Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has chosen Vincent Price as its Star of the Month for October. The Merchant of Menace with the special gift for the macabre is among the most beloved actors to ever grace our screens and a perfect choice to be the classics network’s featured player during the spookiest month of the year.
By all accounts a lovely man, Vincent Price leaves a lasting impression both because of his impressive physique and by way of his unmistakable voice. Oh yes, and he happened to be a wonderful actor as well, a standard for a genre of entertainment. I’m always excited, if a bit tingly with chills when I watch films in which he starred. Price’s looks, screams, diatribes and poetry, which most of what he said sounded like, are ever thrilling. There will never be another like him and the unique brand of black humor he injected into so many moments of horror is appreciated by fans of all genre of film.
“The horror thriller offers the serious actor unique opportunities to test his ability to make the unbelievable believable.”
As my own small tribute to the legend of Vincent Price and to kick off October on Once Upon a Screen, I offer his sights and sounds – The Vincent Price of Fear.
Given Vincent Price’s gift of ceremonial oration it should be no surprise that he had a long a distinguished career on radio. I could have chosen any number of performances to feature here, but I went with three episodes of a popular BBC Radio series Price hosted starting in 1973, The Price of Fear. You can read all about the series here. If you take the time to listen to these episodes, you’ll note the series was produced with great care and features outstanding music, which enhances Price’s talents in the arena of the eery. I’m not ashamed to admit I am forced to listen to these with the lights on.
The Price of Fear: “An Eye for an Eye”
The Price of Fear: “Cats Cradle”
Embedding of the third episode I want to feature is not allowed, but I simply couldn’t exclude it from this post. This is an episode of The Price of Fear with Price and special guest star, Peter Cushing. Entitled, “The Man Who Hated Scenes” it’s fabulous entertainment – two masters at play. Listen to it here.
And here it is, the ultimate tribute by Tim Burton with whom I have one thing in common – I grew up watching and listening to Vincent Price:
Films featuring Vincent Price alone make October special on TCM, although I have to say that the network, which is gearing up toward the celebration of its 20th anniversary in April has really been knocking the schedule out of the park of late. September, for instance, featured the first five episodes of The Story of Film: An Odyssey – a 15-episode documentary directed and narrated by Mark Cousins. Individual episodes of the documentary are presented on Mondays each week supplemented by a line-up of feature films related to each episode. The entire festival, which runs through December, is dedicated to over 100 years of world film history and will include 119 movies from 29 countries, many of them TCM premieres. In addition, the month of September on TCM offered the “Sundays with Hitch” month-long festival, which was fantastic. Only the likes of a Vincent Price could quell our appetite for more fabulous and the network is meeting that demand. For classics geeks like me, October and horror just got classier and I expect social media – in my circles in any case – will be very lively indeed for 31 days.
And, by the way, as if the films featuring Price are not enough enjoyable Halloween fare, TCM is also spotlighting another festival dedicated to the ghostly with “Friday Night Spooklight,” which will feature classic films sure to put chills in my old, scaredy-cat bones. Check the TCM schedule for details. Worth noting also with regards to other October film standouts on TCM is a special article by Martin Scorsese posted on the TCM site in which he discusses his own October Highlights and recommendations.
My comfy chair is in place, pillows are propped and DVR is set to go is all I’m sayin’.
Welcome to October 2013 blogosphere – the Vincent Price of Fear month.