Genre legend Vincent Price has been dazzling horror fans for generations, but some of his best work deserves more celebration.
With summer waning and the spooky season right around the corner, there is no better time to start indulging your dark desires for ghoulishness. No horror elixir is quite as quenching as that from the Master of Macabre, Vincent Prince himself. Those familiar with Dr. Price’s terrifying tales are almost assuredly familiar with the more popular films such as House of Wax (1952) or House on Haunted Hill (1959), but those films alone can hardly do justice to the man with over one hundred film credits to his name.
To hopefully bring more awareness to the lesser-known titles beneath the belt of this smooth-tongued transmitter of terror, I have compiled this list of five movies that all true Vincent Price appreciators should add to their lists this Halloween season.
5. The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
Based on Edgar Allen Poe’s short, Ligeia. Verden Fell (Vincent Price) is tormented by the spiritual presence of his previous wife, Ligeia, embodied within a black cat. When Verden marries again, Ligeia becomes much more active, making good on her promise to be Verden’s only wife.
Throughout his career, Vincent Price has starred in many films based on Poe’s work, many of which are considered Price’s best work, such as The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and The Raven (1963).
The Tomb of Ligeia, although bringing in little revenue at the time, brings much of Poe’s cherished staples to the silver screen: premature burial, gothic landscapes, black cats, and ever-shrinking sanity for our main character.
It’s all brought to pass with Vincent Price’s fiery charisma and should be considered essential viewing.
4. The Tingler (1959)
That tingling sensation you feel down your back when you are afraid is nothing more than a centipede-like parasite discovered by Dr. William Chapin (Vincent Price) during the autopsy of a woman who purportedly died of fright. As the fear in you grows, so does the parasite, growing to the size of a human arm along the spine, and if the fear continues to grow, it will too… until you yourself fall victim to it.
This terrifically fun film is a must-watch this Halloween.A portion of the film takes place in a movie theater where a tingler has been let loose. There is a strange intermission-like scene where you, the audience, are pulled into the movie as the tingler crawls across the camera and over the toes of the strangers in the theater with you.
Now revered as a cult classic, The Tingler is absolutely essential for anybody who loves over-the-top horror ridiculousness.
3. MadHouse (1974)
The Dr. Death Franchise is very successful, with five films released to roaring crowds. Unfortunately, the lead actor, Paul Toombes (Vincent Price), is institutionalized after a masked man dressed as the titular character murders his fiance. After his release twelve years later, the killings once again continued.
Anytime Peter Cushing and Vincent Price share the screen together, horror magic is bound to occur.
The movie gives off the impression of Giallo yet focuses more on the mystery and investigative side than over-the-top gore. While there is blood without excessive gore in Madhouse, most of the unsettling feelings come from the claustrophobia felt by the tight shots and contained settings where somewhere in the darkness, you know a masked killer lurks.
Check out this great behind-the-scenes footage of the film on YouTube.
If you are a fan of classic murder stories, you will love this one!
2. Tower of London (1962)
This film revolves around the rise and eventual Fall of King Richard III of England, who murdered his brother and nephews to secure his spot on the throne.
Unfortunately for Richard (Vincent Price), it takes much more than scheming and political maneuvering to avoid the ghosts of those you’ve wronged.
Much of this pseudo-historical horror drama draws from elements of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Richard III, mixing them with the dazzle of Vincent Price on the stage.
The apparitions trying to convince Richard to kill himself in this medieval-themed flick are enough to give anybody the heebie-jeebies, especially those with a fondness for period pieces.
1. Shock (1946)
After Janet witnesses a marital murder down the hall while waiting for her husband, she falls deep into a state of shock.
Called in to treat her severe symptoms is the very murderer himself, Dr. Richard Cross (Vincent Price). After convincing Janet’s husband to institutionalize her at his asylum, Dr. Cross, egged on by his malicious mistress and head nurse Elaine Jordan (Lynn Bari), is determined to keep Janet from exposing their secret by whatever unethical means necessary.
This film is credited as being Vincent’s first starring role, solidifying him as a leading man for his incredible performances to come. We are treated to a younger Price in the budding stages of developing the typical flare that many of his fans have grown to love.
Although more of a film-noir thriller than a horror tale, Shock still gives us many of the classic Vincent Price tropes we find so endearing.