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Monday, 8 February 2016

Vincent Price - The Master of the Human Monster #MonsterMondays 32

Greetings and welcome to Monster Mondays 32. It is my 19th wedding anniversary today so, for a change, rather than picking one of my own favourite monsters, I asked my darling husband to pick his. His response was "All that comes to mind is Poe characters, portrayed by whats his name." This turned out to be Vincent Price :).

Vincent Price
The Master of the Human Monster

I have to admit, I am not a huge Poe fan, I find his stories a little too dark for my tastes, but I do very much like "The Masque of the Red Death" made in 1964 and directed by Roger Corman. Vincent Price is absolutely magnificent as the dastardly Prince Prospero. The film is based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe of the same name.

The story is thus: Prince Prospero, a Satanist and altogether nasty man, finds that a village in his domain is infected with the Red Death and he orders the whole village burnt while kidnapping a young woman, Francesca and her father Lodvico and suitor Gino to gain her cooperation. Then he invites local nobles to his for a Masque ball to be safe from the Red Death and enjoy themselves while the peasants are dying. Of course he ends up getting his just deserts when the Red Death, whom Prospero mistakes for an envoy of Satan, comes to the party as well.

Vincent Price is wicked, charming and magnificent as Prospero. You hate him and yet are charmed by him at the same time. Prospero plays with human beings like toys, killing them for pleasure and using them as he will, and yet, to those he likes he is the epitome of hospitality. His terror at the end of the film is simply beautifully done.

I think this is my favourite Poe adaptation of the era.

The thing about Vincent Price is that he is so very good at playing bad. And he has the most magnificent voice, so distinctive and so captivating. There has never been any one quite like him.

He was a very prolific actor and appeared in many different genres, but he will always be remembered the most for his horror films. His human monsters or, sometimes, monsters hiding behind a human guise were always so superb.

The House on Haunted Hill is another of my favourites in which he starred and House of Wax.

Do you have a favourite Vincent Price film/appearance?

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