The Vincent Price Collection III – Scream Factory Blu-ray Review

Horror

THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION III

The Vincent Price Collection III is, you guessed it, the third Vincent Price collection released by Scream Factory. The first had an impressive six films, with such classics as The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death. That collection unfortunately, is now Out of Print and not for sale due to Scream Factory losing the rights to the films. The second collection, thankfully still available, featured seven films, with The Raven and House on Haunted Hill being a couple highlights. The third collection, sadly, is where Scream Factory has started to scrape the bottom of the barrel of Vincent Price films. That’s not to say the ones included are terrible, but instead, are lesser known movies in Price’s impressive film career. The collection features only four movies, due to a technicality, as An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe is a 53 minute made for TV show. The films range from Sci-fi (Master of the World) to straight horror (Diary of a Madman). Each movie in the box set has its ups and downs, but the special features packed inside are really what makes the entire box set worthwhile.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

DISCS: 4
RUN-TIME:
Master of the World (102 minutes)
Tower of London (80 minutes)
Diary of a Madman (96 minutes)
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (53 minutes)
Cry of the Banshee (91 minutes DC / 87 minutes TC)
ASPECT RATIO:Master of the World (1.85:1)
Tower of London (1.66:1)
Diary of a Madman (1.66:1)
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1.33:1)
Cry of the Banshee (1.85:1)
RESOLUTION: 1080p, SD (An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe)
AUDIO: 
Master of the World (DTS Master Audio Stereo)
Tower of London (DTS Master Audio Mono)
Diary of a Madman (DTS Master Audio Mono)
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (DTS Master Audio Mono)
Cry of the Banshee (DTS Master Audio Mono)
LANGUAGE: English
SUBTITLES: English
REGION: A/1
RATING: NR
PRODUCTION DATE: 1961, 1962, 1963, 1970
RELEASE DATE: Feb 16, 2016

PLOT SUMMARIES

Master of the World (1961)

In 1848, a fanatical inventor seeks to fly around the world and stop  war from his flying airship (the “Albatross”)…a cross between a zeppelin and a helicopter. Adapted from two Jules Verne novel — Master of the World and The Conqueror. Starring Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Henry Hull, and Vito Scotti.

Tower of London (1962)

Blind ambition meets bloody terror in famed director Roger Corman’s “sophisticated and well made” (Video Hound’s Golden Movie Retreiver) tale of royally bad behavior based on Shakespeare’s Richard III! Starring the king of creepiness, Vincent Price, as a demented despot who’s killing his way to England’s throne – only to be haunted by the spirits of his victims – Tower of London is a “quivering good time” (Los Angeles Times)! Also starring Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O’Neil, and Ian Hunter.

Diary of a Madman (1963)

Vincent Price turns in a classic performance as a sculptor, possessed by an evil spirit, who hires a model (Nancy Kovack) to pose for him – then learns thereafter that she has been brutally murdered. Starring Vincent Price, Nancy Kovack, Chris Warfield, Ian Wolfe, and Elain Devry.

An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1970)

Brace yourself for a fearsome fright fest… times four! Maestro of Mayhem Vincent Price narrates this quivering quartet of Edgar Allan Poe’s most spine-tingling classics, including: “The Tell Tale Heart,” “The Sphinx,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Dripping with gruesome torture, live burials, monsters, madness and murder most foul, An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe will chill you to your very marrow! Starring Vincent Price and Elizabeth Shepherd.

Cry of the Banshee (1970)

Vincent Price is diabolical, commanding and “as brutally horrific as ever” (Motion Picture Exhibitor) as a corrupt English magistrate who leads a crusade to rid the countryside of witches…but doesn’t mind accosting a few innocent wenches on his way! Murder, torture and titillation are just a few methods of interrogation in this lurid “witchcraft shocker” (Motion Picture Exhibitor) that pits evil against more evil in a duel to the death! Also starring Essy Persson, Hilary Heath, Carl Rigg, and Stephan Chase.

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MASTER OF THE WORLD

First up in the collection is the least terrifying film of them all, Master of the World. I’m not entirely sure why Scream Factory decided to include this in the box set, as the film itself is as far from horror as you can imagine, unless you count seeing Charles Bronson with no mustache horrifying. The plot for the movie revolves around a flying machine, captained by Vincent Price, with a goal to fly around the world, threatening countries destruction if they don’t drop arms, surrender and make peace. It’s a terrible plan to be perfectly honest. Along for the trip are four captives, one being the aforementioned facial hairless Charles Brosnan, playing John Strock, another being the easy to get cheating Dorothy (Mary Webster), her finance Philip (David Frankham) and finally her father, THE, yes THE, Prudent (Henry Hull).

Master of the World ranks in as the weakest of the lot and unfortunately, the longest as well, clocking in at 102 minutes. It’s not a horror film and not much happens throughout the movie. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, as the performances from both Charles Brosnan and Vincent Price are noteworthy. Price has a field day as Captain Robur. His plan for World Peace is an interesting idea and his heart is in the right place, but the way he goes about it is just wrong and doomed to fail.

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TOWER OF LONDON

Next up is Tower of London, released in 1962 and is based loosely on the works of both Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare. It tells the tale of Richard the III’s rise to power through corruption and murder, all the way to his inevitable downfall. The movie throws in some ghosts for horror effect, but sticks closely to what we know about the evil King.

Tower of London features a wonderful performance from Vincent Price as the deformed and maniacal King Richard III. He has a blast with the role, snarling, limping and seething evil. The movie itself has a few terrifying scenes, one involving a medieval rack (the contraption, not a busty maiden) and another involving a head cage and a rat. The movie itself isn’t exactly scary, but for the time and budget and the direction by Roger Corman, we are given a film that is definitely worth checking out. Interesting fact, which is mentioned in the features, the film was originally going to be shot in colour, but to save money, the producers demanded the movie be shot in black and white.

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DIARY OF A MADMAN / AN EVENING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE

Third up is Diary of a Madman, the best (in my useless opinion) film in the collection. The story has a group of people gathering to read the diary of Simon Cordier (Vincent Price), who has recently passed away. What the diary contains is his last days on earth and what transpired to cause his untimely demise. The movie contains murder, beautiful woman, an invisible being and an unreliable narrator, who may have actually been insane, but is left up to you the viewer to decide. The reason this movie rates so highly on the list is, once again, the phenomenal performance of Vincent Price as he descends into madness. The movie is based on the works of Guy de Maupassant, who wrote about the mysterious being called the ‘Horla’, who survives on the evils of men, manipulating them to kill.

Featured on the same disc as the stellar Diary of the Madman, is the 53 minute TV movie An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe. Featuring 4 stories brilliantly read and played out by Vincent Price. The stories contained within are The Tell-Tale Heart, Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado and finally The Pit and the Pendulum. Vincent Price is at his all time best in this one. He magnificently recites the works of Poe to perfection, getting completely lost in the characters. For the 53 minute runtime, you’ll be whisked away into the darkness of Poe’s work, guided by the fantastic Vincent Price. It’s absolutely amazing how perfect Price’s performances are.

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CRY OF THE BANSHEE

Last, but not least, is Cry of the Banshee. Another movie that hits closer to horror than some of the others, Cry of the Banshee involves witches, boobies, beautiful women, unlikable characters and a mad Vincent Price. The plot is a convoluted mess of revenge and murder, but misses the mark in a few spots. The problem with Cry of the Banshee is there isn’t one likable character in the entire movie, so when people end up dying, you’ll have no feelings of remorse. The movie itself isn’t bad, mainly due to it featuring a good amount of nudity to keep those dirty thoughts a going, but I had higher hopes for this one going in. In the end, I was left confused as to what and who the movie wanted me to care for. I ended up caring for the hot daughter, played by Hilary Heath, but only because she was hot and I highly doubt that’s what the Director intended.

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BLU-RAY OPINION

Each film in this set has been wonderfully restored to the best of Scream’s ability. Not one movie fails to impress in both the audio and video sections. An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe is taken from the videotape source, so it’s in SD quality, but that’s how it originally was shot. A lot of care and attention went into restoring the movies, and it really shows. The pictures included in this review are ripped from the discs, so you can see exactly how impressive each movie is looking. I have no complaints.If some of the movies don’t impress you in this box set, you might actually find what you’re looking for in the special features section. Each disc contains a variety of interviews, trailers, galleries and commentaries. The disc for Master of the World features a whopping 72 minute sit down with Richard Matheson, that spans his entire career. It’s an impressive feature, which I believe was filmed in earlier 2000’s, that is sure to please all. The disc for Tower of London also features two episodes of Science Fiction Theatre, both which starred Vincent Price. The show came out before Twilight Zone but has the same structure and theme and are about 26 minutes and very entertaining (maybe even more than the movie).

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Other features in this set include interviews with directors, such as Roger Corman and Gene Corman for Tower of London. You also have an interview with Director Gordon Hessler, for Cry of the Banshee. The disc for Banshee also includes the theatrical cut of the movie, which mainly trims out the nudity and alters the opening scenes.

I could go on and on with the special features, but we would be here all day. My only complaint would be the lack of features for Diary of a Madman. An interview with anyone would have been nice.

SPECIAL FEATURES

DISC 1:
MASTER OF THE WORLD
Special Features:

NEW High-Definition Master From The Interpositive Film Element
NEW Stereo Soundtrack Created From The Original 4-Track Mag
NEW Audio Commentary With Actor David Frankham
NEW Richard Matheson: Storyteller – Extended Cut (72 Minutes)
Theatrical Trailer
Posters, Lobby Cards And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery Of Images From David Frankham’s Personal Collection

DISC 2:
TOWER OF LONDON
Special Features:

NEW High-Definition Master From A Fine Grain Film Print
NEW Interview With Director Roger Corman
Producing Tower Of London – An Interview With Producer Gene Corman
Two Episodes Of Science Fiction Theatre (1956): “One Thousand Eyes” And “Operation Flypaper” Both Starring Vincent Price (In Standard Definition)
Posters, Lobby Cards And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery

DISC 3:
DIARY OF A MADMAN
Special Features:

NEW High-Definition Master From The Interpositive Film Element
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian And Author Steve Haberman
Theatrical Trailer
Poster And Lobby Card Gallery

AN EVENING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
Special Features:

NEW Master Created From The Original 2″ Tape Masters
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian And Author Steve Haberman
NEW Interview With Writer/Producer/Director Kenneth Johnson
Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery

DISC 4:
CRY OF THE BANSHEE
Special Features:

NEW High-Definition Master Of The Director’s Cut From The Interpositive Film Element
NEW High-Definition Master Of The American International Pictures Cut From The Only Surviving Element, A Color Reversal Intermediate
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian And Author Steve Haberman (Director’s Cut)
A Devilish Tale Of Poe – An Interview With Director Gordon Hessler
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spot
Radio Spot
Posters, Lobby Cards And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery

VERDICT

The third collection of Vincent Price movies doesn’t have the same impact that the other two collections had, as some of the movies presented are not the best performances Vincent Price has delivered, however, the movies that do shine (Diary of a Madman for example) and the generous helping of special features more than makes up for a couple of hit or misses with the movies. Fans of Vincent Price are going to fall head over heels for this collection and Scream Factory made sure the box set is worth taking home.

 


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