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Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price Vincent Price Spaghetti Alla Bolognese (Spaghetti with Meat Sauce) - . . . .Did they eat it? Of course. You'll eat anything if you're 'fame-ished'! - Monday 29th July 2013

Richard Matheson, Author Of 'I Am Legend', Dies


Will Smith Hugh Jackman Steven Spielberg Anne Rice Stephen King Vincent Price Charlton Heston

Richard Matheson has led a long and interesting life. Born in Brooklyn he started his writing career when some of his short stories were published in 1950. The author's subsequent career, spanning 60 years, including writing scripts for The Twilight Zone, Family Guy, Ghost Story and Jaws 3-D. His most famous work is I Am Legend, a post-apocalyptic horror which follows one man's life pitted against vampires whilst he is isolated in deserted Los Angeles.

I Am Legend has been adapted three times since its publication in 1954. The first starring Vincent Price, the second Charlton Heston and in 2011 Will Smith took on the role. The novel has been critically acclaimed and continues to challenge vampire novelists in developing an idea as original as Matheson's.

Director Steven Spielberg paid tribute to the late author saying in a statement "Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for Duel.

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Leave Her to Heaven Review


Extraordinary
The second half of a double feature shown at The New York Film Festival with Drums Along the Mohawk, and introduced by Martin Scorsese under the auspices of Scorsese's The Film Foundation as a restored three-strip Technicolor masterwork, Leave Her to Heaven, was clearly a film that Scorsese holds close to his heart. Scorsese could be seen at the screening in his seat, his head cradled in his hand, absorbing a climactic courtroom scene with vindictive prosecutor Russell Quinton (Vincent Price), as if seeing the damned thing for the first time, when you know the guy must have seen the film dozens of times already. It certainly holds a peculiar place in Scorsese's personal life. He related at the screening how he first encountered the film in the middle of the night in a big house in Hollywood. Awakening by a dreadful asthmatic attack, he switched on a colossal Zenith TV, and saw an otherworldly close-up of Gene Tierney on the set that hovered over the Los Angeles landscape through the window of his room. He proceeded to watch the rest of the film "through long gasps of breath."

Leave Her to Heaven stakes out its territory in the form of a flashback, as novelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) returns to a small lakeside town that has now become tainted with the aftertaste of murder. Homespun lawyer Glen Robie (Ray Collins) relates the sorry tale of how things came to such a pass and the film-length flashback begins -- noir fatalism in the blinding daylight. We are taken back to the genesis of all this misery, the ravishing but deadly Ellen Berent (played to evil perfection by Gene Tierney, in an iconic film noir role), who meets Harland on a train and quickly latches onto the poor sap, and soon her berserk compulsion for him drags the innocent Harland and his loved ones down into the dark waters of tormented possessiveness.

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The Great Mouse Detective Review


OK
A lesser-known entry in the world of Disney animation -- but an endearing one nonetheless -- The Great Mouse Detective is based on the children's book Basil of Baker Street, in turn a kid-ification of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, with a hyperintelligent mouse investigating crime in London.

At 72 minutes in length, it's a quick hop, skip, and jump across London, from a toy store to a pub to Big Ben, while Basil searches for poor Olivia's kidnapped father. The crook: Ratigan, voiced masterfully and inimitably by Vincent Price. With appropriately vintage, late-1800s period music and sets, the movie may not offer children the goofy stimulation of a Shrek or a Toy Story, but it's harmless enough that any kid ought to be entertained for the full running time -- even if the movie's hero is a bit too stuffy to relate to.

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The Bribe Review


Grim
Surprisingly dull tale of intrigue and noir from the late 1940s. Memorable largely for Ava Gardner's risque outfits (considering the era), but the dreadful score is enough to put even the most stalwart among us to sleep.

War Gods of the Deep Review


Terrible
Musta been running out of Edgar Allen Poe material to adapt into screenplays... and War Gods of the Deep stands as probably the least amusing film to come from his collected works.The story is something or other about an underwater city populated by smugglers that never age (huh?) and the humans who get trapped there, spending most of the film asking their fellow prisoners if they remember the way in. Wholly unmemorable.

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The House on Haunted Hill (1958) Review


Good
Not to be confused with The Haunting, this Castle classic, a campy horror flick, has my great uncle Vinny (Price, a distant relation of mine) as a wicked host, wherein the survivors of a night spent in a haunted house will each receive $10,000. Giddy and fun... and scary if you're in the right mood.

The Great Mouse Detective Review


OK
A lesser-known entry in the world of Disney animation -- but an endearing one nonetheless -- The Great Mouse Detective is based on the children's book Basil of Baker Street, in turn a kid-ification of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, with a hyperintelligent mouse investigating crime in London.

At 72 minutes in length, it's a quick hop, skip, and jump across London, from a toy store to a pub to Big Ben, while Basil searches for poor Olivia's kidnapped father. The crook: Ratigan, voiced masterfully and inimitably by Vincent Price. With appropriately vintage, late-1800s period music and sets, the movie may not offer children the goofy stimulation of a Shrek or a Toy Story, but it's harmless enough that any kid ought to be entertained for the full running time -- even if the movie's hero is a bit too stuffy to relate to.

Continue reading: The Great Mouse Detective Review

The Pit and the Pendulum Review


Weak
As part of his Edgar Allan Poe series in the 1960s (including The Raven, House of Usher, and The Masque of the Red Death), Roger Corman created The Pit and the Pendulum, based on one of Poe's best-known works.

Well, in title, anyway. The story, about a man trapped in the torture chamber during the Spanish Inquisition isn't so well-known itself. And Corman and writer Richard Matheson (The Omega Man) take some extensive liberties with the story, turning into a tale about the son (Vincent Price) of a Spanish Inquisitor who inherits his father's house of horrors (torture chamber included). His adulturous wife (Barbara Steele) has faked her own death and is trying to drive her husband crazy... and when she succeeds, she gets more than she bargained for.

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The Masque of the Red Death Review


Weak
Overheated but well produced, this Corman extravaganza has Price in one of his most evil of roles, as a medieval prince who has made a deal with the devil, thus freeing him to torture all his subjects. Ultimately far more silly than scary.

House of Usher Review


OK
Good old haunted-house horror from frequent collaborators Roger Corman and Vincent Price. Mark Damon's hapless visitor to the titular house finds a brother (Price) and sister (Myrna Fahey) in failing health, all while the house seems to crumble around them. It's hot gruel all around as Damon tries to nurse the girl -- his wannabe bride -- back to health, but the cursed house will have none of it. Filled with ineffective fright gags (shock cut to... an empty bed!), the Poe-inspired source material occasionally rises above the Corman-fueled production.

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Theatre of Blood Review


OK
This is about as close as Vincent Price got to playing Hamlet, in his campy and bizarre Theatre of Blood. Recalling Dr. Phibes, Price once again plays a man hell-bent on revenge, only this time it's an actor murdering his former critics. Unfortunately the killings aren't as wild in the Theatre -- even a drowning in a vat of wine looks an awful lot like someone splashing around in water. Come on Vincent, throw in some food coloring for us! And Vinnie with an afro... some things are too frightening for the movies.

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The Ten Commandments Review


Excellent
It takes something special for a motion picture to enter the Biblical canon. But ask any Christian what happened to Moses before age 30, and they'll likely relate to you the plotline of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.

Surprise! As DeMille himself tells us in a (somewhat silly) opening narration -- where he comes out from behind a curtain and addresses the audience -- the Bible skips Moses' formative years altogether. One minute, as a baby he's fished out of the Nile by Pharoah's daughter, the next he's banished to the desert for killing an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew man. There's certainly no talk of Moses' rise to power under Pharoah -- which comprises the first two hours of this nearly four-hour film. In DeMille's rendition (based, he says, on the works of ancient scholars), Moses (Charleton Heston, in the role that would define his career) toils under Pharoah (Cedric Hardwicke) as his adopted grandson, working hard building a treasure city for his glory. His rival is Pharoah's son Rameses (Yul Brynner), who isn't only also up for the future job of Pharoah, he's also competing for the hand of Nefretiri (All About Eve's title character Anne Baxter).

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Laura Review


Good
Gene Tierney stars as the woman whose murder everyone wants solved, while question after question keeps popping up (in 85 spare minutes). With a stellar cast and a laser-guided plot, Laura stands as a classic thriller/whodunit of the 1940s. Unfortunately, it remains solidly in the past, as implausible and as dated as any WWII propaganda reel. When was the last time a detective let a writer tag along on his murder investigation interviews? I'd guess it was probably right about the time of Laura.

Twice-Told Tales Review


Good
In the tradition of Tales from the Darkside comes this trilogy of stories drawn from Nathaniel Hawthorne stories and each starring Vincent Price. Watch as he and Sebastian Cabot discover a youth serum dripping in the basement -- and use it to resurrect Cabot's dead fiancee! Other tales tell of a poisonous plant Vinny uses to ensure his daughter stays by his side, and a rendition of The House of Seven Gables. Well produced and solidly acted all around. And the stories fit perfectly into the 40-minute vignettes.
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