Vincent Price, Master of Horror - A Halloween Tribute

"King of Horror Movies", the elegant Mr. Vincent Price was a man of many talents. Raconteur, gourmet cook, author, art collector. A frequent guest on The Tonight, he once showed Johnny Carson how to poach a fish in a dishwasher.

He appeared in theater, in dramatic film roles, and on Broadway, but is best remembered for his horror films. He showed himself to be a master of that genre, appearing in a series of Horror films from the late fifties well into the seventies.

A gentle, witty man in real life, Vincent Price came to epitomize the tortured evil soul in such classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and The Pendulum, House of Wax, and scores of others. His voice seemed almost to drip blood.

Vintage Vincent
Vintage Vincent

Born Vincent Leonard Price II in May 27, 1911, in St. Louis Missouri, son of Margeurite Cobb and Vincent Leonard Price , Sr., then president of the National Candy Compant. Young Vincent attended St. Louis County Day School, and later, Harvard where he studied Art History and Fine Art.

In the 1930s, he became interested in theater, and appeared professionally from 1935. Married three times, he and his first wife, Edith Barrett, had a son Vincent Barrett Price. He and his second wife Mary Grant Price endowed the Vincent and Mary Price Art Gallery for East Los Angeles College. Their daughter, Mary Victoria, was born in 1962.

Price's last marriage was to Coral Brown, an Australian actor, who appeared as one of his victims in Theatre of Blood in 1973. He converted to Catholicism to marry her, and she became a U.S. citizen for him.

Price, a lifelong smoker, lost his battle with lung cancer on October 25, 1993, but in between his first steps upon the stage and his last film voice overs, he thrilled and delighted generations of horror film fans.

I remember Vincent Price mainly from late night television, where he was the undisputed king of the horror genre.

Staying up late watching TV was an occupational hazard , or one of the perks, of being a regularly employed baby-sitter, depending on your point of view.

After the little darlings were safely tucked into bed, and your homework was finished, the television came on and the rest of the evening was yours.

Most of the baby-sitting was restricted to non-school nights, usually Fridays and Saturdays, and if you wanted a steady gig - one that would guarantee to augment your income at least three out of the four weekends every month - you bit the bullet and cut back your social life.

That said, tying up the house phone chatting to one's friends was out of the question, so, in the days before personal cell phones, home computers, the internet, and "texting", what on earth was there to do?

Well, you could read, and I was an avid reader, but staying awake could be problematic even with a riveting plot, and checking on the kiddies every half hour or so.

On the plus side of the coin, though, I received a film education second to none.

The late-night television of my youth was dedicated not to infomercials and paid programming, but to old movies - usually anything black and white that wouldn't bring them much in advertising during the day.

Now called classics, they were simply"old movies" then, but many were excellent examples of cinematic art. Among those treasures, were gems of the early horror genre. Some held up quite well, actually, and were genuinely atmospheric - quite frightening in spots.

I remember being quite enchanted with a werewolf movie that featured a very young and extremely good-looking romantic lead who was miraculously saved from the curse by his true love, lucky wench! My goodness, but Michael Landon was quite handsomely impressive with his shredded shirt and tousled locks.

My favorites, though, were the great films that starred Vincent Price. His films were always good for a shiver or two.

As well, I learned a lot of things one shouldn't do while alone in the house, babysitting. I learned that you should never phone strangers and tell them you know what they did. I learned that you should never walk up a long creaky staircase and open the door at the top.

I also learned not to take up with any charming but slightly effete artists who seemed mildly tortured by something from the past. I learned to be leery of mild-mannered, snappy dressers who spoke beautifully, but kept dark secrets.

Vincent Price had a way of making it all so believably eerie and actually, kinda scary. I loved the way he could make you look behind the couch when the floor creaked suspiciously as you got up to check your charges during the commercial break.

I even loved the horror-schlock flicks he made in the seventies. Having already seen quite a few of his earlier films, I enjoyed his arch villainy. He was sending up his own characterizations, and doing a beautiful job of it.

I recall seeing him on the Johnny Carson show (no, I missed the fish-bake), discussing his extensive art collection. On one of these occasions, he was promoting a book, "Treasury of Great Recipes", written by him and his wife, Mary. That was when I discovered that the man whose voice dripped blood was a gourmet cook.

I had been taught to never judge a book by its cover, but this was a revelation indeed, and I resolved then and there to try harder to see the person behind the face shown to the world.

One more thing I learned from the elegant Mr. Price.

For True Fans - Vincent

© 2009 RedElf

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23 comments

Anath profile image

Anath 7 years ago

That first picture is so charming. I have never seen any of his films but I feel that I should now.


one2get2no profile image

one2get2no 7 years ago from Olney

Vincent Price was a great horror actor. Good hub


Jess Killmenow profile image

Jess Killmenow 7 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

Vincent Price was great. I used to love to see him as a guest on variety shows. He was so funny! Thanks for this really nice tribute.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

RedElf, what a great tribute to the 'King of Scare' himself. His voice alone was able to give anyone the 'willies'. I loved all his old movies too.

regards Zsuzsy


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Anath - they are well worth a look-see!

I think so too, one2get2no. Glad you enjoyed it!

He was a very cheeky fellow, indeed, and I loved watching him. You are most welcome, and thanks for your comments.

Thanks so much, ZsuZsy Bee. He had the greatest voice - very distinctive. I still get a large charge out of his movies.


missalyssa profile image

missalyssa 7 years ago

Great hub...and great timing for Halloween! I'll be renting some of these movies this month for sure!!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, missalyssa. Enjoy, and have some popcorn, too, LOL.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

Thank you for a great Hub RedElf . I Loved Vincent Price , I really appreciate the biography you wrote there too ! I like you spent a lot of late friday nights watching his horror films !


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks tony0724. The bio information came from some great sites dedicated to Vincent Price. I had no idea the interest in his work until I looked him up. So nice to see others love

"the Master" too.


judydianne profile image

judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

Vincent Price indeed was the master of horror. I remember going to see "The House of Wax" in 3D in the theater. It was really scary! Thanks for the additional info on Mr. Price.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

You are so welcome, judydianne! House of Wax was a doozie!


MOVIES AND MORE 7 years ago

I HAVE ALWAYS LOVE HIS MOVIES, MASTER OF THE MACABE! I HAD AN UNCLE THAT LOOKED AND TALKED LIKE VINCENT PRICE AND WHEN WE HAD FAMILY REUNIONS I ALWAYS WANTED TO SIT BY "UNCLE GLENN" I LOVINGLY CALLED HIM VINCENT.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, MOVIES AND MORE - what a nice memory. Thanks so much for sharing it.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Thanks for the memories, RedElf. Vincent Price was a very talented actor. His horror films were always excellent. But I remember him best for his role as the master builder in the 1956 "The Ten Commandments." In addition to his many movies, he also did radio and television work.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Yes indeed, William, I have barely touched on his long career here. Thanks so much for your comments! Always nice to hear from another of his fans!


Melissa 5 years ago

Vincent was a Yale man like his father before him. And he was a "Jr.," not a "II."


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Well - I stand corrected! Thanks for commenting, Melissa - I guess you can't believe everything you read in your research.


lorddraven2000 profile image

lorddraven2000 5 years ago from Wheelwright KY

Very nice work. My grandmother loves Vincent Price. I am a fan myself. He just captured the spirit of horror and ran with it.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

He certainly brought his own flair to the genre.! Thanks for stopping by to comment,lordraven!


Carole 5 years ago

Did Vincent Price have a grandmother living in Binghamton, New York?


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Carole, I have no idea. I am not an expert on Mr. Price's family, just an interested fan. Good luck.


Rachelle Williams profile image

Rachelle Williams 5 years ago from Tempe, AZ

yes, tis true...Vincent Price is the master of classic horror...


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Rachel. He has always been one of my favs.

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