VINCENT PRICE: MGM SCREAM LEGENDS...
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
What's it about
This set collects some of Vincent Priceís best films, including Tales of Terror , Twice Told Tales, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Dr. Phibes Rises Again!, Theatre of Blood, Madhouse and Witchfinder General. It also has a bonus disc with roughly an hour worth of interviews, none with Price.
Is it good movie?
Itís sort of funny when one thinks about it. How does a man, an actor, become stuck in a certain genre? Sure, guys like Schwarzenegger and Statham do action flicks because of their acting limitations. But what about someone like Vincent Price? An accomplished theater actor, art critic, and chef, Price became forever connected with horror. And not just any sort of horror. He became equated with Poe and Shakespeare, historical periods of death and destruction. Even if a film were set in modern times, Priceís character would seem out of place, out of connection with the world. His characters often seemed sad, but never without a fight in them for what they believed. And in an age of cinema where killers seem massive, unstoppable, and unreal, Price was anything but. Sure, he played nearly all his characters with a certain level of camp, but he also injected a level of realism. In films like The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood he played very real men with very real emotions. And that -- along with his moustache and distinct voice -- made him more than just an actor. He became a horror icon.
So with that long introduction the question remains: Is the Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection any good? Yes. Yes. Very damn good. This set contains seven of some of his better movies, starting with 1962ís Tales of Terror and concluding with his final, true horror picture Madhouse in 1974. Price made films that no one has been able to duplicate. Yes, people have made camp horror since, but Price had a way of delivering lines without undermining the script. He didnít make it all seem like a ridiculous, worthless film. In fact, this set has a few of my favorite Price outings, notably The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood. Both these films (including, of course, the Phibes sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again!) exhibit Priceís sense of camp best. It also contains some brutal, bloody scenes that were no doubt some of the most violent up to that period.
I even dug Madhouse for all its flaws. Itís simply not as well rounded as the other films, even though some of the bonus DVDís critics referred to it as Priceís Sunset Boulevard. On the other hand, one of the more underrated movies collected here is Witchfinder General (one I just discovered and reviewed for this very website), which has him rounding up suspected witches throughout the English countryside and performing good old-fashioned executions.
Now the older flicks, Tales of Terror and Twice Told Tales, are well done and great, but frankly, I just enjoy 70s era films more than 60s. Maybe thatís just me. However, if youíre a Roger Corman fan, Tales of Terror remains a must-see classic. Then again with Halloween quickly approaching, any one of these films begs, no, screams for a viewing. And to own all seven for a decent price, whatís not to love here.
Video / Audio
All these discs are presented in mono sound and widescreen format. They're a little grainy, but that only adds the film if you ask me.
The set advertises a bonus disc, which contains three docs totaling about an hour.
Vincent Price: Renaissance Man: A 30 minute doc that explores the other aspects of Priceís life, including his love for art, theater, and food. Basically, it contains everything beyond the realm of horror, which makes it nice to see other sides of his life.
The Art of Fear: A 12 minute look that examines the horror side of his career. Itís an interesting, nearly in-depth view, but 12 minutes? I think they could have dug a tad deeper on this one considering his legend status.
Working with Price: Fifteen minutes of interviews with critics telling stories about his co-stars. One would think that this would contain interviews with some of Priceís former co-stars telling stories about him. Youíd be fooled. Itís a bunch of critics telling tales about his co-stars. Sub-par and disappointing to say the least.
For either Price fans or someone who's always wanted to see what all the fuss was about, the Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection is a great set that any so-called horror fan should own. Get it and some good booze and enjoy!