Saturday, September 29, 2018
The Vincent Price Tag
Recently my good friend Derek Koch of the Monster Kid Radio podcast applied the "Vincent Price Tag" on me. Apparently the "Vincent Price Tag" has been going around YouTube for awhile--it is a series of questions concerning the legendary actor, and various podcasts have been "tagging" others to take up the challenge of responding with their own answers to the queries. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be asked to participate, so without further ado.....
1. What is your favorite Vincent Price horror film?
Without question, THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES. It's my all time favorite Vincent Price performance. The entire movie is a magnificent summation of Price's entire horror film persona--and it is also so quirky and unique it can't be compared with anything else. Dr. Phibes is a truly flamboyant and grandiose character--he literally is larger than life (and death)--yet many forget how subtle Price is in the role. There's been rumors going around for some time about a remake, maybe involving Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. To me that would be more horrid than any of Phibes' murders--there's no way any actor could match the brilliance in Price's portrayal. For me, Anton Phibes is Vincent Price's signature role.
2. What is your favorite Vincent Price non-horror film?
I'm going to pick DRAGONWYCK. I don't consider that a horror film (there's some film buffs that do). It does have some Poe-like elements, but I classify it as a Gothic romantic melodrama. Price plays Nicholas Van Ryn, an 1840s New York aristocrat. At first the handsome, cultured and articulate Van Ryn overwhelms and charms his distant naive country cousin played by Gene Tierney, but the woman soon finds that her storybook romance has some rather dark passages to it. Price is perfect as Van Ryn, and the role served as a harbinger for all the erudite villains he would play throughout the rest of his screen career.
3. Who would win in a fight between Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee?
A fight between the three titans of terror never happened on-screen--even though there were two opportunities in which it could have happened: SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN and HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS. The trio appeared in both of those films, yet neither movie took proper advantage of the fact. If they had faced off against one another, who do I think would have won? That's a hard one to contemplate. Price and Lee were much taller than Cushing, but Cushing did fight various monsters in hand-to-hand combat...in my mind I could see the three of them facing off in a triple gunfight, much like the one in the climax of THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. But who could rightly pick the winner in such a scenario? If I have to come up with an answer, it would be that they'd wipe each other out--but the audience would sure win.
4. What was the better Vincent Price contribution to a musical album--his work on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or his participation on Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare"?
I would have to say "Thriller", since it had more of a worldwide impact. Alice Cooper was huge in the mid-70s, and I'm sure my late friend Bill Andert would want me to pick the Nightmare album....but the "Thriller" song still gets played regularly on Eighties radio stations today.
5. If you could replace one actor in any horror film with Vincent Price, which role would you choose?
There's so many ways one could go with this. I'm going to choose the character that Paul Muller played in the Barbara Steele film NIGHTMARE CASTLE. This movie is an Italian Gothic, and that particular genre was heavily influenced by the Vincent Price/Roger Corman/AIP Poe series. It would have been fantastic to see Price star in a true Italian Gothic thriller, especially this one, as it would reunite him with Barbara Steele, his co-star in THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. Muller's character is a 19th Century brooding scientist who tortures and kills his wife and her lover, then marries his wife's mentally disturbed stepsister, who he then tries to drive totally insane. Price would have really went to town on this one. Muller is fine in the role, but just imagine if Price had played it...and how he would have handled the florid dialogue.
6. If you met Vincent Price in a movie, he would probably kill you. How would you want to be killed by Vincent Price?
I don't find the prospect of musing over my own demise very entertaining...but I guess if I had to go, I wouldn't want it to be violent or painful. Perhaps poison in a glass of wine? That sounds like something Price would do to someone. I'm not a drinker, but I'm sure Price would be devious enough to get me to imbibe...and knowing Price, it would be an excellent wine as well.
7. Vincent Price guest-starred in several classic TV shows. What is your favorite appearance?
Anyone who knows me will expect me to pick Price's role as Egghead in the 1960s BATMAN TV show. I was leaning toward that....but I'll surprise a few people and go with Price's guest stint on THE BRADY BUNCH. What is notable about Price's appearance with the Bradys is that his character is a bit seedy, run down, and kind of pathetic...so much so that even though he's held the Brady boys against their will, the family winds up feeling sorry for him!
8. Vincent Price starred in eight films with the word "house" included in the title. Which one of these is your favorite?
I have to go with HOUSE OF USHER. I believe that Roderick Usher is one of Price's greatest screen characterizations, and this was the first film in the Price/Roger Corman/AIP Poe series. HOUSE OF USHER was one of the most important films in Vincent Price's career, and it is one of the most important American Gothic films overall.
9. If Vincent Price could read you a bedtime story, which one would it be?
Well, Vincent Price could read the phone book to me and I'm sure I'd find it entertaining. Picking a horror tale for him to read is somewhat generic--so how about Dr. Seuss' GREEN EGGS AND HAM? Seriously, I loved that book as a kid...to hear Price interpret it would be amazing!
10. Vincent Price lent his voice to several animated shows and films. Which voice over is your favorite?
I've got to go with THE 13 GHOSTS OF SCOOBY-DOO. The fact that he was chosen to appear on it shows you how much pop culture impact Vincent Price had.
I had a lot of fun writing this particular blog, and I thank Derek for choosing me to participate. Instead of me tagging one select individual or blog, I'd like to invite any and all of you who happen to read this post to take up the mantle and participate yourselves.