Wednesday, September 28

Vincentennial Post #80 - Life-size Vincent figures

Robert Taylor, who so graciously shared his collection with us over the past few weeks, isn't the only member of his family with a passion for all things Price. His cousin Sara has many items as well, and today I'm going to share two very unique objects...

Here are two items which you can note as coming from the Sara Waugh Collection.  
 
First up - a life-sized figure of Vincent as Mr. Loren, from THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. The head was sculpted by artists Ray Santoleri, the bodies made by Robert Taylor and Sara:




 from the Sara Waugh collection
 
 
and next is Vincent as Prof. Jarrod from HOUSE OF WAX....again, both are full life size (6'4). I love the attention to detail in clothing and hair.


from the Sara Waugh collection
 
 I wonder if there is a burned and scarred version of Jarrod just under the surface of this figure...?

Tuesday, September 27

Vincentennial Post #79 - Vincent's Book Collection

No matter where in the world Vincent Price traveled, he always tried to find time (and generally succeeded!) to visit every art museum in every given city he found himself in.  He seldom failed to buy museum guides and catalogues as well as numerous books about artist and art in general.  At his death, his art library numbered in the hundreds and hundreds of volumes.  Here's a shelf of some of those art catalogues and books which now reside in the Taylor collection.  You can read only a few of the titles in the photo, but even those few give a good idea of the wide range of Price's art interests!

Monday, September 26

Vincentennial Post #78 - Stage appearance, Portrait of Will Rogers

from the Robert Taylor collection
From Price's personal files--his script for a 1976 performance, an orchestral tribute to Oklahoma's native son, Will Rogers.  Everyone knows Vinnie as a film actor, and most fans are aware that he did TV and radio work, and that he had a long career as an actor on stage.  Less known are his stage appearances as a reader or narrator.  Price's smooth and elegant voice was a perfect addition to a number of orchestral works.

Friday, September 23

Vincentennial Post #77 - THE BAT Sheet Music

It's not often to find anything horror-related in vintage sheet music--there are a handful of pieces with Lon Chaney on the cover, one or two with Karloff--and this with Vinnie. Price's 1959 thriller, THE BAT, had theme music someone felt would sell a few copies.

from the Robert Taylor collection



SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE 20TH ANNIVERSARY!

Congratulations to Scary Monsters Magazine and publisher Dennis Druktenis on issue #80, the 20th anniversary issue! It is an amazing achievement, especially in today's marketplace. Issue 80 is packed to the gills with articles, including a Hammer Films Frankenstein piece by yours truly, so look for SM at a bookstore near you or Go HERE to get a copy from their website!!

Saturday, September 17

Interview with Monster Matt

Monstermatt Patterson is a man who knows bad jokes. More than that, he revels in them, specifically bad jokes of the monster variety. You see, Matt has been writing and cataloging a collection of monster jokes that will be released soon in his first book, MONSTER MATT’S BOOK OF MONSTER JOKES, VOL 1.  Matt @monstermatt1 and I have followed each other on Twitter for a while now, so when I heard the word on this upcoming tome of groans I knew I had to invite Matt into the lab for a quick converslaytion.

Doc Gangrene – Welcome to Shackle Island, Matt, glad you made your way safely through the swamp and past the graveyard to Gangrene Manor. Not all my guests are so fortunate – did you drive the zombies back with bad puns?

Monster Matt - Thanks, Doc. I love what you've done to the place! Yes, the puns held them at bay. Those and some brain shaped cut-out cookies! Ooohhhh, brain cookies...


Doc G - Your book is full of jokes, puns, limericks and more all based on classic and not so classic monsters. What possessed you to create this mad monster masterpiece of mirth? Was it something you had planned for a while or was it inspired by some recent event?

Monster Matt - Actually, it was quite accidental. I started writing them and sharing them. Soon after, I started gaining an audience and people strongly suggested I try to get published. My friend, author Nick Cato even came up with the title, or close to it. Thankfully, Kyle jumped on board and here we are!

Doc G – Your book is organized into chapters based on different monsters. Is there a reason you placed the Frankenstein chapter first, or was it just a random choice? Perhaps showing a little favoritism to ole bolt-neck?

Monster Matt - Actually, any of the Universal Monsters would be a good "lead off" man, but yes, Frankenstein is my favorite! There's something about him that almost seems plausible in a weird way. He had to be the "go to" ghoul!


Doc G – Is there a monster you didn’t write jokes for that you wish you’d have included? I see Lovecraft got his own section, perhaps Poe will get one in Vol. 2?

Monster Matt - I'm expanding the scope of who or what. All will be revealed in Vol.2 And 3. Unfortunately, I can't say more than that. But, I do want to keep the Universal Monsters as the foundation of each book, if possible.
 
Doc G – With a love of bad puns I imagine you read Famous Monsters as a young ghoul. Was that one of your early influences?

Monster Matt - Absolutely! Uncle Forry had a fiendishly, delicious way with words! That and the wonderful Monsters that were presented in FM were such a draw for me! Mad Magazine and Cracked Magazine did a good spin on Monsters every now and then. The "You'll Die Laughing" bubble gum cards were very cool as well. That's in addition to the countless other influences, like Dr.Demento, Hillarious House of Frightenstein, Benny Hill, etc.

 
Doc G – You’re also a mask maker. Tell me how that got started.
Monster Matt - That was during the physical rehab I was doing, following shoulder surgery. I first made a mask of The Fly. But it wasn't sculpted. It was layers of paper towels, tin foil, latex, and paint, on top of my ice hockey helmet, that I applied with my arm in a sling, fastened to my waist. It was painful, but so much fun! I also made a claw by cutting up a 3-litre pop bottle and adding the layers, just like the head. It actually got used in a short film, called "Leftovers".




A couple months down that road, I was given a ball of clay for hand strengthening. At home, I had my kid's Play-Do to goof around with. I made some faces and took the first step in mask making. I bought a half head armature and other supplies, making my first sculpted mask - The Wolfman.
After that, I had my masks and sculpts in a couple different films, and haunted attractions.

 
 The Pigman

The Itsy Bitsy Biter
 
 
The Cruci-fried Demon


Doc G – You have another book in the works, too. Tell me about it.

Monster Matt -  It's a three part horror story, called "Wolff's Run". Bob Tancelt Bieber is illustrating it. Kyle Kaczmarczyk's comic book company, Zombie Ink Comics is publishing it.

It's set  in a Canadian/U.S. Border town on a frozen river, during the Prohibition Era. There's rum-running mobs, double crosses, werewolves, but not your typical brand, per se. It's hard hitting action, horror, crime noir, sci-fi.

There's follow up plans on the table, to take the core of the story and do different things and formats. So, I think comic book fans will get a thrill out of it. People that have read my script for it, have responded quite favorably!








Doc G – What’s your favorite Halloween memory?

Monster Matt - I don't think I can narrow it down, really. Every Halloween is so special in it's own way. The different events I've attended, the anticipation of choosing just the right costumed character. It's all so good! I can't think of a Halloween that I don't want to remember!



Doc G – You’re stuck in a haunted theater for all eternity with one movie playing endlessly, and you get to choose the film – What would it be?

Monster Matt - Bride of Frankenstein! So classic! Humor, horror, Monsters "of corpse"! I would gladly watch that! Who's footing the bill for eternal popcorn?! Ouch! 

 
Doc G - Thanks for spending some time in the lab with me.  How can joke hungry ghouls get their own copy of MONSTER MATT’S BOOK OF MONSTER JOKES, VOL 1.

Monster Matt - The pressure, I mean, pleasure was all on this end, Doc!

The book is on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, the PillHillPress/WestNebBooks online  book shop, and more outlets, soon. Thanks for having me, Doc!
 
Happy Halloween!!!
 

 

Thursday, September 15

Dr. Gangrene Presents teaser


Here's a quick promo for my new show, DR GANGRENE PRESENTS, premiering next sat night...

Vincentennial Post #76 - The House of the Seven Gables

In 1940, Price costarred with George Sanders and Margaret Lindsay in a loose adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES, and (part of Hollywood's attempt to make Price into a typical romantic leading man), a role which featured Vinnie singing this tender love song!  While Price's singing voice was pleasant, it wasn't great.  Hollywood spent several years trying to figure out just what kind of roles really suited Vinnie!

 from the Robert Taylor collection


And finally, here is the entire movie, courtesy of mrprice07 at Youtube:

















Tuesday, September 13

Vincentennial Post #75 - Vincent Oil Painting



This is a black and white oil painting of Vincent that is owned by Robert Taylor. It is one of his many Vincent finds - but it is a little bit of a mystery - here is what Robert has to say about it...

You never know what you'll find on Ebay.  A few years ago, searching for Price memorabilia, I came across this painting of Vinnie and thought it was pretty darn good!   It's signed "M. Prince", and I'm sorry to say I don't know who that is.  Two or three "M. Prince" artists are to be found on the 'Net, but I don't know if any of them are this talented painter.  In any case, I still consider this black and white portrait one of my favorite pieces.

Dr. Gangrene Halloween Appearances

Hey Gang (Green) - Just a quick update on our upcoming appearances and happenings. As you all know, October is our busy season, so be sure to come join me at any or all of the following events and say howdy!



Saturday, September 24
Dr. Gangrene Presents

My new show begins airing weekly on Nashville's CW58 every Sat night at 1am (Sun morn) - ch58, 18 on Comcast cable.



Sat and Sun, October 1st and 2nd
Nashville Comic and Horror Fest

Come join me and the fellas from Spookhand at the Nashville Comic and Horror Fest. I'll be there with both show mercy and band mercy, as well as presell tickets for the Hootenanny the following weekend.

 

Saturday, October 8th
Dr. Gangrene's Horror Hootenanny.
This is the 8th annual Horror Hootenanny - 5 bands - Dead Dick Hammer, The Creeping Cruds, Spookhand (featuring some dork on vocals), Alucard and The Coffin Bangers. Plus FREE MERCH GIVEAWAYS every 30 min. Zombie costume contests and grand prize of a $100 Lone Wolf Tattoo Gift Certificate!! Zombie photo booth, and more!!



 

 





Saturday, October 15th
Spookhand at The Pond in Franklin TN
The bad doc and fellow spookmeisters will be rocking out at The Pond!!





Saturday, October 24th

Nashville Public Library - 2pm 
Dr. Gangrene hosting the movie THE BURBS live at the Nashville Public Library. Come join us for this fun FREE film!!

More TBA - stay tuned!! Come say hi if you're at any of these events!!

Vincentennial Post #74 - Vincent on Vinyl!


This is a neat little piece of Vincent memorabilia that I would like to get my hands on - it's called Vincent Price Presents Great Paintings in Musical Impressions by Ned Freeman and performed by the Orchestra dei Concerti di Roma, Paul Baron Conducting. Published by Dot Records, it's an LP of musical selections that represent various painters and paintings, presumably selected by Vincent himself... but perhaps not, perhaps they merely solicited Vincent's photo for the cover of the LP. Either way, I'd like it for the cover alone.

Speaking of Vincent and fine art, here's a couple of photos of Vincent in various galleries, enjoying what was certainly a passion of his.


Vincentennial Post #73 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes



Talking about The Abominable Dr. Phibes a couple of days ago put me in the mood for some more Phibes - here is a series of lobby cards from that film. Gotta love this film - Vincent reveled in this role of campy horror, and did much acting through his eyes and gestures, as Phibes doesn't speak without the help of machinery. Definitely a fan favorite and in my top ten Price horror films.






Sunday, September 11

Vincentennial Post #72 - The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

In 1939, Price was given a role in the prestigious Bette Davis-Errol Flynn film, ELIZABETH AND ESSEX. He played Sir Walter Raleigh in this movie--a small role--but found that his most important use during the making of the film was as a threat! Director Michael Curtiz kept Errol Flynn in line by telling him that if he didn't behave, they'd dump him and put Price in as Essex! Vinnie didn't enjoy being used as a pawn, but he didn't have much choice in the matter this early in his career.


 This photo was Price's own, one he framed and displayed in his home. From the Robert Taylor collection.






Saturday, September 10

Vincentennial Post #71 - Abominable Dr. Phibes Illustration

This is an absolutely beautiful illustration of Vincent as The Abominable Dr. Phibes (with Caroline Munro to boot). This was done by fellow Tennesseean Jeff Preston - a friend of mine who actually came out to my surprise birthday party last night - thanks Jeff! This piece, like all of Jeff's, was done, amazingly, in MARKERS! That's right - markers. Jeff works by layering and blending markers and achieves a very painterly effect. Don't believe me? I don't blame you - but it's true and here's the proof: Masters of Art video tutorial featuring Jeff showing off his techniques.


It's available on Amazon.com here. Go grab a copy today and tell him Dr. Gangrene sent you!

Here's the trailer for Dr. Phibes, just cause I'm in the mood for it!! And remember, love means never having to say you're ugly!

Thursday, September 8

Vincentennial Post #70 - Forest Ackerman Clock

Today I have a truly neat little item to show you guys. It's another of the items owned by collector Robert Taylor, which he has graciously agreed to share with us here. But what is unique about this particular item is the fact it was owned by none other than Forest J. Ackerman himself.



It is a small desk clock that looks like a promotional item for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Forry added a photo of Vincent into it. Looks like it might have been a picture he snapped himself.

 Here is what Robert has to say about it...

Larry,
I was messing around in the movie room and found that I had forgotten this Vinnie-related piece.  This is a little quartz "desk clock" from the Ackermansion.  It has a space for a photo, and Forry chose to make it a Vinnie clock!  I was so tickled when I acquired this with a group of other small items of Forry's.  As Forry referred to himself as "The Poor Man's Vincent Price", finding this little Vinnie tribute made me all the happier.

Wednesday, September 7

Vincentennial Post #69 - Vincent's Worst Film?


Vincent Price had a tremendous sense of humor, and that certainly included his opinion of some of the lesser films he performed in.  This is a herald for the 1940 film GREEN HELL from the Robert Taylor Collection. Green Hell is a jungle/suspense/romance flick starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and directed by James Whale. Vincent, still new to Hollywood (his first Hollywood film was 1938's SERVICE DE LUXE), often gleefully pointed out his role in GREEN HELL as one of his worst.  "About five of the worst pictures ever made were in this picture!"  He liked to point out a scene in which Joan Bennett, who is supposed to have been lost in the jungle for a week, shows up with one tiny smudge of mud on her face.  "Lost for a week, and all she got was a smudge."

Tuesday, September 6

Vincentennial Post #68 - Vincent Price, I like What I Know

Price's lifelong interest in art began when he was a young teen.  The first piece of fine art he ever collected, in his teens, was a small Rembrandt etching which he paid off in installments! According to Victoria Price, Vincent's daughter, it was titled TWO NUDE MODELS, ONE STANDING. It cost him $37.50. He put $5.00 down and made payments through money raised working a number of summer jobs.



In 1959, Vincent Price published a book about art collecting entitled I LIKE WHAT I KNOW.  This is a publicity photo from that time showing Vinnie examining art in a gallery while holding in his hand (what a surprise!) a copy of his new book!  Price fans can easily track down a copy of this book at used book sites, Ebay, etc..  It's illustrated with photos of some of Price's own art collection.


Friday, September 2

Vincentennial Post #67 - Vincent Price, collector

Vincent Price is shown here in his home showing some of his vast collection accumulated over the course of his life from teenage onward. In his hands, a bust of Price. The picture on the table is a color photo of Price and Helen Hayes when they co-starred in VICTORIA REGINA on Broadway between 1935-1937.  It was one of Vinnie's favorite souvenirs of that time of his life.  On the distant wall, between Price and the framed still life, is a photo given to him by Helen Hayes from that time period.


Here are the two photos today, in the Taylor Collection--

 From the Robert Taylor Collection

 from the Robert Taylor collection

Thursday, September 1

Welcome To The Original Fright Night – For Real!

Today I have a treat for you guys, an interview with the director of the original Fright Night, Tom Holland. This was conducted by my buddy Scott Essman, a frequent contributor here, and gives some terrific insight into this genre classic...


Scott - Are you surprised that the original Fright Night is now seen as one of the touchstone horror films of the 1980s?

Tom Holland: I didn’t know that I had caught the cultural gestalt. That happens when you are young enough and worked enough so you know enough. I was probably representing the desires and interests of my generation. I was in touch with it all. I have been ahead of the curve for a number of years – Initiation to Sarah, The Beast Within. The effects couldn’t keep up with what I was seeing in my head. By the time we got to Fright Night, because of films like Ghostbusters, we could do the effects we wanted to. Without the money from Ghostbusters and the shop that they put together that was able to deliver that quality, we could not have done Fright Night.






Scott - What was the writing process like for you, creating this original homage to classic and TV horror?

Holland: I wrote that screenplay chortling. It was a delight to write. I was making myself laugh when I was writing. At the heart of it, it’s a comical chuckle and droll. There is something very funny about the idea of a vampire moving in next to a gonzo horror movie fan. It was what I wanted. There were a lot of things coming together to make it work. I took a year of thinking about it and three weeks to write it. I had the idea and the story and didn’t take the next step until I thought of the Peter Vincent character [the TV horror host]. Then, the thing just started to click. I kept asking myself what I would do if I was a teenager and I was convinced about the vampire. You couldn’t go to your parents or the cops – everyone would think you’re nuts especially because you are into this stuff.


Scott - Your makeup and creature effects in the film, by Steve Johnson and the Boss Film Studios team, are quite striking and even hold up today. What was the secret behind them?

Holland: They couldn’t do the transformation in 1980 that we did in Fright Night. All that they had then were bladders. In the intervening four years because of the continuing emergence of the summer blockbuster, they put more and more money into effects and developed the expertise for Richard Edlund [founder of Boss Film Studios] to create the effects that I wrote. I still have the hand puppet of the wolf and the bat in a case at home. Now, you are wall-to-wall CGI, and everything looks like a video game. There’s a 14-minute videogame cinematic about black ops that’s better than most movies.


Scott - Fright Night was released late in the summer as a sleeper even though audiences loved it at the time. Were you operating below the radar of the big studio releases with this film?

Holland: We were the littlest movie, a toss away, and nobody cared because the budget was so low. Guy McCrane ran Columbia – a wonderful man who had been one of the top agents in town. He suggested Roddy McDowall, [who played Peter Vincent] because he was a friend of his. Roddy had starred in Class of 1984 which I wrote, and he was terrific in that. I was worried that he was too young. He came in, and the image he used was the Cowardly Lion. He did a knockout reading. I don’t think that came out of any desire by the studio to have stars. Their big movie was Perfect which they had a gazillion dollars in. They had a huge DP shooting it, Gordon Willis. They wanted to keep Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis happy.


Scott - Besides McDowall, was it easy to cast the film?

Holland: For the star part, Jerry Dandridge, the vampire, [major stars] wouldn’t even consider it – a dumb cheap horror movie at Columbia about vampires. Nobody would touch a vampire movie. You laugh at that now with the Twilight series. It’s cyclical. Fright Night reinvented the vampire movie. Chris Sarandon’s name came up. He had a moment where he could have been a Hollywood star. He was back on his heels a little bit after The Sentinel. To his credit, Chris is a stage actor as well, and he knew it was a potential star turn. The material is what moved him. Movies are such a director-driven thing. You can understand any actor’s hesitation. William Ragsdale was right for it when he came in and read. I turned down Charlie Sheen because he was too handsome. Bill was perfectly right for it. Amanda Bearse was 26 and we were trying to get people closer to the [correct] age. They were all lovely to work with.

Scott - The chemistry between Bearse and Sarandon is palpable, especially in the nightclub.

Holland: We are doing the dance scene. Chris said, “Tom, I’m not getting a certain kind of connection here.” He needed a little romantic push. I got lucky with Bearse too. It could have been a disaster, but we made it work. She was brought in by [casting director] Jackie Burch. She also brought in Evil Ed – Stephen Geoffreys. I was worried because he was a little over the top. Nicolson did that in the Shining. We rehearsed the shit out of that show. I had [writer-director] Colin Higgins down to watch and ran the whole thing like a play. He came up with the line, “Would you like some valium, dear?” from the mother. That was Colin’s sensibility.


Scott - Fright Night seems like it must have been a fun movie to make for all involved.

Holland: I think the fact that we had fun communicates itself, especially when you have humor in it. I don’t think the studio knew that it had comedic elements. It has a sweetness to it. What happened was my affection for the genre and the movies I grew up with informed the piece. When I wrote the staircase scene with Billy Cole, I was thinking Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. It’s the vulnerability; there’s a humanity in it. It’s about a guy who’s being asked to be more than he is, and he rises to the occasion.


Scott - If you were to direct the remake of your own version of Fright Night, would you try to use practical on-set effects as with the original film?

Holland: I would try, but I would doubt my ability to do it because the money people would go for CGI because it was “cheaper.” I don’t know that it is, but since everybody is doing it, it has to be. For my film Thinner, if we did it now, you would have to do it that way. Where you had something as difficult as Chucky to do as a puppet, it was cost intensive. They would do it now with CGI wall-to wall.


Scott - What are your true feelings about the studio remaking your film without you?

Holland: In the remake, they should have made the kid going to a horror convention – instead, he is going to a magic guy in Vegas. But I wish them the best doing the remake and pray to god that they do many sequels – the more successful they are, the more people will want to see the original.

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