Mettel Ray has started an interesting blog-a-thon at her site: “My Movie Alphabet”. The concept is pretty simple and straightforward: for each letter of the alphabet, plus one for numbers and symbols, choose something movie-related that fits that letter and represents some corner of your movie viewing. It sounded like fun, so I’ve decided to take a crack at it. It proved challenging in places, and I know a lot of this is subject to constant flux, but here’s my list. Continue reading
Since I reviewed The Abominable Dr. Phibes last Saturday, it seemed only appropriate to follow it up a week later with the 1972 sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Vincent Price stars in the title role again, and Robert Fuest is the director of the film once more. Additionally, Peter Jeffreys and John Cater return as Inspector Trout and Superintendent Waverly, though in this film they’re even more comic relief than before, with their dialogue usually being good for a few laughs. Virginia North is replaced as Vulnavia by Valli Kemp; how she returns is as unexplained as her basic nature. Continue reading
One of my minor regrets about last Halloween season was that I didn’t manage to get any Vincent Price in, as I had intended to do. I’m rectifying that this year, with The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a 1971 film directed by Robert Fuest. Price stars in the title role; it’s a normal role for him in that it’s a highly intelligent villain, but at the same time it has a distinct irregularity. Dr. Phibes is, aside from the occasional assistance from a machine, mute: Price has to do most of his acting without the benefit of his voice, and even during the few scenes where he does get the chance to monologue, it has to be dubbed in afterward, as his character cannot move his lips due to a traumatic accident. Continue reading
Leaves are turning colors and falling, kids are picking out costumes, and stores are putting up their Christmas decorations. It must be October, and there are two things I can look forward to during this month: walls of fog and spooky movies. It’s time again to break out some Halloween Haunters, those horror flicks, monster movies, and generally Halloween-themed films. The blog will be ditching its usual blue and white in favor of some orange and black, and an all-new Halloween banner has been put in place, with some classic monsters created by yours truly. And, as usual, all Halloween posts will keep the banner even after the season has passed. Continue reading
I’ve commented before that when watching Vincent Price movies, at least other than those rare few where he’s playing a non-villainous character, I like to see what the Price-to-Murder time is; that is to say, how long it takes after Vincent Price’s first appearance for him to kill somebody. Alfred L. Welker’s 1946 film Shock may be the record-holder, getting both out of the way very quickly. Vincent Price shows up around six and a half minutes in, and his character kills his wife at about the seven minute mark.
Unfortunately for him, his crime, committed in the heat of the moment, is witnessed. Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw) is awaiting her long-lost husband Lt. Paul Stewart (Frank Latimer), who has just returned from being a prisoner of war, and her hotel room gives her a perfect view of the argument and killing. However, she is so horrified by what she has seen that, on top of the anticipation of finally seeing her husband again, it puts her in a state of catatonic shock. When Paul finds her, he calls for a doctor, who soon refers him to the best psychologist in the area: Vincent Price’s character, Dr. Richard Cross. Continue reading
In the 1980s, Disney’s animation department was not in a particularly good place. The last few pictures hadn’t been particularly successful critically or commercially. Reportedly, there was even talk of abandoning the department (though it seems like Disney without animation would be a grand example of shooting oneself in the foot.) In 1986, the film The Great Mouse Detective was released; while it did not kick off what would become the Disney Renaissance, it did start laying the groundwork, being a relatively successful film and confirming that Disney could still be profitable producing animation.
Somehow, despite being a kid in the 80s whose parents bought and rented many Disney pictures, I never saw The Great Mouse Detective (nor the next feature, Oliver and Company). I suspect this may have been due to my parents’ tendency to rent films for us when we were sick and home from school, and my tendency to get sick less often than my siblings. So I missed out on this film for many years, and just recently was able to rectify that situation. I’m glad I did. Continue reading
Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, and while it wouldn’t be his last Christmas story, it’s far and away the most enduring of them, and today even surpasses his non-holiday works in popularity and recognition. It seemed like a logical choice for a “Version vs. Version” article, with the main question being which of its dozens of adaptations to compare it to. While I’ll be touching on some general trends, I decided to focus on the 1949 TV adaptation, for a few reasons. First, at 25 minutes, it was easy to fit into my schedule (I don’t like to “phone it in”, but today was kind of busy.) Secondly, parts of it are narrated from the text of the book, and much of the dialogue is lifted from it, making it easy to see where corners are cut and elements are glossed over. And third, that narration is done by Vincent Price, and I think we’ve all figured out by now I enjoy watching Vincent Price. (It’s a shame, really, that he couldn’t have had a major role in the work, but at that time he was too young for Scrooge, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is traditionally silent.)
I will assume most of you are familiar with the basic story, and so I’ll jump right into the review of the special and the comparison. Continue reading
It shouldn’t be possible to be disappointed when you expect a movie to be bad. I knew after watching Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine that the sequel would no doubt be just as bad, and I decided to watch it out of the same morbid curiosity that drove me to watch the first. But Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs actually succeeds in being worse than than its predecessor, partly because it’s possible to see how it could have been better, but largely because it’s just put together with a much lower degree of competence.
Really, if it weren’t for Vincent Price and for hordes of scantily-clad women, there’d be no redeeming qualities to these films at all. Continue reading
James Bond debuted in theatres in 1962, with Dr. No. It didn’t take very long for spy spoofs to start showing up; in fact, after the release of Goldfinger in 1965, there was a veritable explosion of spoofs and knockoffs, from the Dean Martin Matt Helm series of films to the classic TV series Get Smart. American International Pictures, known for B-grade horror movies and their series of truly insipid beach party movies (this’ll prove important) got into the act with 1965′s Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. You can just feel the intelligence dripping off that title, can’t you? (Or is that your brains leaking out your ears?) I had a suspicion, I have no idea why, that this might not be a very good film. But it stars Vincent Price in the title role, and I was morbidly curious, so I decided to give it a chance.
That’s the hazard of being curious about how bad a movie can be. You tend to get an answer. Continue reading
The Bat, starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead (Endora from Bewitched), is the third film version of a 1920 Broadway play. Moorehead plays Cornelia van Gorder, a renowned mystery author (reminiscent of Agatha Christie) who has rented a mansion in the small town of Zenith for the summer. Van Gorder has moved into the mansion with her maid, Lizzie (Lenita Lane), but quickly loses most of her staff due to them walking out after hearing about the goings-on in town the past winter. The mystery author has found herself in the middle of a mystery; there is a serial killer in town known only as “The Bat” who appears to be at large once again.