Keep the magic of Halloween alive with one of the all-time masters of the macabre, and explore the treasure trove of Vincent Price’s best hidden gems.
Halloween may be over, but there’s no better way to keep that spooky spirit alive than by exploring some of the best films classic horror has to offer. Now that you’ve had your fill of the seasonal staples like Halloween, Trick r Treat, Pumpkinhead, and Hocus Pocus, it’s time for something different. And there’s no better guide into the world of timeless terror than the incomparable Vincent Price. So say goodbye to Haddonfield for a spell and take a trip to the House on Haunted Hill.
Better yet, take a detour and explore some of the Master of Menace’s lesser known contributions to the genre. While films like House of Wax and The Pit and the Pendulum are phenomenal, there are many treasures in this prolific actor’s repertoire that don’t seem to get as much love as they deserve.
In that spirit, here are five exceptional, underrated Vincent Price films you can stream now while you’re beating back those post-Halloween blues.
1. Tales of Terror (1962)
In the early 1960s, Roger Corman directed a series of films for American International Pictures inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, all but one of which starred Vincent Price. Tales of Terror stands out from the rest of the series as an anthology, featuring three different stories of death, dying, and the dead.
In “Morella,” Price plays a widower whose deceased wife has been waiting for her chance for revenge. In “The Black Cat,” he’s joined by Peter Lorre for a hilarious farce that’s more closely related to “The Cask of Amontillado” than the title story. This tale gives Price the chance to stretch his comedic muscles and demonstrates the phenomenal chemistry he shared with Lorre. The film closes out with the genuinely terrifying “The Case of M. Valdemar,” in which Price is trapped between life and death by a nefarious hypnotist. Each segment is strong enough to stand alone, but when tied together by Price’s iconic voice guiding us through the stages of death, they create a truly remarkable whole.
Tales of Terror is streaming on Amazon Prime and Epix Now.
2. The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
After Tales of Terror, American International must have realized they’d struck comedic gold with the combination of Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. In 1963, the pair made two more horror comedies together: The Raven and The Comedy of Terrors.
In the latter, Price plays a drunken undertaker, with Lorre as his reluctant sidekick who helps him create new customers when they’re strapped for cash. When they choose their miserly, cataleptic landlord (Basil Rathbone) as their next victim, things go hilariously awry. The star-studded cast also includes Boris Karloff and Joyce Jameson. Price and Lorre’s comedic chemistry is at its absolute best, and the entire cast works brilliantly together. Everyone is clearly having a blast, making the film an absolute joy.
The Comedy of Terrors is streaming on Amazon Prime and Epix Now.
3. The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
Though it’s the last and least successful film of the Corman-Poe cycle, The Tomb of Ligeia nonetheless holds its own alongside its acclaimed predecessors. Price plays Verden Fell, a moody widower whose first wife Ligeia is a powerful presence even in death. When Verden remarries, Ligeia really starts kicking up a fuss. Mesmerism, necrophilia, black cats — this movie has it all.
Interestingly, Price was not Corman’s first choice for the film. He and screenwriter Robert Towne wanted someone much younger, someone better suited as a romantic interest for the leading lady, someone the audience wouldn’t expect to be a necrophiliac. But American International insisted on Price, no matter how miscast. Still, nobody does troubled Gothic anti-hero better, and if anything, Price’s presence just enhances the creepy wrongness of everything happening in the film — which, you know, makes it better.
The Tomb of Ligeia is streaming on Shudder and Amazon Prime.
4. Theatre of Blood (1973)
By the mid-1970s, the kind of horror that made Vincent Price famous was beginning to fall out of fashion. Films like The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre changed the landscape of horror for good, and former giants of the genre like American International and Hammer were struggling to keep up with the times.
Regardless, Price was still having a grand time making the kind of movies he was known for, and Theatre of Blood was one of his favorites. This horror comedy is thought to be a parody of another of Price’s films, The Abominable Dr. Phibes. The two films are indeed remarkably similar: Price plays someone who is presumed dead but of course isn’t, and he picks off the people who have wronged him one by one in increasingly elaborate ways. It’s often hilarious and delightfully melodramatic, and it gave Price the chance to live out his dream of performing Shakespeare.
Theatre of Blood is streaming on Shudder and The Criterion Channel.
5. The Monster Club (1981)
The 1980s saw a renewed interest in classic horror, and Vincent Price went along for the ride. He’s of course best known during this decade for his contribution to the ultimate Halloween jam, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but he also made some of his best films in nearly a decade. In 1983, he reunited with his friends Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing for House of the Long Shadows, and in 1986 he voiced the sinister Professor Ratigan in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective.
He also starred in the 1981 anthology The Monster Club, directed by Roy Ward Baker, known for some of Hammer’s best late period films like The Vampire Lovers and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde. Price plays a vampire who brings his newest victim, a horror novelist played by John Carradine, to a monsters-only nightclub and regales him with stories of ill-fated monsters and monster hybrids. The film also features a bangin’ soundtrack of spooky tunes, including a surprisingly progressive stripper anthem.
The Monster Club is streaming on Shudder and Tubi.