The Very Best Films of Vincent Price
Far too often we throw around the phrase "horror icon" or "horror legend"; however, there is no disputing the fact that Vincent Price absolutely deserves to be described with both of those handles. And today, to celebrate Scream Factory's launch of The Vincent Price Collection (review), we count down our Top 10 Vincent Price Films.
Well known to mainstream, non-horror fans as the voice in the legendary Michael Jackson song "Thriller," Vincent Price was indeed the face of horror for quite some time. He was incredibly chilling with a voice that simply oozed horror. And it's for those enviable traits, and the fact that he spent so much of his life dedicated to the horror genre, that we honor Vincent Price with his own personal Top 10 list!
He has just under 200 acting credits to his name, then over 175 more instances where he appeared as himself. Price's credits read like a venerable laundry list of classic horror and entertainment, so it certainly was not easy to get it down to just 10. Therefore, let's start with some honorable mentions that barely missed the cut. From The Masque of Red Death to Witchfinder General and The Tomb of Legia, Price's horror work was unmatched. However, he was also a great comedic talent as well, appearing as Egghead in the "Batman" television series and the Canadian children's show "The Hilarious House of Frightenstein." He was excellent as both a horror host on shows like "Masterpiece Mystery" and a talk/game show guest, appearing on nearly 400 episodes of "Hollywood Squares" and almost 40 times on "The Tonight Show." He even had a short-lived cooking show entitled "Cooking Price-Wise with Vincent Price" (very short-lived). But it's for the horror that we love and remember him, so on to the Top 10 Vincent Price Films!
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Directed by the legendary William Castle, Vincent Price stars as the host of the haunted house party, Frederick Loren. Price's performance of Loren, combined with Castle's marketing genius, made the film a huge success. Castle floated a skeleton over the live audience with a gimmick he called "Emergo." In fact, Alfred Hitchcock himself was so intrigued by the performance of the low-budget horror film at the box office that he decided to make one of his own and give it a go. Thus, Vincent Price's House on Haunted Hill inspired Psycho.
The Tingler (1959)
Vincent Price had a memorable performance in another 1959 film directed by William Castle. And it again featured one of Castle's infamous in-theater gimmicks. The Tingler was a bit more campy than House on Haunted Hill, but it is still a great film. In The Tingler Price plays pathologist Dr. Warren Chapin, who discovers that the "spine-tingling" sensation experienced by humans during extreme fear is due to the existence of a creature every person has attached to his or her spine called a "Tingler." At the conclusion of the film, Castle broke the fourth wall and gave the appearance of Tinglers entering the theater. Random seats had been wired to deliver an electric pulse to the viewer in the chair, resulting in a shocking experience! *rimshot* The Tingler also features a scene with Dr. Chapin tripping on LSD, a first in a major motion picture. Check out the scene below.
House of Wax (1953)
Before he partnered with William Castle and his gimmicks, Vincent Price appeared in the groundbreaking film House of Wax. This was a landmark in cinema as it was the first ever full-color 3D film from a major American studio and also the first 3D film with stereophonic sound presented in regular theaters. The film was actually a remake of a 1933 movie entitled Mystery of the Wax Museum (see, they were even doing remakes back in the 1950's), and Price played Professor Henry Jarrod, a wax figure sculptor with a museum in New York in the 1890's. Directed by André de Toth, House of Wax features Price's character as a psychotic killer who hides his victims within his wax sculptures. If anyone is recalling the 2005 "remake" featuring Paris Hilton, please stop.