DVD of the Week: Vincent Price – MGM Scream Legends Collection

The many faces of Vincent Price 1962-1973

The leaves are starting to turn brown and the days are getting shorter. Autumn is fast approaching and with it comes Halloween. This is easily my favorite time of the year and in September I always start getting a spring in my step and an insatiable craving for sweets. This is also the time of year that DVD companies start rolling out their pre-Halloween DVD releases in order to cash-in on the seasonal spirit and please horror fans who have come to expect some extra special autumn viewing. And there’s no better way to kick-start the season than with the new Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection!

This fabulous collection of seven horror films from MGM all feature stand-out performances from the great Vincent Price and are sure to please even the most discriminatory horror film fans. I’m especially impressed by the variety of films that buyers get in this DVD Box set which contains everything from dark horror comedies like The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theater of Blood (which I wrote about earlier this year), to creepy anthologies like Tales of Terror and Twice Told Tales, as well as one the most horrifying films that Vincent Price ever made, the classic Witchfinder General. The seven films featured in this terrific set include:

Tales of Terror (1962, dir. Roger Corman)
Twice Told Tales (1963, dir. Sidney Salkow)
Witchfinder General (1968, dir. Michael Reeves)
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971, dir. Robert Fuest)
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972, dir. Robert Fuest)
Theater of Blood (1973, dir. Douglas Hickox)
Madhouse (1974, dir. Jim Clark)

The films are also being released on DVD separately, but the Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection comes with all the films as well as a bonus DVD with no less than three special documentaries about Vincent Price including Vincent Price: Renaissance Man, The Art of Fear and Working with Vincent Price. The highlight of the DVD Box Set is undoubtedly the 1968 film Witchfinder General which has finally been restored to its original splendor and is being released on NTSC Region-1 DVD for the first time. The other films have been available on DVD previously, but some of them have been out of print for a while.

If you’re a Vincent Price fan like myself or just enjoy good sixties and seventies era horror films, the movies in this new collection are all well worth a look and that’s why this terrific Box Set is my DVD pick of the week. The Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection is available at Amazon and better online rental sources such as Netflix and Greencine will probably have the movies available for rent as well.

Related Links:
Tim Lucas reviews the new Witchfinder General DVD at Video WatchBlog
The Vincent Price Exhibit (great fan site!)
Vincent Price Profile at TCM
Another great review of the new Witchfinder General DVD from Steve Biodrowski at Cinefantastique

15 thoughts on “DVD of the Week: Vincent Price – MGM Scream Legends Collection

  1. “If you’re a Vincent Price fan like myself or just enjoy good sixties and seventies era horror films”

    That would be a big yes on both! I just watched Tales of Terror again a couple of weeks ago. My favorite segment is the Peter Lorre drunkard tale. I cannot get enough of Vincent’s hilarious faces as he tastes the wine. It’s what the A/B Repeat feature was made for on DVD players! I mentioned in one of my comments on my site recently how much I love sixties horror and fifties sci-fi and (I know it sounds kind of goofy) but I’m all excited about October so I can start posting stuff about them.

    I just added a pic on my flickr account of Price with Lorre’s head from Tales of Terror after reading this. Now if you can just put a full-size pic of the afro-Price on your flickr account my day will be complete.

    I’m ordering this DVD set forthwith.

  2. I’m a huge fan of Vincent Price. He, along with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, belong to the unholy trinity of horror masters. This is a great collection of films. I’m especially excited about the two Dr. Phibes films and Witchfinder General. He’s such a magnificent actor. I always loved his voice. So cool and creepy. My favorite time period of horror is definitely the 60’s and 70’s. They did it the best. Vincent had some amazing films. This is definitely a collection I would love to have.

  3. Steve – Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I enjoyed your review of Witchfinder General a lot so I added a link to it in my post. I own most about half of the Price movies on DVD myself, but the new box set looks great and it comes with that terrific bonus DVD. I’m sure that the Witchfinder General will be one of the best DVD releases of the year.

    Jonathan – Tales of Terror is really terrific! I love the Corman films that teamed up Price and Lorre. They always seemed to be having so much fun together and since they’re two of my favorite actors I just love seeing them swap lines. I’ll look forward to your October posts about classic horror and science fiction films! The Fly DVD set is also getting released today and I wrote up a brief blurb about it for Cinedelica which you can find here. I’m planning on doing some special horror related stuff for October as well. Tis the season!

    Keith – Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are truly the “unholy trinity of horror masters.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! The Dr. Phibes films are personal favorites too.

  4. Thanks for adding the link to my retrospective, and thanks for the link to the Tim Luca review. Somehow I missed that one while surfing the web on my own, looking for articles about WITCHFINDER GENERAL.

    It’s been a two-year wait for the WITCHFINDER DVD, since producer Philip Waddilove announced that it would be coming out in August 2005, so this really is a happy day.

  5. I read Tim’s very interesting WF review and since he doesn’t have a reply function, I’ll make a few comments here.

    I saw CONQUERER WORM theatrically more than a few times when it was first released and my main memory of it remains the color of the blood. It was a very very bright red as were the soldiers costumes. In fact, a friend who was with me exclaimed, “that’s the reddest blood I ever saw!” as we watched the movie. Seeing it again on TV and video it never looked the same, in fact all the colors looked way toned down. I wonder if this overly red blood he complains about wasn’t a deliberate processing decision to make it look that way and add to the horrifying quality of the film. That’s the impression I had seeing in in 35mm nearly 40 years ago. I’ll have to see the new DVD to compare. Great film which really deserves a definitive home video release.

  6. Thanks for the comment about the color of the blood. I myself had a similar impression, but it has been so long since I saw the movie, that I didn’t trust my memory. Nice to find a little confirmation from someone else!

  7. Oh regarding the color of the blood, I should have included an excerpt from my WITCHFINDER article. According to Ian Ogilvy:

    “We worked on an absolute shoestring, so there were all sorts of things we would just cut, or we would quickly rewrite it. That’s why the blood looks like red paint — because that’s exactly what it was, red paint from a can…. One of the things Michael wanted and he never did get: when we riding, the troop of soldiers down a lane, he wanted rotting bodies lying in a ditch, and nobody to take any notice of them. That was his idea. We couldn’t afford rotting bodies, but that was the kind of thing he wanted: the lovely beautiful countryside, and that going on, as well.”

  8. I am super psyched for this set. Thanks for your thoughts on it and I hope to be posting on at least a couple of the films sometime in the future. I am especially excited to see the restored “Witchfinder General” and replace my old VHS of it.

  9. I love the different ways that Dr. Phibes killed his victims. I also loved the look of his lair. The music he played was so cool and creepy.

  10. I have been wanting to post about Vincent Price, the fact that I have a tuxedo jacket made for him in 1969, (I got it at a used clothing store) and that my deceased neighbor made sculptures for his film Diary of a Madman. The sculptor died in a kiln explosion and the skeletal remains of his burned up house were used as a location in Mi Vida Loca.

  11. Witchfinder general is a real gem of a movie, as is Theatre of Blood. I must confess however that I find Dr Phibes painful to watch, I guess that one is an aquired taste.

  12. Robert & Steve – Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the brightness of the faux blood seen in the Witchfinder General. I’ve only seen the old VHS version of the film so I’m afraid that my own opinion about the topic is really limited.

    Jeremy – I look forward to reading your future posts about some of the Vincent Price films! The set is really terrific.

    Keith – I agree! His lair was incredibly groovy.

    Joe – I really hope you’ll share more of your personal stories relating to Vincent Price soon!

    Herman – The Dr. Phibes’ films are horror comedies that fans of camp probably enjoy more than regular horror film fans, but I love the tongue-in-cheek approach and the set designs and costumes. I also love lots of campy films so that’s probably why I enjoy the Dr. Phibes’ movies so much.

  13. Yes agree that its camp, I don’t think that was my problem with it. Its hard to put my finger on why I didn’t like it. I think it was the second DR Phibes I watched the other week- I didn’t like the sets, I felt that some of it looked like a stage play, which I found offputting and there was far too much weird narration going on which I found hard going.

    I obviously missed something else, I didn’t realise that there was supposed to be a comedy element, maybe I should rewatch it with that in mind.

    On the other hand Witchfinder General was screened on TV about 2 weeks ago and I found myself engrossed in the whole thing. Perhaps because it covered an era of English history (the English revolution) that is seldom touched by filmmakers.

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