Well, it looks like, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ve dropped the ball on the last installment of my Vincent Price Halloween countdown. If I’m able to run John Langan’s piece in the next couple of days, I’ll definitely put it up and let everyone know. In the meantime, I hope everybody enjoyed the Vincent Price Halloween festivities, and my sincere thanks to all the great creators who participated. In case you missed any installments, here they all are, in link form:
Silvia Moreno-Garcia on The Tingler
Richard Gavin on The Tomb of Ligeia
Gemma Files on Dr. Phibes
Jesse Bullington on Witchfinder General
S.J. Chambers on The Last Man on Earth
Drazen Kozjan on The Pit and the Pendulum
When I started all this, there was one thing I didn’t take into consideration: What a tough act I was setting myself up to follow. So, what’s my call for a Vincent Price movie suggestion for Halloween? It’s a tough choice, as you can see by the wide variety of films covered here already. I could list a ton, many of which have already been talked about at length by my other contributors, and it’s pretty safe to say that any movie with Price in it is a pretty safe bet. But if I had to pick just one movie from Price’s oeuvre to suggest for Halloween, it’d be Comedy of Terrors.
For me, Halloween is about more than just scariness. We do that all year round. There’s a certain fun to Halloween, too. A certain mixture of scariness and silliness. And while most of Price’s films might well be considered to fit that bill, Comedy of Terrors is one of a comparatively few overtly comedic outings.
It’s got quite a pedigree, both behind the camera and before it. Screenplay by Richard Matheson (showing he knows comedy as well as horror). Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, Night of the Demon, etc). A cast including Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Basil Rathbone. It works nicely as a companion piece with similar comedic outings (with pretty much the same casts) The Raven and the comedic “Black Cat” segment of Tales of Terror. For my money, though, Comedy of Terrors is the sharpest of them. Not beholden to any Poe story, though shot through with many elements native to Price’s many Poe adaptations for American International Pictures, it is freed up to tell the delightfully dark story of a murderous undertaker (Price) who kills his clients in their own homes in order to keep himself in business.
All the actors are joys to watch, and Tourneur and Matheson bring enough wit, adroitness, and enough Gothic trappings to make for a truly spectacular Halloween foray.
So, barring a late-falling installment, this’ll be it for the Vincent Price Halloween. You can expect to hear more from me about my weekend’s festivities and the like very soon, and you can expect to see some changes made around this website come November. For now, though, I’m off to return to seasonal celebrations, and I hope everyone out there has a great day on this spookiest time of the year.