Though he has been gone 21 years ago this Halloween Season, Vincent Price makes a return to the big screen in The Last Man on Earth Halloween night at Cinema Paradiso.
While the film begins at 9 p.m., “Happy Hour” begins at 8 p.m. when Michelle Fresita’s signature “Vampire Wine,” “Bloody Marys” and succulent chocolates will be served. The evening will also feature a costume contest and prizes include: annual memberships for Cinema Paradiso, Fright Asylum coffee mugs, autographed copies of Davy Jones & the Heart of Darkness and The Querulous Nights of Athena Minerva.
A Vincent Price horror film is an appropriate way to kick off is what we hope will be an ongoing partnership between Fright Asylum and Cinema Paradiso, home of the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (FliFF).
FLiFF honored Vincent Price in 1991 with a Lifetime Achievement Award, one year after the actor’s last screen appearance in Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp. Price also narrated the documentary The Devil’s Triangle, which explored the mysteries involving the missing ships and airplanes off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale. Like many a conspiracy, this documentary seems to have disappeared from public consumption, but has resurfaced in four parts on YouTube.
Vincent Price has remained a cultural figure in popular culture. His voice can be heard on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the best selling album of all time. Seven years before Thriller, Price lent his voice to Alice Cooper’s first solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare. Price’s vocal tones have inspired many actors and actresses. At the recent Spooky Empire Convention, Pat Carroll discussed how Vincent Price influenced her reading of Madame Leota in The Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyworld.
By the time he did The Last Man on Earth, Vincent Price had been cementing his image as the new “King of Horror” for his work in William Castle movies (The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill) and his Edgar Allen Poe/Roger Corman series (The Masque of Red Death, The House of Usher, The Tomb of Ligeia). The Last Man on Earth will be celebrating its 50th anniversary screening Halloween night.
The Last Man on Earth is based on Richard Matheson’s horror fiction novel I Am Legend. His book was adapted for film twice more as The Omega Man (1971) with Charlton Heston in the Vincent Price role and, most recently, as I Am Legend (2007) with Will Smith. Of the three films, the Vincent Price version has been the most influential.
While attending Carnegie Mellon University, George Romero talked with two of his Pittsburgh friends, John Russo and Gary Streiner about directing a movie that “… had a taste for the bizarre.” The film was Night of the Living Dead, which begat the current zombie-craze currently fueled by AMC Television series The Walking Dead. Romero has long admitted that The Last Man on Earth was a direct influence on his work.
Despite portraying despicable villains and cultural maniacs, the real Vincent Price was a dedicated professional and likeable movie star who always had time for his fans. One month before his passing in 1993, I received a letter that just might be Vincent Price’s last autograph. Fright Asylum and I are honored to return Vincent Price to the Big Screen this Halloween night at Cinema Paradiso. (For more information, visit www.fliff.com/Film/1798/Fright_Asylum_Halloween_Special
Cinema Dave had a response from Vincent Price himself!