Here’s Vincent Price’s very own recipe for boneless pork sirloin like you’ve never heard it before. Price boasts that “the meat will be as tender as a woman’s heart and the flavor can only be described as… reckless.”
As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a total nut for Alice Cooper. But Alice Cooper, the band. The solo Alice? Eh, not so much.
The “classic” Alice Cooper albums I can play over and over and over again. I played them obsessively when I was a child and I still play them a lot today (especially Billion Dollar Babies). There was one year—1986 to be exact—where I pretty much only listened to four things: James Brown, Sly & The Family Stone and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (don’t laugh, they’re fucking awesome) and Alice Cooper. To the exclusion of all else.
Muscle of Love is basically a shit album. There’s a reason why it was in the cut-out bins so soon after it came out. It’s a weak record and the band split after it.
Then comes solo Alice. Welcome to My Nightmare, Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, Lace and Whiskey... and the singles for fuck’s sake, Alice Cooper was singing ballads! Sensitive ballads. Even if I do have soft spots for “Only Woman Bleed,” “I Never Cry” and “You and Me,” this was AM radio lovey-dovey stuff that could have been written by David fucking Gates coming from the coal-eyed ghoul with the snake ‘round his neck who’d given the world “Black JuJu,” “Dead Babies” and “The Ballad of Dwight Fry”!!! What gives?
Although I thought it was great when I was a kid, Welcome to My Nightmare is a really mediocre album. I listened to it recently and the only things I liked were the title song, the aforementioned sappy ballad and the one number that really rips on that album “Cold Ethyl,” which is absolutely fucking amazing. It’s tame, slick and uninteresting. Even backed by Lou Reed’s stellar Rock & Roll Animal band, these albums are a pale, pale version of what preceded them.
Now having said all that, I can forgive the lapse in musical quality and still enjoy “The Nightmare,” a late-night 1975 TV special that aired on ABC’s Wide World in Concert on its own terms (or at least on the terms that I first saw it on, as a wide-eyed nine-year-old Alice Cooper fanatic up well past his bedtime). It’s basically an extremely campy “rock opera” type treatment of Welcome to My Nightmare (itself a bit of a concept album to begin with, with a guy trapped in a bad dream he can’t escape from) with Cooper, Vincent Price (who is featured on the album prominently) and a variety of dancers, including Alice’s future wife, Cheryl. The former “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” the more mainstream-friendly, Muppet Show-appearing Alice was still a lot of fun at this point—for at least for a little while longer—so enjoy!
If you didn’t have enough reasons to love Vincent Price, here’s one more.
Vincent Price loved animals, in particular dogs, and his favorite dog was the one he owned, a dog called Joe.
Vincent was so enamored with his four-legged pal that he wrote an entire book about him called The Book of Joe, in 1961, which begins as follows:
“This is a tale of how I went to the dogs or, to be numerically correct, to the dog. Now please do not expect this book to end with a glorious proclamation of rehabilitation. Not a chance. After fourteen years I’m incurably hooked on, intoxicated by, and addicted to - my dog Joe.”
I had never heard of Mr. Price’s foray into canine biography before, but now have it on my growing list of books I would like to read, and going by some reviews on Good Reads, it sounds like a treat:
If you are ever lucky enough to find this out of print and rare book, you will be delighted by the WONDERFUL stories it contains. Told as elegantly and masterfully as only Vincent Price could tell. I could hear his distinct voice within every written word. A real rare gem for Vincent Price fans or Dog lovers in general.
This book tells not only the story of Joe but of other Price pets. Including apes, camels and roosters, just to name a few. The book is somewhat auto-biographical in nature as it relates to his love of animals. Sometimes sad but often hilarious, I laughed more often than I cried. I always enjoy a happy ending and so Mr. Price deliveres as the climax and ending becomes triumphant yet poignant.
This book helped me remember that the world lost not only a great Actor when Mr. Price died, but a loving husband, father, gourmet cook, art critic, and one of a dog’s best friends.
It appears Vincent Price’s The Book of Joe is a much sought after and rather difficult to find book, so I guess until I’m lucky enough to own a copy, I will have to make do with these charming ink drawings by artist Leo Hershfield, which illustrate Mr. Price’s book.
Tales of vampires have existed for millennia, but the idea of the vampire as we understand it today comes from late-17th and early-18th-century Europe where oral traditions told of vampires as revenants of evil beings, including suicides and witches, who preyed on the living.
Of course, the most famous vampire is Count Dracula the undead nobleman created by novelist Bram Stoker who spent seven years researching European folklore and vampire stories before writing one word of his classic tale. Yet Dracula was not the first fictional vampire: there had been Sheridan Le Fanu’s Camilla in 1871, which was the tale of a lesbian vampire who preyed on young women; before this James Malcolm’s Varney the Vampire (1847), a grisly “penny dreadful” that became a best-seller; and at the beginning was Vampyre, a story written by Doctor John Polidori during a madcap summer spent with Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, which also inspired the creation of Frankenstein. That must have been one hell of a vacation.
Part of Dracula‘s great allure is the historical association with the bloody Transylvanian Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia or “Vlad the Impaler.” In the documentary Dracula the Great Undead, the ever-watchable Vincent Price traces the true story behind one of fiction’s greatest characters. As our host, Price is his usual charming self, and makes this documentary a delight to watch.
Vincent Price had a wicked sense of humor. The great actor often told tales of his sneaking into a local cinema that was screening one of his horror films. He would arrive towards the end of the film’s performance, seating himself behind some young, engrossed couple. Listening to their screams, he would wait until the final credits, before leaning forward and asking, “Did you enjoy that, my dears?”
The effect of unexpectedly hearing the Price’s voice, always made his victims scream for their lives.
This delectable bundle of film trailers was compiled for The Duke Mitchell Film Club’s Vincent Prince Night in June 2008. It certainly fulfills my idea of a perfect evening’s entertainment—a veritable, cinematic feast of Vincent Price movies, which includes:
Madhouse (1974) based on the novel (and one of my childhood favorites) Devil Day by Angus Hall (the villainous character partially inspired By Orson Welles and Aleister Crowley); the unforgettable…Laura (1944), with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews; The Last Man On Earth (1964), an early version of the late Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend; The Bribe (1949), another Film Noir with Ava Gardner; Confessions Of An Opium Eater (1962), adapted from De Quincey’s novel; The Fall Of The House Of Usher (1960), Roger Corman’s classic telling of Poe’s story; His Kind Of Woman (1951), another supporting role, this time to Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell; More Dead Than Alive (1969), a rather disappointing western, though it does have its moments when Price is on screen; Theater Of Blood (1973), one of the actor’s greatest comic-horror films, co-starring Diana Rigg and an all-star cast of victims. And then of course, the adverts, and filler (provided by Pearl & Dean, Vincent and Kermit).
Admittedly, there is no Masque of Red Death, The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill, Comedy of Terrors or The Abominable Doctor Phibes, but what more could one ask for? Other than having Mr. Price tapping you on the shoulder and asking, “Did we enjoy that, my dears?”
Happy Birthday Sir Christopher Lee, actor, singer and cinematic icon, who celebrates his 91st birthday today.
I can still recall the fabulous thrill of seeing Lee’s performance as the gruesome “Creature” in The Curse of Frankenstein (1956), where he managed to make the brutally disfigured creation both pitiful and terrifying. He achieved greater success as the Count in Dracula (1958), a performance that established him as an international star. Lee made the role of Dracula his own by bringing a charm, sophistication, intelligence and sexual attraction to the role.
In both films, Lee played against his friend and colleague Peter Cushing (who would have been 100-years-old yesterday) and together they dominated the box-office from the late 1950s-to mid-1970s, with a range of classic Horror movies, including The Gorgon, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, The Skull, Scream and Scream Again, The House That Dripped Blood, Dracula 1972 A.D., Nothing But The NIght, The Creeping Flesh, and Horror Express.
Of course, there were also his solo turns with The Devil Rides Out, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The Wicker Man, The Three Musketeers and The Man With The Golden Gun.
But unlike Cushing, or Vincent Price (whose birthday is also celebrated today), Lee wanted to be more than just a Horror actor, and therefore moved to America in the 1970s, where his starred in a variety of films—some good, some not-so—which ranged from Airport ‘77, 1941 and Gremlins 2.
Most careers would have finished there, but not Lee’s. He return to form and greater success with roles in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999) and then the BBC TV-series Gormenghast (2000), all of which led onto Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and episodes 2 and 3 of Star Wars.
At 91, Sir Christopher is making 2-to-3-films-a-year, and has just recorded and released a Heavy Metal album, Charlemagne: The Omens of Death.
Happy Birthday Sir Christopher and thanks for all the thrills!
Behind the scenes with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing on ‘Dracula 1972 A.D.’
A preview of Christopher Lee’s heavy Metal album ‘Charlemagne: The Omens of Death’
Vincent Price started collecting Art at the age of 12.
‘It was just one of those things. I’d read so many books on Art that one day I walked into a little art store, downtown St. Louis—mainly a framing place—they were having an exhibition of Rembrandt etchings, and there was one that really took my fancy.
‘I said, “How much is it?” And the man said, “It’s thirty-seven dollars, and fifty-cents.”
‘Well, I had $5 in my pocket, so I said could I put that down on it? And he said, “Yes.” I think he knew my father was good for the other thirty-two dollars and fifty-cents.
‘I paid for it myself, and from it, I learned a tremendous amount about the importance of the ownership of Art. The importance of buying a recording, of owning a work of Art, so you could study it, and live with it, and make it really your own, rather than just a thing you pick-up at a cursory glance in a museum. And [Art collecting] lasted all my life.’
Alas, Mr. Price had to sell his Rembrandt when he was broke, but his love of Art and Art History never left him.
It was in London, while working as an Art Historian at the Courtauld Institute, that Mr. Price’s love of theater began. As the theater was cheap in London, he saw as many productions as he could, before taking the plunge. He quickly moved form bit part to lead, and was on Broadway by 23.
A fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyable interview, in which Vincent Price relishes discussing those things closest to his heart—Art and Acting. From the public access TV series Day at Night, April 1974.
A location report for Jim Clark’s 1974 film Madhouse, starring Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri and Linda Heyden. The film was very loosely based on Angus Hall’s pulp thriller Devilday, which told the story of a dissipated actor, Paul Toombes (Price) and his return to acting in a TV horror series about the evil Doctor Dis (Doctor Death in the film). Toombes was an obese, unrepentant, drug addicted and sexual predator, who dabbled in Black Magic, and is suspected of a series of brutal murders. Hall’s character owes something to Orson Welles and Aleister Crowley, and the book offered quite a few interesting plot lines the film never developed. Clark went on to edit Marathon Man, The Killing Fields, and The World is Not Enough, amongst many others. Madhouse was his last film as director.
Here director Clark talks about his admiration for the gods of film James Whale and Todd Browning, while Vincent Price and Peter Cushing talk about why ‘horror’ or ‘thrillers’ are so popular.
Close the door against the chill and draw yourself a little closer to the fire. There. Comfortable? Then we’ll begin…
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Vincent Price hosts this short TV adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Taylor Holmes as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Pat White as Bob Cratchit, and Earl Lee as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, directed by Arthur Pierson, from 1949.
O, Vincent Price - wasn’t he fab? He had this terrific ability to sound both menacing and amused at the same time. It was part of the reason why his performances were always so enjoyable to watch, he brought a dark humor to the most chilling of horror, as seen in Theater of Blood, Tales of Terror, or House on Haunted Hill. No matter how gruesome the thrill (pet dogs fed to their owner, a puppet skeleton scaring a victim into an acid bath), one instinctively knew that at heart Price was fun, guaranteed to always be good company. As can be seen from this short interview from French TV in 1986, where Mr Price talked about working with Roger Corman, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone, James Whale, reminiscing about past successes and unmitigated failures.
Two short clips from Irwin Allen’s The Story of Mankind (1957), a bizarre movie loosely based on the non-fiction book by Hendrik Willem van Loon.
The film tells of the trial of mankind by a council elders form outer space, who must decide whether humankind should be allowed to continue or be vaporized. For the defense, the dapper Ronald Colman as The Spirit of Man. For the prosecution, the camp Vincent Price as The Devil. The pair deliberate on the evidence, which is taken from key moments in human history, from Julius Ceaser to Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth I to Napoleon. You get the picture.
The cast was a Hollywood producer’s wet dream, which included Virginia Mayo as Cleopatra, Peter Lorre as Nero, Hedy Lamarr as Joan of Arc, Agnes Moorehead as Queen Elizabeth I, Harpo Marx as Isaac Newton and even Groucho Marx.
In the first clip, two very different acting styles come together, as Dennis Hopper presents his Method Napoleon, against Marie Windsor’s Hollywood Josephine. The two styles don’t quite gel, but Hopper’s speech about a “United States of Europe” is highly topical, considering French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s current ambitions.
The second clip has Harpo Marx as Isaac Newton discovering gravity and sliced apples with his harp.
Vincent Price is on sparkling form in An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe, in which the Master of Horror presents his unique interpretation of 4 tales by “the most original genius America has produced” - “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Sphinx”, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”. Directed by Kenneth Johnson, who later created the classic series V, this is a classic TV adaptation from 1970, capturing Price at his electrifying best.