DVD Shopping Bag: Vincent Price Collection (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Source: Mania.com

This week, we have a real Halloween treat from Shout! Factory. The master of the macabre is back with six chilling tales of terror. The Vincent Price Collection includes FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960), THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963), THE MASQUE OF RED DEATH (1964), THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961), WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) and THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971). The creep factor will hit eleven with chilling bonus content that includes interviews with producer/director Roger Corman, audio commentaries, original theatrical trailers, still galleries and archival materials. This Blu-ray collection also includes a 24-page Collector’s book. That’s right, Maniacs. This is the first time these six films have been released on Blu-ray. 
 
Many of these films have been released before on DVD and, of course, VHS. Roger Corman holds the rights to many of these pictures, so seeing them on the big screen is a rarity in itself. Now you have the chance to pick up these classic chilling tales of terror in one incredible box set. There really is no better way to spend your holiday than with Vincent Price. 
 
Many of these, I have seen over and over again in the oddest of places. The first being the video stores in which I worked for years. They are either unrated or PG-13, which made them acceptable to show in all the video stores I worked at. The other place was English class. Yes, I had one of those teachers that loved Edgar Allan Poe enough to show us the cinematic versions of his tales, despite how loosely based they were. What fascinated me, with this box set, were the other films that had escaped my attention. The first is WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968), a ghastly portrayal of a very real character,  Matthew Hopkins, from a  dark time in England’s history. You may know the picture better as The Conqueror Worm. The second picture was a complete mystery to me and that was THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963). 
 
An incredible bonus feature into this dark world was the introduction of each film by Vincent Price. Shout! Factory obtained the right to show PBS introductions by Price that were recorded in 1982. A fire side chat with Price about the film both before and after and your evening is complete. WITCHFINDER GENERAL was my first Price Halloween treat and to learn that the film was a based on a real story made it all the more horrific. Price plays Matthew Hopkins, a man drunk with power who abuses his position to get whatever he wants. When Hopkins arrives at a small church and sees the priest’s niece, he declares the priest a witch all to have his way with her. The plot thickens when her betrothed, Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy) returns from the war and learns the truth. The colors are as incredible as Price’s wickedness. It was amazing to learn that director Michael Reeves wanted Donald Pleasance to play the Witchfinder General. Perhaps Reeves thought that Price’s appearance in the film would make it more of a fantasy picture than the realistic nightmare it truly was. Regardless, Price is cold, brutal and the true monster of this non whimsical story. The real dark note is brought home with Price’s final word on the film, thanks to PBS. 
 
THE HAUNTED PALACE is more on the dark fantasy side as Roger Croman re-teams with Vincent Price on this dark tale of magic. Price plays a Warlock named Joseph Curwen who is burned at the stake. Over one hundred years later, Curwen’s spirit returns to the village that murdered him to seek out his revenge. His vessel for this plot is Curwen’s descendent, Charles Ward. The real treat is that Price plays both parts in the film. He is a medieval Jekyll and Hyde that is not only at war with the townspeople, but his own body. In many ways, THE HAUNTED PALACE resembles a Hammer Film. It has the great gothic locations, the classic actors (Lon Chaney Jr appears as well), and the babes. Cathie Merchant  and Debra Paget are the two love interests for Price’s tormented characters. One his mistress, one his wife, and both are very easy on the eyes. Paget, today, could have easily played Wonder Woman. 
The inspiration for this script is as crazy as the collection of actors that appear in the film. The story is based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft. It pays homage to Edgar Allan Poe, though the mad chef in this horrific stew is Charles Beaumont, one of three main writers for The Twilight Zone. Yes, this is a perfect combination for Halloween.  
 
Thank you, Shout! Factory. You just made my October and my Halloween with the release of this incredible collection. 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. The Vincent Price Collection [Blu-ray]
2. Bruce Lee Legacy Collection (4 BluRay/ 7 DVD) [Blu-ray]
3. Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics (Blu-ray+DVD+UltraVi... Combo Pack)
4. Dead in Tombstone (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
5. The Uninvited (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

 

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Action Triple Feature (Hell Ride / Planet Terror / Death Proof)

Dead in Tombstone (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) Starring Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, Anthony Michael Hall

Dead in Tombstone Starring Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, Anthony Michael Hall

Love & Bullets / Russian Roulette Double Feature Starring Charles Bronson and George Segal

Only God Forgives [Blu-ray] Starring Ryan Gosling, Scott Thomas and Vithaya Pansringarm

Only God Forgives Starring Ryan Gosling, Scott Thomas and Vithaya Pansringarm

Penance (2009)

Red Clover (2012)

Roulette [Blu-ray] Starring Mike Baldwin, Gavin Pereti and Brian St. August

Who Needs Enemies Starring Michael McKell, Ian Pirie, Emma Barton and Kris Johnson

ANIME

Blood-C: Last Dark [Blu-ray/DVD Combo] Starring Alexis Tipton and Robert McCollum

Di Gi Charat: Original Series (2013)

Digimon: The Official Seasons 1-4 Collection

Kokoro Connect: TV Collection [Blu-ray]

Kokoro Connect: TV Collection (2012)

Princess Knight, Part 2 (Litebox)

Sakura Wars: Movie [Blu-ray/DVD Combo] Starring Wendee Lee, Michelle Ruff and Jane Allen

Yamibo

CARTOONS

Dreamworks Holiday Collection Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas

Transformers Rescue Bots: Griffin Rock Rescue Starring Lacey Chabert and Jason Marsden

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Before Midnight [Blu-ray]

Before Midnight Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

The Internship Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne and Max Minghella

The Internship (Blu-ray Combo Pack) Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne and Max Minghella

Criterion Collection

The Uninvited (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and Donald Crisp

The Uninvited (Criterion Collection) Starring Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey and Donald Crisp

HORROR

100 Bloody Acres [Blu-ray] Starring Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson and Anna McGahan
Children of Dracula Starring Tony Brownrigg, Mika James and John Fiklin

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear [Blu-ray] Starring Thea Trinidad and Hilary Greer

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear Starring Thea Trinidad and Hilary Greer

The Conjuring (Blu-Ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack) Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston

The Conjuring (DVD + UltraViolet) Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston

Dimension Extreme Zombie Triple Feature (Diary of the Dead / Zombie Diaries / Automaton Transfusion)

Snuff [Blu-ray] Starring Mirtha Massa, Aldo Mayo, Clao Villanueva

Snuff Starring Mirtha Massa, Aldo Mayo, Clao Villanueva

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY / SUPERHERO

Area 51 Confidential Starring Adrian Quihuis, Devanny Pinn and Tawny Amber Young

Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics [Blu-ray]

Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics

Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics (Blu-ray+DVD+UltraVi... Combo Pack)

The Wall Starring Martina Gedeck

TV LAND

Kindred: The Embraced - Complete Series (Includes Book of Nod)

Nikita: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] Starring Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca, Shane West and Aaron Stanford

Nikita: The Complete Third Season Starring Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca and Shane West

Primeval New World: Complete Series

Primeval New World: Complete Series [Blu-ray]

Silk Stalkings Complete Seasons 6, 7 & 8 Starring Janet Gunn and Chris Potter

BOX SETS

Bruce Lee Legacy Collection (4 BluRay/ 7 DVD) [Blu-ray] Starring Bruce Lee

John Cassavetes: Five Films (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Anthony Ray, Lelia Goldoni, Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands (1976)

The Vincent Price Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Vincent Price

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