________Lost Souls_______
The Abominable Mr Price

'Scream, scream for your lives!'  Vincent Price, The Tingler.
The gravel-voiced king of the American gothic horror, Vincent Price, starred in many films in his long career, and not all of them horror.  Who could forget the gothic classic Dragonwyck?
     Price however specialised in playing tortured souls or scheming madmen.  Equally at home portraying Edgar Allan Poe characters as he was playing camp black comedy horror, such as The Abominable Dr Phibes and Theatre of Blood.
     Also starred in gimmick-film showman William Castle's The House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler.
     Outside of the cinema, Price was a keen cook and wrote cookbooks, and also was a connoisseur of art.
The film that made his early impact in horror was one of the early 3D pictures, House of Wax, playing wax sculptor Henry Jarod, in 1953.
     The Fly followed in 1958 and the aforementioned House on Haunted Hill the same year.  Then Price went on to make his second film with William Castle, The Tingler in 1959.
     Then came Price's trump card, starring in director Roger Corman's numerous Poe adaptations, beginning with The Fall of the House of Usher.  This was followed, starring alongside Barbara Steele, in The Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror (a compendium of no less than three Poe tales!) and also featuring Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff, The Raven, also with Lorre and Karloff, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia.
     In later years, Price would lend his extraordinary macabre talents to British horror films, towards the end of the 60s and the early 70s.  The first as the sadistic witch hunter Mathew Hopkins in Witchfinder General, one of his finest performances!  The grisly Scream and Scream Again, with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and then of course the wonderfully camp, over the top performance in the two Phibes' films and Theatre of Blood.  No deaths came more grisly or more humorous (in equal measures) than in these two revenge films.
     The Monster Club, however, in 1980 was maybe not a great choice for the actor.
     In 1983 Price teamed up once again with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and also that other veteran of American horror, John Carradine, for the disappointing but fun, House of Long Shadows.
     He found a whole new audience in the mid 80s when he featured on the Michael Jackson hit, Thriller, narrating over a section of the song which of course also featured on the John Landis video that accompanied its release, in which Jacko turns into a werewolf!
     Yet more disappointment came with Bloodbath at the House of Death, a not-that-funny comic spoof of horror movies starring with British comedian, Kenny Everett, and Pamela Stephenson.
     He did however have more memorable appearances in The Great Mouse Detective and The Whales of August.
     His final film performance was in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, albeit briefly, in which he plays the scientist who created him, a kind of Frankenstein.
     Vincent Price was the first, last and only actor to truly make you shudder merely by speaking.  Just a few words uttered from his lips could send that tingle down your spine (or was it the Tingler curling around your backbone?)


Until now the only decent book about Price was The Films of Vincent Price by Lucy Chase Williams, published by Citadel in 1995.  Now you can savour the ghoulish delights of this master of terror in a new book, Vincent Price: The Art of Fear by Denis Meikle, published by Reynolds & Hearn.

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