Sunday, May 31, 2015

Scream Blacula Scream Preview: William Marshall Fun Facts



As I mentioned in my "Show and Tell" post this week, I hosted a Blacula live tweet last Tuesday.  I didn't do any research into the movie because I wanted to go into it cold, plus I'm quite lazy.  But I figure before we get to this Tuesday's live tweet on the 1973 sequel Scream Blacula, Scream, it would be good to learn a bit about the man who played Prince Mamuwalde, William Marshall.

Here are some notes of interest that I found about Marshall, who was born on August 19th, 1924 and died on June 11, 2003:

  • Marshall was born in Gary, Indiana.
  • He studied art at New York University before moving on the the Actor's Studio.
  • He has played Othello in at least six productions of the play.  
  • He played Frederick Douglas both on television (Frederick Douglas, Slave and Statesman) and on stage (Enter Frederick Douglas).  He really enjoyed playing black leaders so as to get them into public awareness, as they were often left out of mainstream discourse.  Per friend Anita Rutsky, "He wanted the world to hear them [black leaders] because they weren't in the textbooks."
  • Won an Emmy in 1974 for his one-man show As Adam Early in the Morning.
  • Marshall actually contributed to the Blacula script.  He was the one who wrote the character as African prince Mamuwalde, and that it was his effort to end the slave trade that led to his being turned turned into a vampire as opposed to just being a hapless victim.
  • Has a long string of guest roles golden age television classics such as Rawhide, Bonanza, and Star Trek...
  • ...but he also had a recurring role in something more my generation's speed as he played the King of Cartoons on Pee Wee's Playhouse (Thanks to fellow horror fan @driskull for the tip on this one)

  • Marshall's final film role before passing away was a small part as one of the poker players in Richard Donner's 1994 western, Maverick.  Unfortunately, at no time does he kick Mel Gibson in the nuts.
  • Bucking the trend of the majority of the acting community, Marshall stayed with his partner, Sylvia Jarrico, for over 40 years.  
  • He had four children:  his three sons Claude, Malcolm, Tariq, and daughter Gina Loring.



Further Reading:

Bergan, Ronald.  "Obituary:  William Marshall."  The Guardian Online.  June 22, 2003.  http://www.theguardian.com/news/2003/jun/23/guardianobituaries.film.

Sebestian, Simone.  "William Marshall Obituary."  The Chicago Tribune Online.  June 19, 2003.  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-06-19/news/0306190206_1_mr-marshall-william-marshall-othello.  

"William Marshall." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 31 May 2015. http://www.biography.com/people/william-marshall-20675171#later-years. 

"William Marshall, Actor in Movies and on Broadway, Dies at 78."  New York Times.  June 21, 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/21/obituaries/21MARS.html.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Show and Tell: The Wicker Man and Blacula


The wife and I got to take our first trip to the beach this weekend.  Somehow I found a motel two days before Memorial Day weekend that A) cost less than $100 and B) wasn't the scene of a recent murder/suicide.  So score for us!  It was good to get away for a couple of days.

That's not to say, however, that I didn't get my horror fix in over the last week.  The three day weekend gave me a chance to get caught up on The Faculty of Horror podcast, which is a must-listen for anyone who likes smart discussion about horror.  Two horror journalists from Toronto get together once a month and discuss a particular theme in the genre by examining two or three movies that create the best discussion about the subject.

To prep for an episode on matriarchy, I watched the 1973 cult movie The Wicker Man.  I'm not even going to bother mentioning the Nicolas Cage remake, because you can get everything you need to know about that movie here.  The original version is a funky little film in which a very conservative, God-fearing policeman goes in search of a missing girl, only to have his investigation take him on a bizarre journey through the inner-workings of a group of pagans.  The journey, it turns out (and spoiler alert for those who still haven't seen it) is all an elaborate ruse to bait the policeman into acting as the town's sacrifice to appease their gods for next year's harvest.

I think what makes the twist so effective is that 80% of this movie doesn't play like a horror movie.  There are surreal elements, but nothing foreshadows the pending doom in store for the policeman.  Actually, for most of the movie I found myself siding with the townspeople, who, as the Faculty point out is actually egalitarian as opposed to matriarchal.  They treat everyone as equals, and they have some very progressive ideas that fly in the face of the very uptight, veeeery Christian policeman.  So when the movie takes its turn and the people's intentions become clear, it makes the dark twist that much darker given the light mood of the movie previous to that point.  For more in-depth conversation about the movie as well as the theme of matriarchy, check out the podcast.  They'll do the topic more justice than I could hope to do.

After getting back from vacation, I was able to fend off back-to-work depression by hosting my very first live tweet for the 1972 blaxplotation movie Blacula.  I'd won the movie from Graveyard Shift Sisters for a post I wrote about my favorite black woman in horror (it's Rocky from Phantasm III in case you're wondering).  Since I'd never seen Blacula before, I thought it would be best viewed with some like-minded horror fans over Twitter.

For those unfamiliar with the movie, Blacula is the alter ego of Mamulwalde, an African prince who runs afoul of Dracula, who it turns out is a racist asshole.  Turned into a vampire, Mamulwalde is awakened in the 1970s, where he meets Tina, the descendant of his wife Luva.  One of the things I really enjoyed about the movie was the way in which it took character arcs from Dracula and molded them into its own narrative. Instead of Van Helsing, for example, we have Dr. Gordon Thomas on the hunt for vampires.

Of particular interest, though, is Tina, Blacula's take on Mina from the Dracula novel.  The depiction of Tina as an the reincarnation of Luva mirrors the story in which Mina is the incarnation of Dracula's lost love, right?  Wrong!  In the original novel, Mina has no previous connection to Dracula.  The concept of Mina as Dracula's reincarnated love wasn't introduced until the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola film.  This makes me think that Blacula, as a movie directly influenced by Dracula, has itself influenced the Dracula mythos as we know it today.  Take a minute to pick the pieces of your mind up off the floor.

One of the more engaging discussions that came out of the live tweet was the controversial nature of Blacula and other blaxploitation films.  The misogyny, explicit sex/drug use, and stereotype-promoting nature of these films caused quite a bit of backlash, especially from African-American groups who feared that these movies would perpetuate negative views on the culture.  On the other hand, these movies were very empowering, both in terms of depicting strong black characters who are essential to the plot, as well as allowing for scenes in which black characters fight back against white oppression.

We see both sides of this coin in Blacula.  Dr. Thomas, for example, is a respected member of the police force.  He's also the only one who seems to have a handle on the situation and is equipped to battle Blacula and his horde of vampires.  On the other hand, he refers to two homosexual characters as "fags" as casually as if he were remarking on their hair color.  So do the problematic elements of movies like Blacula negate the positive aspects?  I would argue that they don't, or at least they don't any more than their more mainstream counterparts that have equal parts negative and positive elements while not being subjected to the same level of scrutiny.  As I did with the topic of Matriarchy, I defer to someone with a better grasp of the topic than I have for more detailed analysis of this topic, as Graveyard Shift Sisters has an insightful post about blaxploitation horror that you can find here.

I had such a good time with the Blacula live tweet, I'll be returning to do another live tweet on Tuesday, June 2nd for Scream Blacula Scream.  If you're bored come join over twitter at 8pm EST.  You can find it for free on YouTube if you don't feel like renting it.  If nothing else, it's an excuse to see Pam Grier do her thing.  In the meantime, I'm going to listen to the Blacula soundtrack on Spotify, because it's pretty damn good, and it will now always make me think of this image.




Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book Report: Nightmare on Elm Street



Introduction:

I've never been much of a dreamer.  I mean that literally.  I've always slept pretty deeply and I rarely remember any dreams that I may have had the night before.  There's one dream that I had as a kid that's always stuck in my mind, though.  The star, as I'm sure you've surmised from the topic of this post, was Freddy Krueger.  But the dream itself wasn't what was so memorable.  It was the fact that, for perhaps the first and last time, I realized I was dreaming and woke myself up.  The problem, though, was that I was exhausted and I knew I was going to fall asleep again soon.  And when I did, sure enough, that "Bastard Son of a Hundred Maniacs" was waiting for me.

I can't imagine I'm the only one with such a story.  If there were a Mount Rushmore of slasher icons, Mr. Krueger would be up there along with Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface (let the arguments commence).  I don't think there's a single horror fan out there who hasn't seen Freddy's work, and I doubt there are many even outside of horror circles who haven't at least heard of him.  So for this book report, I'm going to take a look at the making of a horror icon, and talk a bit about how he captured (and scarred) the imagination of millions.

Synopsis (per Google):

Several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler who preys on the teenagers in their dreams -- which, in turn, kills them in reality. After investigating the phenomenon, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) begins to suspect that a dark secret kept by her and her friends' parents may be the key to unraveling the mystery, but can Nancy and her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp) solve the puzzle before it's too late?

Production:

In the early 1980s, Wes Craven was looking for his next big project.  Raised as a fundamentalist Christian, Craven began his career as a teacher of English Literature.  Eventually, though, Craven shifted to making films. and in the seventies he'd already had a few noteworthy movies such as The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes.  However, he was having trouble breaking into the mainstream.  This was true of most horror auteurs during this time, as the genre was often stigmatized, with critics like Sieskel and Ebert vilifying slasher films.

Craven had a script, however, based on a concept that he'd read about in the L.A.Times in which a young man died in his sleep after prolonged periods of trying to stay awake.  "There were two little details to this newspaper story that I swear to God could have been written by a great screenwriter,” recalled Craven. “One was that after the son was dead, the mother went into his closet and there was a Mr. Coffee in there, filled with black coffee. The parents also found the stash of sleeping pills, of which he hadn’t taken any."

From this seed, Craven created the script for A Nightmare on Elm Street.  He pitched the story to countless production companies without success for almost three years, until he eventually found Bob Shaye and New Line Cinema.  New Line had originally started as a distribution company, pushing out films such as John Waters' Pink Flamingos.  Shaye wanted to test the waters of production, however, and Craven's script presented him the opportunity to do just that.

One of the key aspects from the start of production was that this was not to be just another slasher flick.  Craven wanted casting director Annette Benson to find strong characters, not people who would just "fall down."  Heather Langenkamp was chosen to play Nancy, who Langenkamp views as a survivor, but for all her strength "the only one she's able to save is herself."  Amanda Wyss was cast to play Tina, who Wyss described as not being strong like Nancy.  Rather, Tina is a girl trying to find ways to feel good and escape the pain of her home life.  Jsu Garcia won the role of Rod, but at the time he was working under the name Nick Corri.  Garcia was passing as Italian because he was told at the time that Latin actors wouldn't make it in Hollywood.  John Saxon, already a veteran actor, brought some name recognition to the movie when he was cast as Nancy's father.  For the role of Glen, Craven went against the "big and athletic" description that the script originally called for, and hired a small, sickly looking actor named Johnny Depp.

Then, of course, came the matter of casting Freddy Krueger.  Originally, Craven pictured an older man for the part, but as he started auditioning older actors, he found that all of them, perhaps due to their age, had an inherent kindness that just didn't fit the part.  So when he auditioned Robert Englund, a younger actor who had recently received notoriety from his stint in the TV miniseries V, one of the things that Craven noticed was how much Englund seemed to relish the menace he portrayed.  This reminded Craven of one of the influences for a character, a disfigured homeless man who once shuffled by Craven's bedroom window when he was a young boy.  The man leered up at Craven, and continued to do so with a mean smile as if he really enjoyed scaring the young Craven.

Having cast his villain, Craven then had to settle on his look.  For Freddy's make-up, effects artist David Miller drew his inspiration from pepperoni pizza.  One day Miller was pondering the make up design while eating a slice, and, deep in thought, and he molded the cheese around the pepperoni to create the texture that we see on Freddy's face.

The gimmick for Freddy's weapon was a challenge for Craven, who wanted something ancient.  When he went to Jim Doyle, the man who would go on to invent the glove as we see it today, he told Doyle that the glove should invoke man's oldest fears, which Craven visualized as something like a claw that one would find on a bear or other predator.

The weight of the glove actually gave Englund a tilt to his stance, which made him think of it as a gun/holster, as if he were a gunslinger.  He kept this in mind as he developed his portrayal of the character.  The arduous make-up process also gave Englund opportunity to develop Krueger, as the continual prodding and fidgeting of his face by the artists allowed him to project his agitation in character.


Filming was an intense process due to the fact that there were 80 effects shots during the 26-day schedule.  Amanda Wyss, in particular, went through a lot to achieve the effects required for her character.  For Tina's death scene where she gets dragged on to the ceiling, a rotating room was built to create the illusion that up was down.  "The first spin around it felt like I was falling, even though I was on the floor," explained Wynn.   "Then I felt that if I wasn't falling, everything was going to fall on me. It was terrible. We had to stop. The terror in my death scene was 75 percent."


Even after her death scene, Wyss continued to be put into uncomfortable situations as she spent much of her remaining screen time in a body bag: "I freaked out in the body bag. It wasn't a "stunt" body bag — this was a low-budget film, so somebody went to the morgue, got a [real] body bag and poked some pinholes in it. There's no inside zipper on the thing, they just zipped me in. I was just like, "Seriously?"  In addition to the body bag, Wyss spent a considerable amount of time covered in fake blood, eels, and centipedes.

Another difficult scene to film was Glen's death scene, in which he is pulled into a hole in his bed by Krueger.  One early idea was for Glen's body to come back up out of the hole, hit the ground, and shatter.  The idea that was ultimately used, however, was for a torrent of blood to come out of the hole in the bed.  The rotating room from Tina's death was used again, but the crew spun it the wrong way, causing a "2-inch tsuami" of blood to wash over the whole area.  One crew member even received an electric shock.


The pressure of creating a successful movie led to some tension between Shaye and Craven.  Investors that Shaye had lined up suddenly backed out, so Shaye was forced to pay crew members out of pocket to keep them on set while he found more long-term funding.  At the same time, Shaye, who clearly had a lot riding on the project, would frequently attempt to give notes on the story. Craven, however felt that Shaye should stick to his role in the business side.

One such argument was over the sequence in which Nancy's feet get stuck in a viscous substance while being chased by Krueger.  The effect was an idea of Shaye's, who got it from a nightmare of his own.  Craven was less than enthusiastic about the idea, and it became a point of contention between the two.  Eventually, however, they came to an agreement as they recognized that they were both working toward the same ultimate goal of getting this movie made.  Craven accepted the scene, and even allowed Shaye to direct the sequence as a show of good faith.

Eventually, Craven had a finished product to begin shopping around for distribution.  After trying all major studios, however, Shaye could not find any takers.  So, he decided to release it directly through New Line, which was a very big gamble.  While all profits would go to New Line, if the film was a failure then it could very well mean the end of the company.  On November 9th, 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street made it's premier.    Within the first weekend, it made $1.45 million, recouping it's $1.1 million budget and then some.  By the end of it's theatrical run, it made $24 million, and a franchise was born.
Discussion:

"A Cruel Clown"

One of the reasons why Freddy Krueger is such an effective villain is because he presents such a vast contrast to the silent killers of his era.  Whereas Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers silently stalk their victims with sudden, brutal kills, Freddy likes to relish in the fear he causes before the death.  His victims know their demise is coming, and that's where Freddy takes his true joy.  "Freddy was always a cruel clown," said Englund," I remember using that phrase with Wes once—it’s a term from Roman theater. He cracks jokes, and takes the culture, and the fears, weaknesses and flaws of the kids, and throws it back in their face.”

We see the "clown" at work in several instances in the movie, particularly when Freddy wears the eviscerated face of Tina to torment Nancy while he's chasing her.  "That's some black humor," argued Englund.   "It's a dark, dirty, nasty joke to play on somebody, to put the skin of their best friend over yours."

The fact that Freddy operates in someone's dreams gives him a unique ability to play these kinds of "jokes," and it allows Craven to explore the things that dwell in our subconsciousness. Says Craven, "I like exploring the human psyche, especially its uncharted and irrational aspects.  There's so much in the human consciousness that doesn't fit into consensus reality."  Lin Shaye, sister to Bob, explains how such an exploration is so unnerving in A Nightmare on Elm Street:  “On some level, your dreams are all you have as an adolescent, and the fact that there’s a subversive element that won’t allow you to dream, except when it's filled with fear and pain, is a very powerful theme. The film sits in a very eternal place for a lot of people."

"Sins of the parents being visited on the children."

Another common theme of Craven's work that appears in A Nightmare on Elm Street is family dymanics, and how youth are forced to make their own way without the assistance of their parents:  Craven:  "The issue of young people taking over for their parents is particularly key [in my work]...That sort of rite of passage where the younger generation triumphs and takes its place over the older is what many horror movies are all about."

In the case of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the teenage protagonists find themselves being targeted due in part by the actions of their parents, who took the law into their own hands to take revenge on Krueger.  While their actions are certainly understandable, and perhaps even justified given the circumstances, they still directly lead to their children's predicament.  Additionally, the parents provide no support in the situation.  For example, when Nancy is about to have her showdown with Krueger, her mother is drunk and essentially playing the role of the child.

When A Nightmare on Elm Street was remade in 2010, the writers teased the idea that the parents were even more responsible for the children's predicament, as the script leaves in question Krueger's guilt as a child killer before the parents burned him alive.  At the end of the movie it's revealed that Krueger was indeed guilty, and I believe that an opportunity was missed.  Suppose Krueger had been innocent before the parents killed him.  What if their actions were solely responsible for the eventual torture and deaths of their children?  I think this would have introduced a complexity to the story that would have justified a remake rather than just proving that producer Michael Bay was simply trying to make a buck.

Fun Facts:
  • The actor who played Glen, Johnny Depp, had a few minor hits after A Nightmare on Elm Street, with parts in films such as Private Resort, Nick of Time, The Ninth Gate, and, most recently, a small part in Kevin Smith's movie Tusk.
  • The inspiration for the name Freddy was a bully who tormented Craven as a child.
  • David Warner, who you may recognize from other genre films such as The Omen and Time After Time, was once signed on to play Freddy.  
  • A simple marionette technique was used to pull off the extended arms effect from Tina's death sequence.  Crew members had long poles with string attached to the ends of the fake arms extending from Englund.
  • Bob Shaye's sister, Lyn, plays the English teacher in the scene before Nancy's dream sequence in school.  She's had a varied career as a character actor, including other horror films such as Insidious as well as comic fare such as There's Something About Mary and Kingpin.  
  • Heather Langenkamp now runs a make-up effects studio, called AFX Studio with her husband, David Anderson.
  • The red/green sweater was based on an article that Craven read that said red and green were the most difficult for the brain to process when shown side by side.
  • Heather Langenkamp kept the phone prop with Freddy's tongue after filming wrapped.

Conclusion:

In the 30 years since the original A Nightmare on Elm Street was released, an entire industry has been built around Freddy Krueger.  There have been nine more movies, including sequels, a crossover with one Mr. Voorhees, and the aforementioned remake.  There are video games, comic books, action figures, and a variety of other Freddy swag.

New Line Cinemas has had an illustrious history since it's breakthrough hit.  Perhaps one of the biggest successes after A Nightmare on Elm Street was the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I mention this because I think it's important for horror fans to know.  This way, the next time a snobby film nerd starts talking down their noses about horror, remind them that the existence of Middle Earth as an on-screen entity owes it's existence to a burned madman in an ugly sweater and a fedora.

Further Reading:

Banka, Michael.  "Interview on Elm Street:  An Interview with Wes Craven."  CinĂ©aste.  Vol. 17, No. 3 (1990), pp. 22-25.

Farrand, Daniel and Andrew Kasch.  Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. 1428 Films.  May 10, 2010.

Fortune, Drew.  "The Dream Journal:  Reflections on the 30th Anniversary of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street."  Entertainment Weekly Online.  http://www.ew.com/ew/static/longform/nightmare/desktop/

Grow, Kory.  "Bedtime Stories: Behind the 10 Most Shocking 'Nightmare on Elm Street' Scenes."  Rolling Stone Online.  October 30, 2014.  http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/lists/making-of-nightmare-on-elm-street-10-best-scenes-20141030#ixzz3aQQyu8dy


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Screw Mr. Rogers, I Had The Voorhees Family


I'd had no idea that today is the 35th anniversary of Friday the 13th until I hopped on Twitter this morning and saw at least a dozen mentions about it (there's definitely a theme to those I follow on Twitter).  But when I found out, it got me thinking about not just the first movie, but the whole franchise, and how it has played a pretty significant role in my life.

Now, please don't take this as my serial killer manifesto.  I've got a very firm grasp on the difference between reality and fiction, and how the sequential murder of a gaggle of teenagers is fun just so long as it's on screen and not in the newspaper.  What I mean when I say that Friday the 13th has played a significant role in my life, I mean that it comes with a lot of memories.

First and foremost, they remind me of my mother...which, I'll admit, does not bode well for my "I'm not a serial killer" claim.  But my mom has always been a horror nut, which is of course how I inherited the bug.  Dad, on the other hand, always thought horror was ridiculous, so this was something that was just for me and mom.  We had a small video store within walking distance, so a lot of Friday nights were spent in the horror section, looking over the same movies over and over again looking for which one I hadn't seen in a while.  Then my mom and I would load up on junk food and we were good to go.

I think better than renting the movies on video, though, was waiting for the marathons that the USA channel would play whenever a Friday the 13th would come around on the calendar.  Granted, all the gore was cut out and it seemed like there were commercials every five minutes, but it always seemed like more of an event that way.  Of course, the original was always in the mix, and one thing that I distinctly remember was that I didn't realize that Jason's mother was the killer in the first movie.  I'd always known Jason as the killer from the later movies, so I remember being very confused as to why no one was off-put at first when in close proximity to a psycho in a hockey mask.

Doesn't that thing really affect your blind spot?
The first movie in the franchise that came out when I was actually old enough to look forward to it was Jason Goes to Hell.  When I saw the box on the shelf at the video store, I was bummed to see that it had already been rented.  So I went the next week...and I was bummed to see that it was already rented again.  I repeated this process for at least a month until I finally snatched it up.  Then, I was bummed to find out that Jason Goes to Hell absolutely sucked.  I mean come on, Jason's only in the movie for like 3 minutes.  

Fortunately, the Friday the 13th movies are like pizza:  even the shitty ones are still good, especially if you've got a group of people with you at the time.  And every time I watch one, I get to remember something good from my childhood.  Is that a bit creepy?  Perhaps.  But I still love it.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Procrastination Corner: Vincent Price Fun Facts



While I figure out how I want to start digging into my next Book Report on A Nightmare on Elm Street (obviously, it won't be out on May 1st), I want to make sure that I'm staying active on here.  My wife asked me what I knew about Vincent Price, and I realized that I don't know next to nothing about him.

Well, that's not true.  Everyone knows something about Vincent Price.  He's one of horror's forefathers, with classic roles in the 1950s and 60s like House of Wax, House on Haunted Hill, The Fly, and a slew of Roger Corman produced adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories.  One of the few I've seen is Masque of the Red Death, a delightfully campy take on Poe's Gothic horror short story.  The things that stick out for me from that movie was that they apparently only had the budget to build two or three of the colored rooms from the original story, and Price's villainous Prince Prospero fucking LOVED ordering people to be garroted.

What I've never really known, though, is Price's background.  Where did he come from?  Was horror always his passion?  Was he born in one of those crazy labs or crypts that he spent so much time in for all of his movies?  So I decided to do a little searching to see what I could dig up on the guy.  Here are some of the highlights:


  • He was born on May 25th, 1911, not in a Transylvanian mausoleum as I might have thought, but rather in St. Louis, Missouri.  
  • His father was the president of a candy manufacturer.
  • He was pretty damn tall at 6-foot-4-inches.
  • He has over 100 movies to his credit.  
  • Started acting on the stage, including a stint on Broadway.
  • In his early film work, he often played historical figures such as Joseph Smith and Sir Walter Raleigh.  
  • Once he started playing villains, particularly in the horror films that would define his legacy, he found he had a lot more to work with.  "[The hero] comes out on top, but it's the heavy who has all the fun."
  • Aside from acting, Price's passions were art and cooking.  He graduated from Yale and the University of London with a degree in art history, and he won (or at least tied) on the show "The $64,000 Challenge" due to his expertise in the subject.  In regards to cooking, he has published several cookbooks with his second wife, Mary.  I checked on Amazon, and I'm sad to say that the recipes are not in the least bit spooky.
  • Speaking of wives, he had three of them:  Edith Barrett, Mary Grant, and Coral Browne.  Somewhat surprisingly, each marriage lasted at least ten years.  He's also got two children:  a daughter named Mary Victoria and a son named Vincent Barrett.
  • Even after his breakthrough in horror, he liked to keep busy with TV appearances, with spots in a number of shows, including Batman and The Brady Bunch.
And also, obviously, The Muppet Show
  • He also did his fair share of voice over work for musicians, including Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (duh) and Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare."
  • He died of lung cancer on October 25th, 1993.

And finally, because I connect pretty much everything in my life back to The Simpsons:




Further Reading:

Flint, Peter B.  "Vincent Price, Noted Actor of Dark Roles, Dies at 82."  New York Times Online.        October 27, 1993.  http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/27/obituaries/vincent-price-noted-actor-of-dark-roles-dies-at-82.html.

Vincent Price. (2015). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 07:50, May 03, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/vincent-price-9446990.