The House on Haunted Hill (1959)If you can survive the night inside this house you will receive 10,000 dollars or you could end up in a pit of acid. Vincent Price stars as a millionaire who wants to throw a party of sorts and gives random strangers the chance to better their lives. This movie while a little dated has a lot of great things going for it, loud screaming ladies, really nice atmosphere, and the coolest container for small firearms ever! It also doesn't waste time (a trim 75 minutes running time) and this movie is a great primer if your about to head to Disney World and ride the Haunted Mansion for the first time. First class deadly dealsploitation!
Even better it's 100% Chris Kattan-free!
The House of 1000 Dolls (1968)Price is a traveling stage magician who helps capture women into the illegal slave trade. The thrust of the movie is a man trying to find the killers of his friend who was killed trying to free one of the girls from the House of Dolls. Some fun, but mostly dull, especially considering the premise was ripe for exploitation. Ripe, I Say! But Price does do some grand posturing in a top hat and cape. Mmmmmm.
My internet connection was down this morning (overnight) so I couldn't stream the Price flick I had pre-selected. I might still do that later today and post a 2nd review if I have time because LOOPHOLESPLOITATION! :-)THE FLY (1958) on DVD.Look at this trailer for "The Fly" and tell me Vincent Price's faux sincerity doesn't make you want to see this movie right now! He might be third-billed in the cast but "The Fly" is a V.P. movie because, playing against type, he's both the audience surrogate and the "normal" guy coming to terms with the madness happening around him to his loved one's. Cronenberg's remake highlights the scientist-loved one couple (which here are kind-of animated props) instead of the third-wheel Price-like character played by John Getz. Nice switch, David. ;-)The original "Fly" starts/ends kind-of weird as a Canadian police procedural and has way too much padding (15-20 minutes could easily be chopped off). It reflects the mentality and censorship of its time so much (François' admission that he once was in love with Helene adds a somewhat twisted character motivation to his actions) it still ends up having the trappings of a silly monster movie, but a stylish-as-heck one. It's a 50's time capsule, the same way Cronenberg's remake captured the zeitgeist of the 80's horror boom. The ending is genuinely fucked-up and terrifying, even if it ends up giving Herbert Marshall a chance to get in on the sci-fi fun and kick-start the Hays Code-mandated happy ending.
Loopholesploitation made me laugh.
Madhouse (1974)This AIP picture serves as both an affectionate tribute to Price's career, and as a pretty good mystery film in its own right. Price chews the scenery nicely as Paul Toombes, an actor who can't escape the shadow of his fictional creation, "Dr. Death." Peter Cushing is also on hand to lend his cadaverous support. I guessed the solution to the mystery pretty early on, but it was still fun to watch. And the evil Coke machine has made its third Junesploitation appearance!
This is what I watched, but I didn't think it made any sense. Did Price fake his death? And what's up with him walking out of the movie screen at the end? It made me sad to see two horror icons slumming it. Still, good makeup and costume for Dr. Death. No AIP picture can ever be all bad.
Theater Of Blood (1973)Price is a Shakespearean actor murdering the critics he feels have wronged him. While it definitely shares DNA with the two Dr. Phibes movies, those were a lot more fun. This one had some great moments, but overall seemed to have less of a sense if humor about itself (though there were several intentionally funny moments). Price is great as always, but at times felt like he was in a separate movie from everybody else. Anyway, go watch the Phibes movies, they're both great.
Um...sense OF humor, I mean. Oops.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)Not a great Disney movie, but it's fun enough. Vincent's turn as the evil Professor Rattigan is a blast to watch, his grand gestures and outrageous presence carry much more of the movie than they should. But it was nice to hear an actor actually having fun giving a voice performance rather than just collecting a paycheck.
SHOCK (1946) on Amazon Prime for the first time.I should have quit while I was ahead with "The Fly." This by-the-numbers wannabe-noir psychological thriller does little with the interesting premise of a woman (Anabel Shaw) paralyzed from shock being treated by the doctor (V.P.) whom she saw kill his own wife. Price, whose appearance without his trademark mustache feels odd (ABSENCE-OF-'STACHESPLOITATION!), has little chemistry with his wannabe-femme fatale girlfriend (Lynn Bari) and is riddled with so much Hays Code-sanctioned guilt his character is never allowed to cut loose and be anything other than a guilt-ridden pussy. For V.P. completists only.
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. This movie is awesome. Price plays a devil-worshipping prince who throws lavish parties in his castle while the poor on the outside die of the plague. Like the Universal monster classics, this movie drops you into a world that looks like a historic drama but is high fantasy. It’s got the “dream logic” thing going on, while also dealing with all the big, big questions about faith and control (Academi-sploitation!). Price is great, as he can be intimidating even when wearing olive-colored tights. I also liked Jane Asher as the plucky girl hero always trying to escape the castle. Great stuff all around.
Masque is my favorite of the Poe Cycle films. Certainly the most lavish of the bunch.
Laura (1944)Deep-cutsploitation!Price isn't really the star of this movie, but he's really good in it. It's a better than average murder mystery about the investigation of a woman's murder until OMG SPOILERSPLOITATION! Suddenly the movie goes from good to great. I really dig how Dana Andrews plays with the little marble puzzle throughout the movie. One of my favorite movies that fall under the brand of Filnm Noir.NOIRSPLOITATION! I keep expecting that kjoke to get old, and it just hasn't. JOKESPLOITATION!
The Last Man on Earth (1964)Not really one of VP's exploitation movies, but one which I had never seen. It's good -- he gets to play against type and the stark B&W photography is really effective. The only thing that could have improved it would be a bunch of CGI vampire zombies. And Shrek references.
I like that movie. It's based on the same short story (I Am Legend) that the Will Smith movie is from, but the Vincent Price movie sticks a lot closer to the source material. The Will Smith movie pisses all over that source material.
Also The Omega Man, which I still haven't seen. I'm guessing there are a lot of Shrek references in that one.
Yes, Heston took the script home one day and when he brought it back it was full of Shrek references. He even wrote his additions in green ink. Have you read the original short story? And why does Will Smith ruin good things?
I still like I Am Legend. It's not as good as The Last Man on Earth but it does have a subplot of a guy going alphabetically through a DVD collection. This is what I would do if I were the last man on Earth. Can't wait until I get to Shrek! And Shrek 2. I might have to offer myself to the zombies before Shrek the Third.
House of Usher (1960)I guess I've been a fan of Edgar Allen Poe in the sense that I read a bunch of his stuff. But I've never actually seen a movie based off of his stories (except for "The Raven" which was kind of the worst) and I have no idea why because this was great! And I'm going to watch all of them. Parts of House of Usher were pretty creepy and the paintings were downright terrifying. Crazy eyes!