Vincent Price: Master of Horror
The reasons to love Vincent Price are too plentiful to count. He was a master of acting and a collector of art, a gourmet chef and a published author, a lover of poetry and a political activist. Yes, Vincent Price can be counted amongst the great renaissance men of the twentieth century but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. Although Price is a man of many, many titles, one title remains his most remembered and most beloved: Master of Horror.
The dastardly and debonaire Vincent Price
Although he may have started his film career as a debonair character actor, Price’s legacy will forever be linked to his impressive resume of horror films. Believe it or not, his first leading role in a horror movie did not even occur until almost 20 years into his acting career. After years of playing the vengeful anti-hero or villainous cad, Price solidified his legacy in 1953 with his starring role in House of Wax.
In House of Wax, Price plays ambitious museum owner/artist, Henry Jarrod, driven to madness and murder by a societal force not within his control. Not inherently an evil or cruel man, Jarrod’s evolution from a man of culture to a man of murder stems from when his years of work as a wax sculpture artist are stolen away from him as his business partner sets fire to their museum for the insurance money. Although Price’s transformation is violent, it is not entirely unsympathetic. With this portrayal of culture and madness, of vulnerability and menace, Price molded the prototype that would lead him to silver screen immortality.
Very fittingly, Turner Classic Movies has chosen Vincent Price as their October Star of the Month. So, if you have not had the chance to engage yourself with Mr. Price yet then this is your chance. The last Thursdays in the month are entirely dedicated to his status as Horror Icon, starting with House of Wax, The Tingler, and House on Haunted Hill among others on October 24th. And of course, Halloween falls on Thursday this year, so if you’re like me and are finally ready to admit that you are too old for trick or treating, then just stay home, and join Robert Osborne to watch Pit and the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and more.
Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub