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31 October 2011

Actor Overviews: Vincent Price

Born:  1911, May 27 
Death: 1993, October 25
Years Active: 1935-1993
The master of horror acting, and a legendary actor who is almost forgotten today, Vincent Price is a true expert in sending chills down your spine. Vincent Price’s films are unique, and wonderful because of his acting talent and pulls off most of his roles with great flare. With films like “House of Wax” and “Theatre of Blood” in his filmography, it is arguable he is a brilliant actor.
 
Price was active from the late 1930’s right up into the 1990 towards his death.  Price can be considered the best of the classic actors and is definitely on the list for best horror actors of all time. Noted for his distinctive voice, Price is one of classic Hollywood’s best stars. Here is to a great man who brought chills and thrills to the screen for well over four decades.

Early Years:
Vincent Leonard Price, born 1911 May 2 (close to Halloween coincidentally clashing with his horror career) began his career during the 1930’s on stage. His first film role was in 1938 in the film ‘Service De Luxe’ that unfortunately I cannot find. His first notable film would have been “Leave her to Heaven” in 1945, where he plays the fiancé of one of the main characters. There is not much coverage of his early life of how he got into the business or anything like that, so that is all there is.

Filmography Overview:

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Price’s performance here was small but was excellent.

House of Wax (1953)
This is one of Price's first full blown horror roles and next to Theatre of Blood, this is Price in one of his best performances.


The Fly (1958)
Price plays a supporting character and “The fly” is one of the best classic sci-fi/horror films of its time.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Dated and modern viewers will not find it that scary, but it still manages to hold a few scares and it is a very good film indeed. Price plays as the house guest for the people who stay in a haunted house overnight to win money with a fine flare and remarkable style.


House of Usher (1960)
In the 60’s Price took part in several low-budget horror movies and this was one of the great ones.


The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Wonderfully chilling and very tense, especially when we get to that great finale.


The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Not long after his 60’s career of several different low-budget projects, Price plays the role of the phantom of the opera-inspired Dr. Phibes.


Theatre of Blood (1973)
This is one the best roles that Price had ever done that is masterful, campy and hauntingly funny.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983)
That is right, that chilling and dark narrator is non-other than Price. Although not film, thought it was interesting to note. 

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Price did an excellent voice-acting job as the Evil Rattigan in this film.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The final of Price’s roles and three years before his death, Price makes an appearance in one more film. In Tim Burton’sEdward Scissorhands” Price plays the inventor who created Edward. The more powerful thing to note is he is 87 years of age and here he is still doing what he loved. Another thing to note is the friendship bonded between Burton and Price. Burton grew up with Price’s films and was an inspiration to him, so meeting him as wonderful. Although this was not the first meeting, Price was the voice of the narrator in Burton’s short stop-motion film “Vincent” in which the character thinks he is Vincent Price. That short film shows that Burton enjoyed Price’s films, dedicating the story to him.


Chilling and mysterious:
Just hearing Price talk is enough to send chills down your spine. Price puts his heart and soul into his performances, which makes him a very strong actor. Whether you are watching House of Wax with his amazing main role or listening to his voice-over for Thriller, he is recognisable and distinctive. When you’re watching a Price film, you are watching a film you will likely remember for his spine tingling acting.
Some of his roles over his career where washed up and one absurdity that comes to mind is “Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine”. Looking away from his washed up roles, when you look over his late 50’s to early 70s work; you can see Price at his best. 
Price really is the man who could do anything. With such versatility and style, he had such a great craft. With his literary inspired style, he is a unique man even by today’s standards. He has had so many great films such as “House of Wax”, “Theatre of Blood” and “The Abominable Dr Phibes” how can you not appreciate this actor in some way, shape, or form?

Death & Legacy:
Price achieved many awards in his life
Although there is no major legacy as there is with people like Kubrick and Hitchcock, but he has had an influence on horror and even some directors. Tim burton was very influenced by Prices films, and is how I initially started to see Price films. Prices auteur and style has been formed by literary pieces, commonly from Edgar Allan Poe. This is what makes him a unique and memorable actor. Price will should not be forgotten in the modern cinema world for his marvellous presence and very fine acting. 


Top five Price films:
  1. Theatre of Blood
  2. House of Wax
  3. House on Haunted Hill
  4. The Fly
  5. The Abominable Dr Phibes
Actor score: 84/100
Influence Score: 82/100

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