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Ten Best Vincent Price Films

This article is devoted to reviewing what I consider to be the ten best Vincent Price movies ever made. Ten movies; Twenty + hours of great movie viewing. Why not gather together your friends and family and host your own Vincent Price Movie Marathon! A great activity for Halloween or any other day!

Why Vincent Price?

Well for starters, because he is my favorite actor. Can you think of a better reason?

Okay, other reasons. Let’s see. He’s gorgeous at every age. He’s got a voice like velvet. He’s spooky. He’s creepy. He can scare the pants off you without a single drop of blood. Best of all, he’s an actor; a real actor who can actually act like an actor, in other words he acts instead of relying on special effects, something very few actors do anymore. What this world needs is a come back of the classically trained actors, than maybe the movies being made today could be good movies based on good acting rather than good special effects.

Vincent Price didn’t need special effects to fall back on. When you’ve got an actor who’s that good, you’ve got a rare gem, a true treasure to cherish, for such an actor is rare and few.

None can outshine Vincent Price. All hail the crown prince of horror!

Why Did You Choose the Ten You Chose?
And on what scale did you judge them?

When you have a man who has stared in more than 80 films and guest stared in countless other films, plus TV shows and commercials, it’s hard to narrow the list down to just ten. Why did I choose these ten? Because they are the ten that I find myself going back to watch again and again. Actually, I find myself going back to watch a lot more than ten, but I narrowed it down to these being the ten I enjoy watching the most.

On what scale did I judge them? You mean, like how many awards did they win? How many of them were big selling smash hits? How many of them made movie history? That kind of scale? Is that what you mean? Hhhhmmmm. Me thinks, me hears the voice of someone who does not know Vincent Price. How can I tell? Easy. Vincent Price won no awards. Other than for his cameo appearance in The Ten Commandments, none of his movies were big hits or huge box office sellers. None were big productions. In fact, Vincent Price is celebrated for the fact that he stared in low budget films and relied on good acting over special effects to make his movies good. Most of his movies were filmed in 2 to 3 weeks time, with very little scenery, and costumes and sets that were used over and over again throughout most of his films. Indeed some of them very were little more than “backyard home movies” by today’s standards.

So why than did I choose them? Because, without awards, without rave reviews, and without special effects, these films have stood the test of time to become cult classics, showcasing the talents of a man who knew how to take a good story and bring it to life with good acting.

#1: House On Haunted Hill

Vincent Price at his spookiest best. Price stars as an eccentric millionaire, who rents a haunted house for his 5th wife’s birthday party, telling the guests he will pay $10,000 to anyone who can survive the night. His last four wives died mysteriously, and wife number five suspects this party is a cover to end her life. But before the party can even begin, the guests are locked in a house with a history of violent murder. One by one the ghosts begin picking off the guests. Well there be anyone left alive to collect the reward money? With heads in the closet and a vat of acid in the basement, it’s now a fight just to stay alive till morning.

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#2: Theater of Blood

One of his later movies and also one of his very few bloody gore filled movies, made when the slasher films where just climbing from their cribs. Vincent Price was known for his ability to scare the pants of you without ever showing a drop of blood or a bit of gore. Theater of Blood is one of the rare exceptions. This is Vincent Price at his most gruesome. Vincent Price plays an aged actor rebuffed by critics in favor of a newer younger actor. To raise the new young star to fame the critics write cruel reviews thus destroying Price’s career. Devastated Price commits suicide, but unknown to the world is rescued by a band of gypsies. Years later he comes back to seek revenge on the critics who destroyed his career, using a murder scene from each of the shows they criticized to kill them off one by one in on screen gruesome detail.

NOTE: Several scenes in this movie go into graphic detail and may be too disturbing for many viewers.

#3: The Pit and The Pendulum

A double dose of horror’s best: Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe together at last, a match made in… hell? This movie combines three Edgar Allan Poe stories: Annabelle Lee & The Premature Burial & The Pit and The Pendulum.

In this movie we are taken back through time to a castle by the sea in 1500’s Spain, where Price plays a man who locks himself away in his castle by the sea to morn the death of his beloved wife. Friends and family come to his aid in attempt to end his suffering, but are horrified to learn that he fears he has buried his dearly beloved too soon. Distraught and nearing madness Price is driven to the dungeons to dig up his wife’s grave, tormented by the thought that he has buried her alive. Upon finding his fears to be true, he is driven over the edge into the utter brink of madness. No longer in control of his sanity, Price descends into the castles deepest dungeons where lies a torture chamber with it’s deep pit painted to resemble the fires of hell and it’s giant pendulum swinging to slice his victims in two.

What starts out as a slow moving movie, ends with a climax that has gone down in movie history as one of the scariest scenes ever filmed. This is my favorite movie ending as well as my favorite Vincent Price movie. I can’t watch it enough.

#4: The Master of the World

I found this to be an interesting and quite unusual movie for Vincent Price to be in. Why? Well for starters this is a fantasy film which appears to have been made for a younger audience and can almost be called a children’s or family film which runs no where’s near his usual horror films. Based on the book by Jules Vern, in Master of The World Vincent plays a mad scientist during the Victorian era who has created a strange flying machine, which is capable of wiping out entire countries. Price takes his machine on a world tour, blowing up weapons factories and battle ships on his way. His mission: create world peace and put an end to war once and for all or destroy the world instead. The special effects don’t meet up with today’s standards, but were amazing for the time this film was made.

#5: The Fall of the House of Usher

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Vincent Price’s first of many Edgar Allan Poe movies. The first of his low budget, fast filmed movies, House of Usher was created and filmed in a record breaking 16 days. The set and costumes from this film would go on to be reused over and over again in most of Price’s films throughout the rest of the 1960’s, allowing him to make 4 or 5 movies in each of the years to follow.

House of Usher became the standard from which Price would set the acting style he was most famous for: Gothic Aghast Horror. While Price had dabbled in horror in his early movies, his career had scattered about in other genres as well, leaving him billed by producers (and reviewed by critics) only as a character actor who played the sidelines. House of Usher was the turning point of Price’s career that would lay down the foundation of his horror career and set him out as one of horror’s great icons.

Price plays Roderic Usher, the last in the line of the wealthy Usher family. A family cursed with ill health and short life. Generations of madness and murder have haunted the Usher family and all of it took place in the family castle: The House of Usher. Roderic believes the house to be alive, possessed. Believing himself possessed by his house, he lives alone, tormented by the doom that awaits him, waiting to be killed by his house.

But wait…did I say he was the last? No, there is one other, still alive. His sister was traveling abroad and has returned to say that she shall marry and never return to him, his house, or his madness. Roderic cannot allow this; he cannot allow the family curse to spread and so devises a plot to bury his sister alive. But on the eve of her funeral, her soon-to-be-husband arrives and discovers that all is not well in this house of insanity. He attempts to put an end to Roderic’s madness, but can he do it before the house takes actions into its own hands and kills them all?

Quote From The House of Usher:

Roderick: This House, than it seems normal to you?

Philip: The House is neither normal nor abnormal. It is just a house.

Roderick: You are very wrong, Mr. Winthrop! This House is centuries old. It was brought here from England and with it every evil rooted in its stones…

Philip: You really believe this?

Roderick: Evil is not just a word! It is a reality. Like any living thing it can be created and was created by these people… The history of the Ushers is a savage history of degradation and always in this house! Always! In THIS HOUSE! The evil which fills it is no illusion. For hundreds of years foul thoughts and foul deeds have been committed in these walls. The House itself is evil now.

Philip: I do not believe it.

Roderick: Mr. Winthrop, do you think those coals jumping out of the fire at you was an accident? Do you think that chandelier falling was an accident? Do you think that falling casket was an accident?

Philip: Are you trying to tell me that the House made those things happen?

Roderick: Yes.

Philip: You are mad! I will not listen to you! … Is there no end to your horrors?

Roderick: No.

#6: The House of Long Shadows

Another of Price’s later films. This is your classic haunted house story with a twist. A best-selling author takes on a bet with his publisher, who says he cannot write another bestseller in the next 24 hours. On top of having to complete a book in 24 hours, he must do it in an abandoned haunted house to boot.

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Upon arriving at the house, he quickly discovers that the house is not quite as abandoned as people believed. While trying to write his book he is disturbed by first one person and than another, until the house is bustling with people who claim to be celebrating a family reunion… a family reunion that involves releasing one member of the family who has been locked away in a room in the tower for the last 50 years. Fifty years of planning and plotting and waiting to seek revenge on those who locked him away. With dead bodies showing up around every corner, what’s a poor writer to do, when he picked tonight of all nights to spend in The House of Long Shadows?

This all star horror cast includes Vincent Price in his usual sinister role of doomed man cursed by the family home and Christopher Lee as a man who is not quite what he seems to be.

#7: The Raven

A strange little film made for children, in which horror may very well be the funniest thing to happen to you. Vincent Price teams up with Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff in this horror spoof that makes light of every horror movie scare feature.

Price plays a wizard who is content to live a peaceful life, quoting doomed poetry over the body of his dead wife, whose coffin lies in the front hallway of his castle.

Meanwhile Boris Karloff is an evil wizard who seeks to learn the secrets of Price’s great power.

One night while reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, Price is visited by such a bird. The bird in question turns out to be a bumbling wizard (played by Peter Lorre) with an evil spell cast upon him, by Karloff. Once Price reverses the spell, he and Lorre take off to Karloff’s castle to seek revenge and meet up with a silly battle of wits in a wizards duel against the evil Boris Karloff.

Filmed as a comedy, this family friendly G rated DVD is often sold as a children’s Halloween movie, and is rarely billed as a horror.

If you can find them, there was once a very short run of 12″ action figure/dolls of the three main characters for this movie.

#8 The Abominable Dr. Phibes
#9: Dr. Phibes Rises Again

The great Dr. Phibes and his beloved wife were killed in a car accident. While Phibes died instantly his wife lived long enough to die on the operating table. Ten years after their deaths, the doctors who had treated the wife begin to die from the Biblical 10 plagues of Egypt. Detectives are baffled as to how or why these murders are taking place.

One of Price’s most famous, and most chilling, roles. Part murder mystery, part horror, this movie was originally filmed in two parts as two separate movies, which are best watched together as one film.

NOTE: Some scenes in this movie may be too disturbing for some viewers.

The costumes on this epic length film, based on the art of Erte`, are amazing.

#10 Vincent by Tim Burton

This is a cute annimated/claymation movie created by Tim Burton (his first). In this one-man show, Vincent Price plays a boy named Vincent who believes he is Vincent Price trapped in an Edgar Allan Poe book and suffers the dire consequences.