Parlor of Horror’s Top 5: “Gothic” Vincent Price Films

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Hello Everyone! Vic here to present another great post and contribution from my good pal, Mike from Parlor of Horror. This time, Mike is presenting his Top 5: Favorite “Gothic” Vincent Price Films. Please remember to visit Mike’s great page from here for awesome Movie Reviews, Horror Fiction Writing Tips, Monster Model Pics and Horror Novel Reviews!

My Top 5: Gothic Vincent Price Films

Guest Post by Mike from “Parlor of Horror”

1) The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

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Only loosely based on the Poe story, and set in 16th century Spain, Nicholas (Price) is slowly driven insane by ghostly apparitions of his recently deceased wife, Elizabeth (Barbara Steele). His brother-in-law, Francis, arrives to investigate his sister’s death and is caught up in the man’s madness. In the end, all of Nicholas’s relationships are severed. Vivid dark imagery of the massive castle, the pendulum device and Price portraying an insane man (donning a twisted smile and black cloak & headpiece), make this the epitome of gothic films. Directed by Roger Corman and screenplay by Richard Matheson. Distributed by AIP.

2) House of Wax (1953)

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Henry is a NY sculpture artist in the 1890’s. He needs funding for his art but his wax exhibit is not making any money. His manager/partner sees a way to collect money, by burning down Henry’s studio with Henry in it, and collect on the insurance. But, Henry does not die and exacts revenge against all who betrayed him, turning them into the art exhibits in his new wax museum of horrors. Look for Henry’s mute assistant played by a young Charles Bronson. A Warner Brothers film directed by Andre de Toth.

3) The Witchfinder General (1968) aka: The Conquerer Worm (Currently available on Netflix)

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Sadistic tale about Mathew Hopkins, a lawyer appointed by British Parliament to purge the country of witches. He has a unique way of determining a witch. The suspect is stabbed in the back many times with a holy dagger. If the suspect lives, he or she must be a witch and is sentenced to hanging (think about that for a second). He falls in love with a young maiden in a small town and he uses her father’s life as a bargaining tool for her reciprocation. Sometimes mistaken for the Corman/Poe series, this film was produced by Tigon Films, directed by Michael Reeves and distributed by AIP.

4) The House of Usher (1960)

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Roderick (Price) is quite mad in this tale, convinced that his sister, Madeline, must not marry and pass down a terrible mental illness in the family genes. Madeline’s fiancé, Phillip, comes to rescue her but almost succumbs in the process. Madeline seems to die, but is instead buried alive. When she awakes in a sarcophagus, she goes mad and fulfills Roderick’s prophecy.  Price has bleach blond hair in this film and turns on the Shakespearean-style melodrama. The first of the Corman/Poe releases whose success produced a series of 8 films in all. Screenplay by Richard Matheson. Distributed by AIP.

5) Tomb of Ligeia (1965)

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Verden Fell’s wife, Ligeia, promises to return before she dies. Time has passed but Verden is still consumed with the idea of Ligeia’s return. To his new wife’s dismay, Verden’s behavior becomes increasingly stranger when they move into his Abbey after their honeymoon. Rowena begins to believe that Ligeia has already returned in the deep hours of night and hiding by day in the body of a mysterious black cat. Though the ending is a little choppy, this fine Poe adaptation is a remarkably underrated film and one of Price’s classic character portrayals. Directed by Roger Corman, screenplay by Robert Towne and based on the Poe story of the same name. Distributed by AIP, this was the last of the 8 Corman/Poe films.

Honorable Mention:

The Raven (1963)

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I could have easily put this horror-comedy satire in 5th place, starring Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. It’s a fun film of battling wizards that is still entertaining every time I view it.

Please enjoy the Trailers Below!

Thanks Mike, for another great post for Vic’s Movie Den. We cannot wait for the next one!

– Vic

15 comments

  1. Cool list. I’d like to suggest both The Fly and The Last Man on Earth. BTW, Matthew Hopkins of The Witchfinder General wasn’t too off from reality. Suspected witches were often tied to a really long stake in ground and dipped in the water to see if they drowned. If she didn’t, she was obviously a witch and burned upon that stake. Win-win situation, right?

    • Crazy what men (and women) do to each other, and it’s all for power, under the guise of religion. Thanks for the info, reminds me of the Laurel and Hardy scene in Babes in Toyland (March of the Wooden Soldiers).

    • The 60’s were a great era for gothic films, from VP films to Hammer films to the Amicus more modern gothic movies, it’s a period in film history to be noted. Thanks for commenting Paul. 🙂

    • My pleasure, Mike, like always, man. I’m glad you liked it. This is one of my favorite articles you have done for me and “Vic’s Movie Den.” Always grateful and I cannot wait to see what you come up with next.

      As far as the top pic of Price, I saw it and was just captivated by it. What got me was the long and angular pose along with that amazing long, red cloak. So fucking stunning.

      Thanks so much again, Mike.

      Vic

  2. What a fun post! I love Vincent Price and just recently watched Mad House based on his recommendation. The Raven is a wonderful romp and I’m so glad it’s included. Thanks to both of you for this post 🙂

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