Friday, May 27, 2011
Happy Birthday, Vincent Price: 100 Years of Bloody Awesomeness (I mean this literally. ;-D)
May 27, 1911. That was a cool day. Vincent Price was born. And mind-smushing entertainment was NEVER the same.
Actually, basically all entertainment was never the same -- because Mr. Price acted in every genre imaginable and was BRILLIANT in every genre imaginable. Unlike some actors who wait around until a film "worthy" enough for them comes along, Vincent Price took crazy films and MADE them worthy. I would watch him in anything and everything -- exactly because of this skill.
His voice is one of my favorite things ever and instantly recognizable. He tried to disguise it on What's My Line? by singing badly in French, but it didn't quite work. ;-D
He was a contradiction: a oft-performer in low-budget AIP films, but also a gourmet who spoke many languages and owned a world-renowned art collection. He could be understated in many brilliant dramas and film noirs, but he was equally brilliant playing a psycho in Brady Bunch. VERY FEW CAN OWN THAT ACCOMPLISHMENT.
There is a perpetual argument on WHO is the greatest Shakespearean actor of all time, but there is NO argument on who is the greatest Poe actor of all time. Vincent Price will always own that. (And, if I was wanting to lose half my followers I might say that Edgar Allan Poe is five times more awesome than [the admittedly very awesome] William Shakespeare. Because he is.)
This post is quite disjointed and rambling because I am finding it difficult to put into words who exactly Vincent Price was -- and why he was SO BLOODY COOL!
I think that Vincent was extremely talented and awesome and cool. And also, I feel like if I was a cool, awesome, genius, 6' 4" man born in 1911 -- I would be Vincent Price. I mean, he was known by all his friends to get into full-blown, over-the-top dramatic debates when he talked about his favorite things... like cooking. And he used to pop up at random screenings of his films wearing costumes, in order to mess with the audience. I want to be him.
"I sometimes feel that I'm impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it."
For Vincent's birthday, I wanted to list my favorite performance from each decade: 1930s - 1990s. So yeah. Here we go...
1930s: The Invisible Man Returns. Vincent may have played in dramas and film noirs for much of his early career, but everyone knew right away that he played deranged madmen the best of all. ;-D
1940s: Dragonwyck. My favorite Vincent Price performance of all time. He is utterly brilliant. He employs all his different acting traits: he first charms everyone into thinking he's clearly the coolest person ever, then he gets all sinister, and then he makes everyone realize he's a psycho. I JUST LOVE IT!
Honorable mention: Laura. Shelby Carpenter, you weakling. You're awesome though.
1950s: House of Wax. This one is another role so indicative of Vincent's unique persona. Mr. Price once said, "I don't play monsters. I play men besieged by fate and out for revenge." This is why even when he is at his most frighteningly sinister -- we don't want him CAUGHT! He can't control his genius for evil. He was born that way, he was forced to become that way, its more fun that way (we can't deny him the funnest way! ;-D)....
Honorable mention: House on Haunted Hill. My 14 year-old brother jumped up in the middle of watching this movie in order to go lock all the doors. (This is the same brother who fell asleep watching Batman Begins). Vincent's ability to create extreme fear will never end.
1960s: Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. Always. Always. Always. Always.
Honorable mention: More Dead Than Alive
Less, but still honorable mention: his cameo in Beach Party ("Bring me my pendulum, kiddies! I feel like swinging!")
1970s: The Brady Bunch: the random Hawaii vacation episodes. Only Vincent...
Honorable mention: Columbo: "Lovely But Lethal"
Less, but still honorable mention: THE DATING GAME! I mean, he's wearing a toga and totally mocking everyone.
1980s: Vincent. A lovely Tim Burton-created, Vincent Price-narrated short film about a boy who wants TO BE Vincent Price (this may or may not be the story of my life as an animated boy). Vincent Price always talked about how he enjoyed this and it really is just beautiful! :')
1990s: Edward Scissorhands. I actually watched this solely for Mr. Price. And he was so perfect.
And this is where I turn into a bawling fan-girl because there are no more decades to list. So I suppose I could just throw out a photo of Vincent Price raising his eyebrow sinisterly and continue on....
Peter Lorre starred as crimefighting antique dealers in the unsold pilot, 'Collector's Item'."
^I would -- NO JOKE -- give three semi-vital organs in order to see this. I can't even comprehend this. Vincent Price. Peter Lorre. CRIMEFIGHTING ANTIQUE DEALERS. Who decided that another ten years of Green Acres would be preferable to this?! WHO?! I would like to sic the ghost of Vincent Price upon them. ;-D
I really, really, really enjoyed the following tribute:
I'm going to try and wrap this up a bit, but there is so much more to say about the brilliance of Vincent Price. He was a genius, he had a Yale degree in art, he was a world traveler, he was a successful author of novels and...um... gourmet cookbooks, he had career that lasted for nearly 60 years, and he was greatest actor of low-budget, horribly made films in the '60s and the '70s. He was perfect.
"The horror thriller offers the serious actor unique opportunities to test his ability to make the unbelievable believable."