With Halloween just a mere ten days away, the urge to fill your evenings with spooky entertainment if you are like me is at an all time high. Thankfully we have our friends over at Scream Factory making it quite a bit easier for us with the epic Vincent Price Collection II release today on Blu-Ray. All seven of these film in fact are making their Blu-Ray debut in this collection!
The Raven (1963)
One of the entries in the Roger Corman “Poe” series, the fifth entry in fact and written by Richard Matheson, the Raven’s story focuses on Dr. Eramus Craven (Price), who is actually a Wizard. One evening he is disturbed by a Raven at his window, who is a fellow Wizard named Dr. Adolphus Bedlo (Peter Lorre) and has been transformed in an unfair duel of magics against Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff). Craven is able to help Bedlo revert back to his human form which gives him a momentary respite in his deep grieving of his dearly departed Lenore (Hazel Court). The two soon join forces against Dr. Scarabus in this comedic American International Pictures release from back in 1963.
Introduction and Parting Words by Vincent Price
Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Raven
Corman’s Comedy of Poe
The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
Though released in the US in 1964, the Comedy of Terrors once again teams up Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff in a comedic horror outing. Although this time American International Pictures includes Basil Rathbone and Joe E. Brown in the mix of the titans of terror. The story for the Comedy of Terrors is of an underhanded undertaker, Waldo Trumbull (Price) and that of his assistant Felix (Lorre), both of the scoundrels have a nasty habit of reusing the coffins of clients they are supposed to have buried. Times are getting tougher though for the two and their landlord, John F Black (Rathbone), begins to demand his rent the two must search out more lucrative…and shady…means of filling their empty coffers.
Introduction and Parting Words By Vincent Price
Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Comedy of Terrors
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
The eighth and final release in the Roger Corman “Poe” series, the Tomb of Ligeia is not a comedic look at the works of Edgar Allen Poe such as the Raven. Directed by Corman himself it involves Vardel Fell (Price) who finds himself in a bad situation, he is sure his departed Wife, Ligeia (Elizabeth Shepherd), is haunting the mansion where he resides with his new bride Rowena (Also Shepherd), he fears his former Wife may even be possessing a cat to bring to bring about a type of revenge from the great beyond. Can he find the courage to enter the tomb of Ligeia and put an end to the haunting?
Introduction and Final Words By Vincent Price
Audio Commentary By Producer/Director Roger Corman
New Audio Commentary With Elizabeth Shepherd
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Right up front I have to tell you I think this and The Return of the Fly are the shining jewels in this impressive collection, every movie is great naturally but these two films are some of my favorite Vincent Price films. Based off the groundbreaking Richard Matheson novel “I Am Legend” and written with a screenplay worked on by Matheson himself this film in my opinion is the best filmed adaptation so far…even if the author didn’t feel the same way.
When Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) finds himself as the last remaining soul unaffected by a devastating plague that has turned the rest of the world into Vampires he is forced to barricade himself in his home every single night in an effort to survive. Spending his lonely days wandering a dead city, searching for supplies and to find the lairs of the undead so he may drive stakes into their hearts and end what he sees as their torment. Dr. Morgan has lost everything, his Wife and Child, and even his friend and fellow scientist has become one of the bloodthirsty hordes beating at the barricades once the sun has set, calling for him to come out of his makeshift fortress. But is he truly the Last Man on Earth?
Richard Matheson Storyteller: The Last Man on Earth
Audio Commentary With Authors David Del Valle and Derek Botelho (David and Derek have some amazing background detail involving the production of this film as well as Vincent Price)
Dr. Phibes Rises Again! (1972)
Dr. Anton Phibes (Price) returns in this sequel to The Abominable Dr. Phibes, it’s been three years since the madman terrorized England with his elaborate and darkly comical plans of revenge against those who failed to save his Wife, Victoria (Caroline Munro), on the operating table. Upon waking from his slumber he discovers that his once majestic house has been demolished and the scrolls he planned on using to bring about life to Victoria have been stolen. So with the aid of his assistant Vulnavia (Valli Kemp)…who has somehow survived her brush with a face full of acid from the first movie…the duo begin a quest around the world to track down the main culprit, in this case Darrus Biederbeck (Robert Quarry) who just so happens to be hundreds of years old.
The Return of the Fly (1959)
In this sequel to the 1958 classic, we learn that many years have passed since the tragic accident struck the Delambre family, a scientific mishap that resulted in Andre Delambre having parts of his DNA switched with that of a house fly that stows away during the testing of his matter transporter. Now his Son, Phillipe (Brett Halsey), is driven to prove his deceased Father’s theories were sound by finishing up the matter transporter but is stalled by the lack of funds to complete construction on the equipment. When his Uncle Francois (Price) refuses to lend him money to finish the technology he resorts to threats of dissolving the Delambre corporation to get his way. Securing the funds he and his assistant Alan Hines (David Frankham) are able to successfully craft a working transporter, the problem is that Alan is in fact an industrial spy who plans on using the tech to make a fortune to the highest bidder and he will do anything to make sure he succeeds.
Audio Commentary With Actor Brett Halsey and Film Historian David Del Valle
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
The last film in the collection is the William Castle directed and produced classic, House on Haunted Hill. Vincent Price stars as Frederick Loren, a millionaire that has ‘graciosuly’ invited five complete strangers to a party in honor of his Wife, Annabelle (Carol Ohmart). Each of the guests will be paid a sum of $10,000 if they are able to spend the entire evening at the House on Haunted Hill.
Audio Commentary By Film Historian Steve Haberman
Vincent Price: Renaissance Man Featurette
The Art of Fear Featurette
Working with Vincent Price Featurette
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we fans of horror, of retro horror in particular really need to thank the folks at Scream Factory for continuously delivering quality releases and the bonus features they include. Scream Factory still has a big dose of treats in their bag of tricks for next week and it’s a film that I’ve been waiting to see for a very long time and I bet so have many of you!