Vincent Price is my favorite actor, and to honor his birthday, I’ve decided to tell you about a few of his movies that I find exceptional.
The simplicity of The Bat (1959) makes it strong. Even the one effect is stupendous; really, I’m not making fun of it. I wonder if they tried to get a real bat to fly around the room, and when it didn’t land on Lenita Lane like they wanted, they decided to use a rubber bat on not so invisible strings. Or, more probable, Lenita said she wouldn’t have any part of a real bat anywhere near her, Agnes, too, so they went with the Lo-Fi effect, either way, I think it’s charming.
The Bat stars Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead, who I love seeing outside of Bewitched. I find it interesting that Price is billed first though his role isn’t as large as Moorehead’s; gotta love 1950s Hollywood, I bet he was paid a ton more than her too, and I’m sure it’s not much different now. The costuming for “The Bat” character is cool, and I see how it has influenced other characters throughout the years. I love B-Movies, and this is an exceptional one to watch on a rainy day, snuggle up on the couch and be ready for the shock and awe.
Yes, I have a thing for American International Pictures and their productions. Madhouse (1974) is one of my favorites. Vincent Price plays a successful horror star, Paul Toombes, who learns at their engagement party that his fiancé used to be an Adult film star. He gets pissed, says nasty things to her, and she runs off to her room. That’s all I’m gonna say, you have to see this gem to know what happens next.
The cheese level is 1000%, the eerie music is awesome, and the screams are superb. This film is based on the book Devilday by Angus Hall, which is on my to read list. The creepiness of this film is wonderful and shows clips from previous Vincent Price movies, but they are accredited in the script as Dr. Death roles. The suspense is above average, making me wonder who is doing the killing until it is revealed near the end. The ending is classic. You must see this one.
Tower of London (1962) is a classic Vincent Price film, and while it’s not American International Pictures Roger Corman produced it. The movie is a period piece about the rise and fall of King Richard III with a length of a whopping 79 minutes. It’s a pity the film isn’t in color to show off the elaborate costumes and sets. The effects consist of ghosts of people with transparent bodies and sometimes they have solid heads, very cool if you ask me. The other is a strange windblown effect that didn’t really make sense, but we can’t have it all.
Vincent gives his best melodramatic performance as the ghosts taunt him. His strange quirks are always fun to watch, no matter the roll. While this film isn’t lengthy, at times, it fells like it drags on, but more editing would turn it into a short.
The final Vincent Price movie I want to tell you about today is The Oblong Box (1969). It’s another American International Pictures production, starring Vincent Price. This is also a Poe story, which has always been an unnerving tale. The bizarre and dark tone of the film is intriguing and fun, playing on Price’s strengths.
The twists and turns are amazing, so if you’ve never seen this movie you are in for a treat. As is standard with AIP, they reuse their sets, and you’ll find pieces from many other movies laying around; at least they kept the set clean of things that didn’t belong there.
All Vincent Price movies are worth watching at least once in your life. There are so many to chose from, and not all of them are Horror/Thriller. Click here to find some of the others I’ve talked about. For complete list of his films, check out his page on IMDb.