Thursday, May 28, 2020

10 Off My Head: My Man Vincent

The main thing I was trying to get done yesterday but just couldn't thanks to the previously declared brain damage was a celebration of the birthday of my favorite actor, personality, and person of all time -- that would be Vincent Price. Every year I hold a celebratory dinner on the anniversary of Vincent's death in October (consisting of dishes cooked from his magnificent cookbook A Treasury of Great Recipes, which I highly recommend every human being own at least one copy of) -- it's perfect timing, right before Halloween, given his career's delectably ghoulish associations. (Here is a picture from last year's!) His birthday on May 27th is a little less opportune, especially since he shares that birthday with The Wicker Man star Christopher Lee...

... and a Spring-time May-Day-ish feast in honor of that film and performance always feels more apt. (Not that I've ever done it... but one day!) Anyway I did nevertheless realize yesterday, amid my woes, that I've never done a list of my favorite Vincent Price films. Which is crazy. And then I realized five minutes later that I've never done one because there are very few Vincent Price movies I haven't adored. How do I possibly choose? Even in stinkers he's always a delight. Sometimes especially in stinkers! Point being I upped this list to 10 but you should consider everything else a runner-up. Everything!

10 of My Favorite Vicnent Price Movies

Matthew Hopkins, The Witchfinder General (1968)
"Men sometimes have strange motives
for the things they do."
The Inventor, Edward Scissorhands (1990)
"May lump sugar be taken with the fingers?"
Dr. Phibes, The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
"Eight have died, soon to be nine!
 Nine eternities in doom!"
Russell Quinton, Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
"I always will be in love with you. Remember that."
Prince Prospero, The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
"Do you know how a falcon is trained, my dear? Her eyes are sewn shut. Blinded temporarily, she suffers the whims of her God patiently, until her will is submerged and she learns to serve - as your God taught and blinded you with crosses."
Shelby Carpenter, Laura (1944)
"I don't know a lot about anything, but
I know a little about practically everything."
Charles Dexter Ward, The Haunted Palace (1963)
"You do not know the extent of my appetite, Simon. I'll not have my fill of revenge until this village is a graveyard. Until they have felt, as I did, the kiss of fire on their soft bare flesh. All of them. Have patience my friends. Surely, after all these years, I'm entitled to a few small amusements."
Dr. Robert Morgan, The Last Man on Earth (1964)
"You're freaks, all of you! 
All of you, freaks, mutations!"
Prof. Henry Jarrod, House of Wax (1953)
"Foul deeds will rise though all the
 earth o'erhelm them, to men's eyes."
Dr. Erasmus Craven, The Raven (1963)
"Shut your beak!"

What are your favorite Vincent Price films?


FDot said...

I’ve always enjoyed Champagne for Caesar. It reminds me how great he was working in any genre, especially comedy.
The Whales of August is up there too, but more for the entirety of the cast than just Vincent.

Anonymous said...

Theater of Blood / Paul Mac

Pierce said...

Laura was the first play I was ever in, so I have a soft spot for the movie. I love House of Wax as well, and I just got the Original Cast album for Darling of the Day, which he did on Broadway in 1968.

Dave R said...

You got it with Laura.

Json said...

I remember watching Masque of the Red Death on TV when I was probably too young. I found it so disturbing I've never been able to watch it again.

joel65913 said...

Such a unique performer as well as person. I agree he makes any film he’s in better and rescues many of those that are clunkers outside of him.

A top ten is tough since he was so memorable but here goes, these are based on his performance not necessarily the films:

1. Theatre of Blood
2. His Kind of Woman
3. Dragonwyck
4. The Web
5. Laura
6. Edward Scissorhands
7. House of Wax
8. The Baron of Arizona
9. The Mad Magician
10. Master of the World

One of my new quarantine hobbies is that every day I watch a new film with a performer I like whose birthday it is, some days are a snap and some tough but so far I haven’t missed a day. So yesterday I watched Vincent’s Confessions of an Opium Eater. I liked it, it was odd-hardly unusual for him-but intriguing mostly.

Today would have been Carroll Baker but I’ve seen all her Hollywood films and just wasn’t up for an Italian giallo so I found an obscure Martha Vickers movie.

Frank said...

Laura and Dr. Phibes (both) Are favorite films of mine. I get a kick out of seeing the young Price as a gigolo. And in Phibes, Price can only use his eyes and voice to convey emotion and he’s great.

Anonymous said...

I would put a in a vote for either Phibes movie or Theatre of Blood. Even in movies I didn't enjoy, he was always a bright spot (How did Jacques Tourneur go from Cat People to War-Gods of the Deep?). If you haven't heard his LPs of spooky ghost stories and black magic you are missing a treat, A Hornbook for Witches is my favourite. Most of them are on Youtube and mp3 rips are available in more suspect parts of the internet.

ferretrick said...

I love his performance in The Ten Commandments. He's one of the few in the cast who seems to know what film he's in, that the script is TERRIBLE, and just embraces every campy overwritten word (certainly that master thespian Charlton Heston doesn't).

ernesto66 said...

As much as I love his campiest performances I love him best in one of the segments he did on Night Gallery - "Class of 99". Completely straightfaced, no smirking or winks to the audience, he totally sells his professor presiding over the youth and future of the world. Without any of his usual tics, even as the proceedings get weirder and weirder, it's all the more chilling when you find out what he's really been doing.

MTMSLG said...

Love all your picks, but have you seen "The Baron of Arizona?"