0

Vincent Price Collection Vol. II (Blu-ray)

Vincent Price Collection 2Starring Vincent friggin’ Price

Directed by Various

Distributed by Scream Factory


Following up last year’s superb boxed collection of Vincent Price films, Scream Factory brings us The Vincent Price Collection Vol. II – another set of some of the legendary actor’s better known films which, as with that previous release, includes a sizeable amount of bonus features on each disc. The question is: is this second volume a worthy successor – not only to the previous Price collection, but Scream’s other recent boxed sets as well (such as their exhaustive Halloween collection and the “I can’t believe this exists” Nightbreed: Director’s Cut set)?

The first disc in this new collection is home to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven and The Comedy of Terrors, two AIP releases which feature Price at his delightfully comic best. The Raven, another entry in Corman’s “AIPoe” cycle, is a wonderfully daffy movie at times, featuring a stunning cast including Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Jack Nicholson. Comedy boasts much of that same cast (Price, Karloff, and Lorre), yucking it up alongside Basil Rathbone in this pitch black horror comedy stylishly helmed by Cat People director Jacques Tourneur.

The second disc includes another AIPoe in the form of Tomb of Ligeia, the last of Corman’s Poe cycle. In contrast with The Raven, Ligeia is a much more somber affair in the style of Corman’s earlier adaptations. In it, Price plays a man haunted by his deceased wife, who may or may not be possessing the body of a cat which plagues the widower’s every move. The Last Man on Earth is this disc’s second film, the very first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend. As with the later attempts at adapting the spooky tome (the 70s Chuck Heston-starrer The Omega Man and the 2007 Will Smith vehicle which took the novel’s name), Last Man is faithful to the basic strokes of Matheson’s book, if not its finer details (not one of the films managed to do the novel’s ending justice). Still, the film finds Price in top form, lending his gravitas to this low-budget shocker. Fans of Price and/or Matheson will find much to enjoy here.

Disc three houses sequels to two of Price’s better known films – Dr. Phibes Rises Again and Return of the Fly. Phibes’ inclusion makes sense, as its predecessor (The Abominable Dr. Phibes) graced the previous Price collection. This follow-up will likely please fans of the original, offering more of Price’s equally tragic and sinister (and, arguably, signature?) villain, with some gorgeous sets and photography on display. The real surprise in this collection is Return, considering that the original classic is nowhere to be found in either of Scream’s collections. Still, it’s a welcome addition, as it is a thoroughly enjoyable (if inferior) sequel.

The final disc in this set holds one of this writer’s very favorite Price films – William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill. This movie, remade (somewhat) successfully in ’99 by Dark Castle Entertainment, stars Price as Frederick Loren, a wealthy eccentric who invites a handful of strangers into his home to participate in a “haunted house party”, promising them a large sum of money if they can spend the entire night in his mansion – along with a number of ghosts and ghouls which lurk about within the home. Price, as always, is superb – oozing charm and menace while acting as a host, all while trading vicious verbal barbs with his unfaithful wife. It’s a fun if hokey movie that never fails to bring a smile to this fan’s face.

Scream Factory continues their winning streak with this collection, which is chock-full of bonus features and handsome presentations for each of the seven films here (for those counting, that’s one more film than the previous Price set). Each movie here boasts a 2.0 DTS-HD Master audio track, along with mostly solid transfers for each film. I say mostly, as each of the films do exhibit minor print damage. Phibes looks the best of the bunch, with a sharp image and gorgeous colors throughout, while Comedy surely looks the worst, showing considerable speckling and damage at times – occasionally to a distracting degree. Still, each film often looks fantastic is more than watchable.

The bonus features are, as with the previous collection, a real treasure trove for Price aficionados. In addition to theatrical trailers and still galleries for each film, we have a handful of film introductions culled from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, which were produced in the early 80s for Iowa Public Television. These intros are provided for The Raven, Comedy of Terrors, and Tomb of Ligeia, along with a documentary covering the making of those introductions (this same doc was included in the previous collection). There are also three installments of Richard Matheson Storyteller, which features the late master reminiscing on his work for three of this set’s films (The Raven, Comedy of Terrors and The Last Man on Earth).

In addition to that, there are a number of commentaries for some of the films: three for Ligeia, and one each for The Raven, House, Return and Last Man), all featuring some fantastic contributors – including author/historian Steve Haberman, historian David Del Valle, author Derek Botelho, actor Brett Halsey, Ligeia actress Elizabeth Sheperd, film historian Constantine Nasr, and producer/director Roger Corman. Hours and hours of information wait to be gleaned from these talks, which will no doubt delight hardcore fans and casual viewers alike.

The Raven boasts a few more extras, including a brief featurette with Corman discussing this rare venture into comedy, and a slideshow featuring audio and images from a vinyl record used to promote the film before its release. Lastly, House’s disc provides the most supplements, including: Vincent Price: Renaissance Man, a thirty-minute look at Price’s life, interests and career; The Art of Fear, a look at Price’s position within the genre he’ll always be associated with; Working with Vincent Price, which finds various contributors commenting on Price’s generosity on set and his relationships with his costars; and a collection of trailers for other films throughout the actor’s career (The Conqueror Worm aka Witchfinder General, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, House of Usher, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Pit and the Pendulum). And all of this is wrapped up in a handsome slipcase boasting beautiful artwork by Joel Robinson, packaged along with a nifty booklet with a lengthy essay by David Del Valle.

All in all, a marvelous collection – one befitting the man’s legacy which sits nicely alongside not only its predecessor, but with Scream Factory’s other recent re-releases as well. One can only hope that this tradition continues on next year with, dare I hope, The Vincent Price Collection III?

Special Features

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven

  • Audio Commentary with film historian Steve Haberman
  • Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Raven
  • Corman’s Comedy of Poe
  • Promotional Record
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery
  • Introduction to The Raven – from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, produced by Iowa Public Television

The Comedy of Terrors

    Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Comedy of Terrors
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery
  • Introduction to The Comedy of Terrors – from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, produced by Iowa Public Television

Tomb of Ligeia

  • Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Roger Corman
  • Audio Commentary with Elizabeth Sheperd
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery
  • Introduction to The Tomb of Ligeia – from The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors, produced by Iowa Public Television

The Last Man on Earth

  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian David Del Valle and Author Derek Botelho
  • Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Last Man on Earth
  • Still Gallery

Dr. Phibes Rises Again

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

Return of the Fly

  • Audio Commentary with actor Brett Halsey and film historian David Del Valle
  • Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot
  • Still Gallery

House on Haunted Hill

  • Audio Commentary with Author/Historian Steve Haberman
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Vincent Price: Renaissance Man
  • The Art of Fear
  • Working with Vincent Price
  • Introductory Price: Undertaking The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors
  • Still Gallery
  • Vincent Price trailer collection

Powered by WP Review
Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
Get Your Box of Dread Now
*US Residents Only .

Jinx