Although he started as a character actor, VINCENT PRICE took a deliciously dark career turn with 1950s films like House of Wax and The Fly. Over the next several decades, the eloquent, multifaceted horror icon proved that he could vamp sans camp, a reputation upheld in the new four-disc, Blu-ray edition of The Vincent Price Collection (Shout! Factory, $80). With so many classics on his résumé, we examine why these six titles are worthy of inclusion.
House of Usher (1960): The first of seven Roger Corman–directed Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, this is fine Gothic melodrama on a low budget. Impressive sets and costumes, along with Price’s angst-ridden performance, make it a classic.
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961): Price plays a gentle aristocrat haunted by his father’s legacy. When he snaps, things go bad — and it’s fun to watch.
The Haunted Palace (1963): The descendant of a warlock becomes possessed by his scheming, look-alike ancestor. Price deftly turns from good to evil on a dime.
The Masque of the Red Death (1964): Starring Price as a ruthless royal, this film features great acting and exquisite art direction and cinematography, making it one of Price’s best.
Witchfinder General (1968): A depraved Price coldly interrogates accused witches, and his sadistic lackeys gleefully exterminate them for profit in mid-1600s England. It’s one grim historical drama.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971): Possibly Price’s best role: minimal dialogue, maximum expressiveness and trippy art-deco visuals. The twisted climax to this serial-killer tale likely inspired the embedded-key sequence in Saw.