending is amazing… I’ve deliberately never seen that movie again. Not so much because it scared me, but because I know it couldn’t possibly be that good, you know?'

On its original release, the film, which was made in just 15 days on a budget of US$300,000, earned close to US$2million and became a hit with both critics and audiences alike, with the plaudits ranging from ‘a physically stylish, imaginatively photographed horror film’ (Variety) to ‘a thoroughly creepy sequence of horrors’ (New Yorker) and - my favourite - 'Engagingly cornball insanity-in-the-castle hokum, with Vincent Price in fine eyeball-rolling, scenery-chomping form.' (Joe Dante, Castle of Frankenstein). Even American International Pictures chief, Sam Arkoff praised it, saying: ‘I thought it was really good – the best of the Poes’.

Arrow Video
's high definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation is transferred from original film elements by MGM, featuring original uncompressed PCM mono audio, optional isolated music and effects track and optional English SDH subtitles. According to the experts over at DVD Beaver, its a robust transfer with a much higher bitrate than the US Shout! Factory edition, smoother and superior, supporting an excellent 1080P image despite some frame-specific damage, while the replication of the original production audio has noticeable depth.

• In Roger Corman’s audio commentary (which is also on the Shout! Factory Blu-ray release), the maverick producer/director looks back at the making of the film, revealing the visual tricks he employed in his ‘Freudian-inspired’ horror. Who knew that doors represent the vagina and the dark corridors are an initiation into sexuality? You’ll certainly read the film differently after listening to this.
• The other audio commentary, by Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas (*), is packed with juicy nuggets (I always wondered why those castle matt shots ended up in The Monkees). And when it comes to the film’s technical minutia, Lucas really knows his stuff. Film buffs will lap this up.
Behind the Swinging Blade – This new documentary on the making of The Pit and the Pendulum features interviews with Roger Corman, Barbara Steele and Victoria Price, while director Brian Yunza, who is a big fan of the film, also pops up. (43-min)
• Added TV Sequence – Shot in 1968 for the longer TV cut, this scene features star Luana Anders and is set in an asylum. Its a real curio, but for the life of me, I couldn't work out where it would have been placed in the storyline. If you know, please enlighten me. (5-min)
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe – This terrific 1970 TV special, shot on video, gave Vincent Price the chance to do Poe unplugged, reciting The Tell-Tale Heart, The Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado and The Pit and the Pendulum as he always wanted to do. The transfer quality here is on par with the 2003 MGM DVD release. But did you know, the period costumes were all designed by Price's second wife, Mary? (53-min. With optional English SDH)
• Original Trailer
• Limited Edition SteelBook packaging featuring original artwork (SteelBook only)
• Reversible sleeve featuring artwork by Gilles Vranckx (Amaray release only)
• Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by author Jonathan Rigby, illustrated with original archive stills

(*) Tim Lucas is also co-author of The Man With The Kaleidoscope Eyes: an original screenplay about Roger Corman and the filming of The Trip, which Joe Dante is in line to direct.
Additional sources:
The Films of Roger Corman: Shooting My Way Out of Trouble, Alan Frank, 1998

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 11 | Lionheart as Iago in Othello


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 11 Lionheart diguises himself as a Scots masseur whose afternoon rub down with Maisie Psaltery (Diana Dors) at her Chelsea townhouse gets jealous husband Solomon (Jack Hawkins) so worked up he smothers his wife to death…

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 10 | Lionheart makes Devlin suffer for his art


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 10 Lionheart lets Peregrine Devlin (Ian Hendry) have it during his re-enactment of the Romeo and Juliet duel scene.

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Monday, 19 May 2014

Theatre of Blood (1973) | Vincent Price has reserved a seat for you as the cult black comedy makes its Blu-ray debut

With its worldwide Blu-ray debut coming out today (Monday 19 May), here's my retrospective look at the deliciously macabre 1973 cult classic and a full analysis of Arrow Video's fantastic release. 

In a role that was tailor-made for the actor, Vincent Price plays tormented tragedian Edward Lionheart who executes an ingenious plot to use the works of William Shakespeare to kill off London's leading theatre critics who had ridiculed his career. Three years after a failed suicide attempt, and with a group of meths-swilling vagrants acting as his chorus and his devoted daughter Edwina (Diana Rigg) as his leading lady, Lionheart opens his grisly new season devoted to the immortal Bard at the dilapidated Burbage Theatre. [SPOILER'S AHEAD]

George Maxwell (Michael Hordern) is butchered on the Ides of March in a re-enactment of the death of Julius Caesar; Hector Snipe (Dennis Price) is speared and his corpse dragged behind a horse, the fate of Hector at the hands of Achilles in Troilus and Cressida; and Horace Sprout (Arthur Lowe) has his head sawed off in a bizarre reworking of Cymbeline.

Theatre of Blood (1973)

Baffled, the police (Milo O’Shea and Eric Sykes) call on leading critic Peregrine Devlin (Ian Hendry) to help them in their investigation, but Lionheart’s show must go on. The Merchant of Venice’s Shylock gets his pound of flesh from Trevor Dickman (Harry Andrews); Richard the III drowns booze-hound Oliver Larding (Robert Coote) in a cask of Chambertin 1964, and Othello’s Iago coerces possessive Solomon Psaltery (Jack Hawkins) into smothering his wife (Dina Dors). While recreating the famous duel scene in Romeo and Juliet – on trampolines – Lionheart vents his rage on Devlin before revealing how he survived his suicide attempt. Meanwhile, the might of the entire London police force are unable to stop Lionheart as Ms Chloe Moon (Coral Browne) is electrocuted while having a shampoo and pedicure in a flamboyant restaging of Joan of Arc being burnt at the stake in Henry VI, Part 1, and effeminate glutton Meredith Merridew (Robert Morley) is force-fed his ‘babies’ (his pet poodles) a la Queen Tamora in Titus Andronicus.

Theatre of Blood (1973)

With just one critic and one play left in his repertoire, Lionheart kidnaps Devlin and, as King Lear did to the Earl of Gloucester, threatens to blind him with two red-hot daggers if he does not give him the coveted Best Actor award. But when the police arrive, Lionheart sets the theatre on fire and, in the confusion, his daughter Edwina is struck dead with the award. Carrying her body aloft, Lionheart gives one final monologue on the top of the theatre before taking his bows. To which Devlin wryly comments: ‘It was a remarkable performance, but he was madly overacting as usual, but you must admit he did know how to make an exit.’

Theatre of Blood (1973)


Theatre of Blood is arguably the magnum opus of actor Vincent Price’s film career and marked a fitting end to his Master of Menace persona, which had started out with 1953's House of Wax 20 years previously. It’s also a bone fide British cinema classic that holds its own thanks to a winning combination: brilliant one-of-a-kind supporting cast, first-rate production values, Anthony Greville-Bell’s literate script, which is an ingenious feat of dark comedy and pathos, Michael J Lewis’s glorious Elizabethean-inspired score, and the fabulous London locations, looking their summer best.

Theatre of Blood (1973)

But topping it all is Vincent Price’s tour-de-force performance. He’s certainly having gleeful fun appearing in a host of disguises: camp hairdresser, Scottish masseur, French chef, while picking off his victims, played by a bevy of respected British (and Australian) thespians, in ghoulish tongue-in-cheeck Grand Guignol fashion. But while giving full reign to his Master of Menace horror persona and playing up to his campy Uncle Vincent style of acting, Price – who called this his ‘favourite funny film’ – also lends great dignity to his demented Lionheart.

Theatre of Blood (1973)

The multiple guises also gave the 61-year-old the opportunity to show his own critics his extensive range, as well as the chance to perform his beloved Shakespeare, something he had been unable to do owing to his long-running film contract with American International Pictures. But while Price only gets to quote snippets from the Bard, he does so with aplomb – his ‘To Be or Not to Be’ projects real anger, while his King Lear speech is truly heartfelt.

Away from the screen, Price did get the chance to woo critics when he took to the stage in 1977 to play Oscar Wilde in John Gay’s Diversion & Delights. This one-man play would go on to perform in some 300 cities in the US, and a jaunt in Australia, over three years, thus giving Price the serious accolades he had longed sought after and so richly deserved.

 Theatre of Blood (1973)  

ABOUT THE ARROW BLU-RAY Arrow Films have done a fantastic job in bringing director Douglas Hickox’s cult black comedy to Blu-ray (and in a Blu-ray Steelbook) in the UK, beginning with a delightful menu that uses clips from the film and a section of Michael J Lewis’ melodic theme tune playing underneath. Arrow’s mastering of the MGM 1080P transfer is pristine with practically no grain. However, the audio in the feature (a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps) sounds slightly tinnie through my amp, and is particularly noticeable in the extras where clips from the film are used. There was also a glitch in the Harmony of Horror extra, which resulted in a delay in the release. Niggles aside, this is a great addition to my Vincent Price collection and your cult cinema library. And now for those wonderful extras…

• The audio commentary by The League of Gentlemen (aka Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson) is hugely entertaining. Their imitations of the film’s best lines had me in stitches and I got a real chuckle out of them mistaking actor/choreographer Tutte Lemkow for a woman. This so deserves to be a stand alone podcast.

A Priceless Pot-Boiler: Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria takes a personal look at how the film marked the end of her father’s 23-year marriage to her mother, Mary, and the beginning of her relationship with her ‘wicked’ stepmother, Coral Browne. Victoria also describes what a wonderful speaker of verse her dad was, who also taught her to speak in iambic pentameter as a young child.

A Fearful Thespian: Film historian David Del Valle (who interviewed Price as part of his Sinister Image series in 1987) discusses how the black comedy was the actor’s favourite film and why Price’s legacy lives on because he always gave 100% in his performances, even when he was 'over acting'.

Staged Reaction: Actress Madeline Smith (one of the few cast members still alive) recalls how there was ‘nothing romantic’ about the making of the film, given its short filming schedule, tight budget, it’s hard task master director and aging cast. She also reveals how her scenes as Ian Hendry’s love interest were cut (which now explains why her character is present in the film's climax).

A Harmony of Horror: The larger than life composer Michael J Lewis recounts how he created the score, then performs the main themes on a 1894 Bechstein piano that he had used to compose the music (although he goes off key playing Edwina’s Theme). And if you want to know why he’s wearing that pink satin shirt and cowboy hat, it’s because he’s a big devotee of Texas honky tonky. This one is certainly a coup in my books, as Lewis has also been one of my all-time favourite composers.

• UK theatrical trailer: Watching this unrestored, pan-and scan-trailer, just shows how good the HD transfer really is.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 9 | Lionheart's Romeo and Juliet duel scene


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 9 Disguising himself as a French fencing instructor, Lionheart reenacts the famous duel scene from Romeo and Juliet, and gives the vicious Peregrine Devlin (Ian Henry) a right good thrashing to boot!

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 8 | Lionheart as Richard, Duke of Gloucester


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 8 Lionheart wonders if theatre critic Oliver Larding (Richard Coote) will 'travel well' after drowning the drunken hog him in a barrel of Chambertin '64.

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Friday, 16 May 2014

Free Vincent Price Tote Bag Offer!

The official Vincent Price website is inviting you to join the 'family'. If you sign up before 27 May, you get a coupon for a free tote bag that you can use towards your purchase from a new range of collectibles, apparel and much more. Just click on the picture above to sign up now!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 7 | Lionheart as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 7 Only Edward Lionheart would have the temerity to rewrite Shakespeare, and he does so with aplomb playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, who ends up getting the pound of flesh owed to him from the womanising Trevor Dickman (Harry Andrews).

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Vincent Price's Haunted Palace Fan Forum Wants You!

The official Vincent Price website has announced the opening of a brand new Fan Forum where you can start your own discussion threads, and where members of the Price family and other horror aficionados will be joining in. You can check it out now at

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Theatre of Blood | Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 6 | Lionheart as Guiderius in Cymbeline


Critics Circle Awards Voting Card No 6 Prioring to doning scrubs to saw off old Sprouty's head in his 'hypo' re-staging of Shakespeare's Cymbeline, Edward Lionheart and his leading lady, Edwina, performed Guiderius and Arviragus' lament from Act IV, Scene 2.

Theatre of Blood is out now on Blu-ray in the UK from Arrow Video  Review my review (HERE)  

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards | My First Trip Abroad wins Best Blog 2013

The undying legacies of Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Price prevailed in the 12th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, announced May 12 after an online vote by fans and genre professionals worldwide.

Projects linked to Poe, Price or Roger Corman’s adaptations collected six Rondo awards in all, including Best DVD Collection, Best DVD Commentary, Best DVD Extra and Best Magazine Issue.  The trend carried over to a Poe radio podcast and even to a blog, devoted to Price’s 1928 trip to Europe, reproduced in the young actor’s hand-written journal, which won Best Blog 2013.

The Rondo Awards, named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, celebrate the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation. This year’s e-mail vote, conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, a 19-year old online community, drew nearly 3,400 ballots. The 35-category ballot is the largest survey of the classic horror genre held each year, and nominees and winners tilt decidedly toward horrors of the 1920s-60s.

For more on this year’s winners, check out the full press release [here]

A NOTE OF THANKS: I'm really chuffed that my blog, My First Trip Abroad, has won Best Blog 2013 at this year's Rondos and I would like to thank everyone of you who supported me in maintaining Vincent Price's legacy online. Now, do please pass on the link onto your friends and kin, so that they to can experience the ride back to 1928:

Peter Fuller

Monday, 12 May 2014

Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography | Out now as an E-book with a new preface

[Vincent Price] emerges as one of his most complex characters in this entertaining and touching biography.
—The New York Times
Definitive, exhaustively researched and superbly written, the book contains none of the sentimentality the subtitle may suggest . . . . Victoria Price tells Vincent’s tale with such clear-eyed pride that the reader cannot help being won over.
—Publishers Weekly
Did you know that Victoria Price’s intimate account of the life and career of her legendary father is now available as an E-book edition and includes a new preface by Victoria? Click on the links below for all the online vendors.

Meanwhile, pre-orders for a brand new print edition (out in early August) will begin June 2014. All pre-orders will be signed by Victoria and receive a pre-order gift package. To sign up, check out the official website.