Greatest Films of Vincent Price
With Halloween quickly approaching this seems just as good a time as any to remember one of the greatest figures in the history of horror. With his trademark voice and overwhelming screen presence Vincent Price left an indelible mark on horror and filmdom in general. While many of the greatest icons of horror have remained relegated to being beloved by devoted horror fans, Vincent Price successfully crossed over into mainstream entertainment and endeared himself to fans and non-fans alike. In a sense Price became an ambassador for horror movies. Not only did the actor accomplish a great amount of success onscreen, he was renowned for his love of; cooking, art, and antiquities. Despite all that he accomplished in his storied life, Price was always well known for his generosity. In honor of one of horror’s finest, here is the list of the greatest films of the Merchant of Menace himself, Vincent Price.
The House on Haunted Hill: This was not the only collaboration between Vincent Price and filmmaker William Castle, but it is the most memorable. Forgoing the standard old and dilapidated structures that usually serve as the setting, this movie takes place in a sleek and modernistic house haunted by the hatred between Price’s eccentric millionaire and his wife with frightened party goers trapped in the middle. And I’m sure by this point there is not a horror fan alive who does not remember the climax of this film.
House of Wax: The 3D extravaganza which made a star out of the Merchant of Menace. A reclusive wax sculptor opens a new museum to display the finest wax figures around, but as one woman discovers, there is a good reason why the artist’s latest works appear so life-like. Even in 2D House of Wax is incredibly entertaining.
Madhouse: A troubled former horror actor tries to revive his career by portraying his most famous character, Dr. Death for British television. But the scandalous past he is trying to escape continues to haunt him, almost as if someone were behind it. Through stock footage Price shares the screen with fellow horror legends Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff as well as starring alongside Peter Cushing.
Theatre of Blood: Possibly Vincent Price’s most underrated film. Much like his fellow icon Boris Karloff in Targets there is an element of the actor himself in the role he plays. Fans see Price play a classically trained actor who is tragically never given the credit he deserves for his amazing work, which drives him to his death. Many years later those who did not see fit to give the actor his due start turning up dead in grand and Shakespearean ways leading many to wonder if he’s not as dead as expected. Much like his character in this film, many have wondered if Price ever felt a sense of resentment due to his performances often being snubbed due to the genre in which he performed.
The Masque of the Red Death: One of the things that made Price a household name was his work with the great Roger Corman in (very) loosely adapting the works of Edgar Allen Poe onto film. The Masque of the Red Death particularly stands out from this franchise because of its stunning visual beauty. Corman’s work with colors and architecture was perfectly complimented by Price’s delightfully villainous performance.
The Abominable Doctor Phibes: One of Vincent Price’s most famous roles, he once again portrays a forgotten genius seeking revenge. As the disfigured Doctor Phibes, he leaves a trail of victims each killed in ways which mirror the Biblical 10 Plagues. Remembered not only for Price’s unforgettable character but also for its visuals and twisted sense of humor.
The Last Man on Earth: While the first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel I am Legend, has its fair share of critics, few if any can deny that Vincent Price’s did not pour every ounce of talent he had into the role. As the world around him crumbles a scientist must struggle to survive a nightly onslaught of the vampiric undead most physically as well as emotionally and mentally. Price does not shy away from displaying the vast array of emotion that one would expect from someone in his position and he successfully does so without being silly in his grandness.