Vincent Price, the “Master of Menace” was the king of horror in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
He started out in film noir with a role in 1944’s “Laura,” but he’s better known for his career in creepy thrillers. One of his most celebrated campy classics is the 1960 version of “The House of Usher” but Price teamed up with horror director Roger Corman for a host of other Edgar Allan Poe adaptations.
Price — who was born 105 years ago yesterday — was insanely prolific, so if you’ve ever turned on the TV around Halloween, he’s pretty much unavoidable.
In his later career, he was typecast in horror and didn’t do a lot else — but here’s a look at five fantastic films that would have been even better with a bizarre little casting twist.
Vincent Price didn’t play in a lot of Christmas movies. Really, Halloween was more his thing. But this holiday classic could use a touch of Price.
Part of the charm of this 1990 comedy is that little Macaulay Culkin makes such a darn cute thief-thwarter. In truth, though, he’s kind of violent for a little kid since he thinks up some methods of trapping the thieves — played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern — that result in more grievous bodily injury than an 8-year-old should be able to inflict.
Of course, the kid would be able to inflict a lot more harm if he were played by a little Vincent Price.
Instead of simply scaring off the would-be holiday burglars with a few scratches, scrapes and burns, Kevin played by Vincent would poison them with some Tic Tacs from that nice old man down the street — and then he’d blackmail the old man to help him entomb the dastardly duo in his parents’ basement, where he can trample all over their ambitions for the rest of his life.
This 1990s feel-good film famously starred Tom Hanks in the main role, but looking back on it two decades later, the whole thing feels just a little too sweet and sensitive. Maybe it could use a slightly darker leading man.
Plus — can you just imagine Forrest telling his life story in Vincent’s velvety voice?
Admittedly, Forrest is a little bit too optimistic for a typical Vincent Price, but some of the key lines could be retooled — maybe death is like a box of chocolates, too.
Grease is a very singy, happy film. But Vincent Price can sing, too. He didn’t do it a lot in his movies, but if you search “Vincent Price singing” on YouTube, you’ll find some tracks that are just as satisfyingly velvety as you’d hope.
That said, Price would clearly be a great addition to Grease. He’d give the wanna-be bad boy T-Birds a much darker appeal — and he’d probably rather sing about Halloween night than summer nights — but he’d probably be really, really good at it.
The Sound of Music
How do you solve a problem like Maria? Poison her and leave her corpse at the dining room table till the skin rots off.
The most logical casting choice for Price would be at the Von Trapp father — but he’s already pretty stern and foreboding and doesn’t necessarily need to become something sinister. However, Price would make a great eighth child. There’s no reason those kinds have to be so singy and happy.
Ugh, THAT SONG. “Let It Go” is clearly far too cheery for a Frozen featuring Vincent Price — but really, why “let it go” anyway? Don’t let anything go. Hold onto that shit and let it fester until things get out of control and suddenly your lover’s skeleton is encased in concrete in the basement — because that’s always a possible outcome when Vincent Price is involved.