(Above: Vincent Price. Source: Shudder)
Tomorrow, October 1, Shudder kicks off Halloween month with four Vincent Price horror classics: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tom of Ligeia, The Masque of the Red Death and Theater of Blood.
The first three were directed by Roger Corman.
Twilight Zone writer Richard Matheson adapted the Edgar Allan Poe short story about a man, Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon), who drops in on his fiancée, Madeline Usher (Myrna Fahey), at her family home. There he meets her brother Roderick (Price), who explains the clan suffers from bad genetics. Also, there’s something creepy about the house.
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
Mission Impossible movie screenwriter Robert Towne adapted another Poe tale about a man (Price) obsessed with his beloved dead wife Ligea. He does remarry — to Lady Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd) – but after their honeymoon they live in a ruined abbey with only manservant Kenrick (Oliver Johnston) for company. There, the memories of Ligea – and her promise that she would never die – become something of a relationship stumbling block.
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Price is Satan-worshipping Prince Prospero, who offers to burn down the Red-Death-plagued village of Catania. He also wants to kill villagers Gino (David Weston) and his father-in-law Ludovico (Nigel Green) but is entreated by Gino’s wife Francesca (Jane Asher) to spare them. So he instead invites them to his castle to wait out the plague. Then Prospero throws a masked ball, and a red-hooded stranger shows up. Who could it be?
Theater of Blood (1973)
In this campy horror classic, Price is an underappreciated stage actor, who vows to take revenge on theater critics who neglect to give him a Best Actor award. He offs them, one by one, by replicating death scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. Recently deceased Diana Rigg, Emma Peel in The Avengers TV series, plays his daughter. The cast also includes Robert Morley and Milo O’Shea.
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And once you’ve watched these films, you can better appreciate SNL’s Bill Hader’s take on the horror icon:
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