07th Dec2014

‘Vincent Price in Six Gothic Tales’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf


Christmas is almost here and Arrow Video have a present for horror fans (though you’ll have to buy it of course).  Vincent Price in Six Gothic Tales is a box set of the Roger Corman Edgar Allan Poe films starring not only Price but some of the most iconic horror actors.  Just mentioning the names Barbara Steele, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone in the same review as Vincent Price should have you getting your money ready straight away…and let’s not forget a young Jack Nicholson making an appearance too.  All this movie history in just one box, and that’s before we even look at the special features included for each movie.

Roger Corman’s Poe movies are strange beasts though, normally taking only the name and basic plot they sometimes have little connecting them to the actual source material, yet as fans we love them anyway.  Looking at The Haunted Palace as the most extreme example of this it was in fact an attempt by Corman to break away from Edgar Allan Poe and make a move to H.P. Lovecraft, in fact it is seen as the first major attempt to get one of his stories to screen.  American-International had other plans though pushing this as yet another Poe movie, even using the title of one of his poems.  Anybody with experience of the H.P. Lovecraft style can tell even without prior knowledge though that this is a Lovecraft tale, the little clues are made very obvious.  This does not detract though from the fact Haunted Palace is still a good and fun example of Corman’s work and seeing Lon Chaney Jr. alongside Vincent Price is something I’ll always love.  Interestingly lighter in tone than the Poe tales, The Haunted Palace is one of my favourite from the set, though not Price’s best.

Fans of classic horror will know how well Price and Peter Lorre worked together so it really is a pleasure seeing Tales of Terror and The Raven included in this set.  The Raven is a particular treat as you see Price and Lorre battle against Boris Karloff and all three work very well together.  Seeing these horror greats on-screen together is very enjoyable, even though this is probably one of the less horror themed of the movies.  It can be argued too that the story may be the weakest, but personally I tend to see this film as being more of an event, and seeing a young Jack Nicholson is just the icing on the cake as he is another of my favourite actors.

With Fall of the House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum and The Tomb of Ligeia completing the set, these are the three movies that feel more serious in their horror focus, and are the films that do set Corman’s Poe style in stone.  It is a shame that Masque of the Red Death is not included as this would complete the set off nicely.  If it wasn’t so focused on Price too, Premature Burial would have been a nice inclusion, but this is obviously a box set focused on the greatness of Price and his movies, Vincent Price in Six Gothic Tales is a box set that shows just why he is a favourite of many horror fans, including me.

When box sets like this are released sometimes the discs are stripped of the special features as to make for a cheaper product, but it is nice to see this is not the case here.  With plenty of documentaries to watch and commentaries to listen to there is a focus not only on Price but also Peter Lorre as well as the other actors (but mostly these two) as well as documentaries looking at the horror styles, even looking at the importance of cats to horror.  With the special features spanning over all the discs this does feel to be a set that is absolutely full of gems for horror fans to enjoy and plenty to get through.

With such classic films and Arrow Video’s treatment of each it is very easy to recommend Vincent Price in Six Gothic Tales to any fan as the perfect Christmas treat.  Coming just in time for Christmas this is easily one of the best Arrow Video releases of the year.  I will be taking a look at some of the discs separately for my own pleasure (I plan on looking at Tales of Terror, The Raven and The Tomb of Ligeia at the very least) because they do deserve to be looked at separately as well as in this box set.  With this release Arrow Video have shown just how much they love the horror genre and of course just how important Vincent Price was and still is to his fans.  This is a must buy, simple as that and if you can’t get it in this form then buy the films separately (though some are not available as separate discs YET, but will be) as each film is a must own in itself, simple as that.

The Vincent Price in Six Gothic Tales Blu-ray box set is released in the UK from December 8th 2014.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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