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The Vincent Price Collection – Volume III (Blu-ray Review)

Vincent-Price-IIIOn February 16, 2016, collectors, classic film aficionados and horror enthusiasts will relish the 4-Disc Blu-ray™ release of Scream Factory’s THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION III. This extraordinary collector’s set is an essential collection for every movie library and brings together FIVE Vincent Price masterpiece classics, featuring the first-ever Blu-ray movie presentation of MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961), TOWER OF LONDON(1962),DIARY OF A MADMAN (1963), AN EVENING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (1970) and CRY OF THE BANSHEE (1970). Packed with a bevy of chilling bonus content including new interview with producer/director Roger Corman and writer/producer/director Kenneth Johnson, new audio commentary with actor David Frankham, film historians, original theatrical trailers, archival materials, this highly-anticipated Blu-ray collection also includes a 12-page collector’s book with rare photos.

Master of the World 1

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In Morgantown Pennsylvania in 1868, the local residents hear a booming voice coming from the local mountain, the Great Eyrie. John Strock from the Department of the Interior is tasked with finding out just what is happening there and approaches Philip Evans for the use of his balloon which would allow him to view the mountain from air. Accompanied by Evans’ fiancée Dorothy Prudent and her father, they come under attack from rockets fired from inside the mountain. They are soon the prisoners of Captain Robur, a pacifist who is in command of the Albatross, 150 a foot-long airship. His mission in life is to stop all wars – even if he has to make war on nation states in order to achieve it.

I guess this one is notable in the set because it marks a sort of “team up” film for it.  Last time we saw the likes of Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and some others co-star in movies with Vincent Price.  This time, the only true notable “star” is that of Charles Bronson in this film.  And this is pre-super badass Bronson I think.  Predating Death Wish by more than 10 years and also his notable westerns, his filmography was more television related.  But here in this film, you can just tell he has a charisma and look about him that was going to send him into stardom.  And this is BEFORE he had the lovely mustache.  His performance is one that matches Price and is better than this film really deserves.

Vincent Price is devilish and wonderful in this movie as he always, but I couldn’t help but find myself sorta bored with it.  Its quite a bit long for a film that sits on an airship most of the time and doesn’t really do a whole lot.  Hacking off a good 15 minutes may have done this movie’s pace some wonders.  I guess when it came out, part of the enjoyment may have been the visual effects and designs, but they were amusing for all of a little bit while conversation after conversation seemed to drag on.

Master of the World 3

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  For the majority of the film, this one looks pretty nice.  It appears as if its one of those technicolor films of the era that are really nice when restored if the money is there, but if its not, it looks like it could be better.   Saying that, this one still looks really nice.  The print they are sourcing it from does vary in quality at different times.  Details and sharpness are solid enough though.  Stock footage used in the film looks surprisingly most of the time.

Depth:  This one looks pretty average with some impressive moments at times.  Movements are smooth and free looking.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid.  Never really masking any detail, textures and the like are easy to see most o fthe time.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty vibrant.  Its very 60s.  Blues stick out and pop the most.  There are a good range of filters used throughout the film too. 

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout with some minimal flickering in a couple of areas.  Facial details prove stronger in medium and close-up shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is some grain, specs, scratches and dirt on this one.

Master of the World 2

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Mostly this one comes across and clean and well balanced among score, vocals and effects.  However, the volume tends to waver and not stay consistent throughout.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean, impressive for the age and shape this film is in.

Tower of London 1

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The twisted Richard III is haunted by the ghosts of those he has murdered in his attempt to become the King of England.  His murderous and deceitful ways of trying to rise in the ranks in his way to Kingship continue to expound and weigh down on his conscience and psyche.

This film was made as an attempt to do an Edgar Allan Poe / Vincent Price / Roger Corman-like film for a different studio.  Things didn’t go as right as they would have liked.  For instance, the studio wouldn’t allow them to shoot it in color even.  But, watching this, and being a fan, you’ll see right away that this one fits in perfectly with the themes and haunts of the other films.  It also might be a dash more haunting with the unintended choice of black and white cinematography instead of color.

With this film you get Vincent Price doing what we always love him doing, playing a devious schmuch-asshole kinda guy.  He’s sly and slick, and just a complete awful human being.  What’s great though, is the cowardice and fear he displays when visited by the ghosts of his victims.  For the most part, this is a pretty claustrophobic movie, but one of the highlights features a great scene with him alone on the battlefield surrounded by the dead bodies of his fallen soldiers from a fight that his arrogance led to the failure.

Tower of London 3

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail:  This one looks absolutely beautiful on Blu-ray.  Yes, it has the benefit of being in black and white, but one has to be impressed at the amounts of detail seeping through and the sharpness of this picture.  Its one of the highlights of the set.

Depth:  Solid depth.  Movements are surprisingly very smooth, fluid and cinematic.  Background detail is glorious in some of the more static shots.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and beautiful.  Many of the grays come in to add such a delightful amount of texture to the palette.  No crushing seen and the amount of detail that still follows through on the darkest of cloths, surfaces and hair should be commended.

Color Reproduction:  N/A

Flesh Tones:  Facial details like wrinkles, stubble and lip texture impress from medium shots and close-ups.

Noise/Artifacts:  Just some grain and a few specs/dirt.

Tower of London 2

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  A solid old school mono track that gets the job done.  The focus here is on the vocals and they come across as a terrific representation of what I’m sure they sounded like around release.  Balance is also good between those, effects and score.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp and clear with a nice little analog hiss present.

Diary of a Madman 1

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Simon Cordier, a judge, visits a condemned man in his cell who claims he committed the murders he was condemned for, being under the control of an evil spirit – Horla. Under spell he tries to kill the judge, fails and dies. Upon losing its victim, Horla has no choice but to select a new one, the judge.

Making its mark in this set is a solid little Gothic Romance.  With a touch of suspense to it, you know some domino is going to fall or egg is about to hatch, just a matter of when and how.  The film is accented by the lovely Nancy Kovack who reminded me a lot of Laura Harring in this film.  There’s a sweet little romance melted in with a moral tale about truely finding a man’s guilt.

One of the great strengths, in terms of Vincent Price movies, that Diary of a Madman brings to the table is that it features many scenes with the master alone.  Price was one of the very best at carrying a scene all by his lonesome, whether it be with dialogue or physical expression.  Here he sits and talks to the spectre of evil that threatens to ruin his life at any given turn.  Price also gets to have a possession turn which paints him very freakin’ scary.  He doesn’t even need a mask to bring upon a slasher menace.

Diary of a Madman 2

Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail:  Diary of a Madman transfers into a richer and colorful image.  Like the Master of the World, its a bit more technicolor type, but this one gets a better handle on things.  With a sharper image, it contains plenty of groovy details, like those scene on the clay busts that our lead is building in the film as well as the wood finishes on the furniture and molding in the house.

Depth:  This is a nice above average look to the multiple dimensions take in any given scene.  Movements are cinematic and background images can show some nice detail in focused static shots.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and smooth throughout.  No real detail gets hidden and shadow work is marvelous.

Color Reproduction:  Colors pop quite well, with red being the all-star.  There is a nice palette on display in what is probably the most colorful film in the set.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Details run rampant, with make-up shining through as well as wrinkles, stubble and lip texture.

Noise/Artifacts:  Grain and some specs/dirt.  It also features cigarette burns to mark reel changes as well (Which I find novel but could bug some).

Diary of a Madman 3

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This mono track has a beautiful blend of effects, vocals and score.  Nothing steps on one another’s toes as the vocals and scoring do compliment each other during many scenes.  An analog hiss in the source is constantly present in the mix.

Low Frequency Extension:   N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and crisp feature an analog hiss throughout.

Evening of Poe 1

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Vincent Price recites four Edgar Allen Poe stories: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Sphinx, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Pit and the Pendulum.

This is what its all about right?  Vincent Price sitting on glorified theater stages dressed with period settings spouting off the works of Edgar Allan Poe.  For those who love the man, this is a huge highlight to have here on the set.  Here is the substitution for the introductions that we all loved on the previous two sets.  Instead, you get a full hour of Vincent reciting Poe.

Its amazing how this man can just take these little works on a small production and slide in them into a much bigger and grander fashion.  An Evening Of Edgar Allan Poe is a true testament to the power of a performer.  Maybe overlooked by some, having this here on the set is a huge deal.

Evening of Poe 3

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Encoding: MPEG-2 NTSC

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail:  Yes, some will boo hoo that this is in standard definition, but I’m sure Scream Factory looked at the prospect of it in HD and realized this was the better was to go.  It probably would have translated like garbage to be quite honest.  They made the right choice.  Yes, some of this looks dated with some ghosting and whatnot, but its not going to get any better.  This is cheap television from the 1980s, and I think they did a fine job.

Depth:  Pretty flat.  Movements look good and video-like.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and bring upon as minimal crushing as can be and do hide detail in darker objects.

Color Reproduction:  Colors come through, but they are kinda hazy as goes with everything here.  Very primary for the most part.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural for the most part.  Some good detail in the close-ups

Noise/Artifacts:  Just normal SD stuff.  

Evening of Poe 2

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This Dolby Digital track sounds terrific.  This is all vocal-based and sound as you’d expect it to.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and clear.  There is some source distortion present, but there’s nothing Scream Factory really can do about it.

Cry of the Banshee 1

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In seventeenth century England Lord Whitman wages unending war on what he sees as the ever-present scourge of witchcraft, and many local villagers have suffered at his hands. But one victim uses her occult powers to curse his family, enlisting unknowing help from one of the household.

My pick for best film in this set, Cry of the Banshee, is a brutal tale of witchcraft and witchhunting.  It would make a great double bill with Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm).  There are two cuts of the film on the disc, but recommended is the director’s cut (also the default one).  There is a lot of gore, misogyny, nudity, brutality and sexual assault in this movie.  It is STILL shocking to see all of this going on today.  There are scenes that look like darkest timeline versions of ones parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  And that gore?  Yeah, most of it holds up in the nasty department pretty well.

Vincent Price collaborates here again with Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again).  Price is a terrible individual in this movie and he eats up scenery with every frame he can nibble on.  Its one of his most devious and foul performances of all time.  A lot of people like to think cute and nostalgic with Vincent Price and his horror canon, but really they should look upon this and Witchfinder General to see just how nasty the man could be when he turns it on.

Cry of the Banshee 2

Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  This delicious new transfer looks quite good here on Blu-ray.  Details are abundant and it looks quite sharp.  Its got a nice filmic look that doesn’t look like its been tampered with too much.  Some frame distortions/damages (nothing major) do appear too, as part of the charm.

Depth:  Good sense of spacing with cinematic-like movements from the characters.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and provide terrific shading and enhance some sharpening.

Color Reproduction:  There are solid coloring devices here with clothing and decorations, but mainly this is a sort of dryer, natural look.  Still, the color palette does come across very well.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural, if not slightly colder.  Details are impressive with close ups providing really good looks at blemishes, scars, wrinkles and stubble.  A few instances show some smoothness, but not a whole lot.

Noise/Artifacts:  Grain, some dirt/specs and hints of some print damage.

Cry of the Banshee 4

Audio Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a loud pronounced track.  The score is very high in the mix and can cause a jolt when necessary.  Effects sound slightly dated, but still full and well rounded.  Overall, this is the best viewing experience audio-wise on this set.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Audio is crisp, clear and plenty audible throughout.  Some screams boast a much higher volume than the dialogue and can be piercing (as intended).

Cry of the Banshee 3

Extras Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

The Vincent Price Collection – Volume III Comes with a little insert booklet featuring more promotional photos/posters.

Disc 1 – Master Of The World

Audio Commentary

  • With Actor David Frankham

Richard Matheson: Storyteller: Extended Cut (HD, 1:12:05) – Portions of this have popped up on the previous Vincent Price sets, but here is everything altogether and pretty much feature length.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:28) 

Photo Gallery I (HD, 2:18) – Posters, promotional images, lobby cards and behind the scenes photos.

Photo Gallery II (HD, 1:59) – More personal photos of cast and crew sort of hanging out and more candid.

Disc 2 – Tower Of London

Interview With Director Roger Corman (HD, 7:11) – A brand new interview the legendary producer who talks about how he collaborated with his brother on a “Poe-like” picture.  Corman talks about why it was in black and white and how Vincent Price was involved in writing.

Producing Tower of London: An Interview With Producer Gene Corman (HD, 14:04) – An archival featurette of interviews with both Roger and Gene Corman.

Photo Gallery (HD, 4:31) – Posters, lobby cards, promotional stills and behind the scenes pictures.

Science Fiction Theatre Episodes Starring Vincent Price

  • One Thousand Eyes (HD, 26:09) 
  • Operation Flypaper (HD, 26:05) 

Disc 3 – Diary Of A Madman / An Evening Of Edgar Allan Poe

Diary Of  A Madman

Audio Commentary

  • With Film Historian and Author Steve Haberman

Photo Gallery (HD, 1:44) – Posters and lobby cards

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3:16)

An Evening Of Edgar Allan Poe

Audio Commentary

  • With Film Historian and Author Steve Haberman

Interview With Writer/Producer/Director Kenneth Johnson (HD, 21:26) – Kenneth talks about the inception of the project, getting Vincent involved and then goes through details of production with interesting anecdotes on the places used.

Photo Gallery (HD, 1:27) – Production and behind the scenes stills.

Disc 4 – Cry Of The Banshee

Audio Commentary

  • With Film Historian and Author Steve Haberman

Cry Of The Banshee – Theatrical Version (HD, 1:26:37) 

A Devlish Tale of Poe: An Interview With Director Gordon Hessler (HD, 17:52) – An archived interview from a previous release where the director talks about working with Hitchcock and how he got to get clout to make the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:28) 

TV Spot (HD, :58) 

Radio Spot (HD, :30) 

Photo Gallery (HD, 4:09) – Posters, lobby cards, promotional stills, behind the scenes stills.

VincentPrice

Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Everyone was waiting for this set to be announced back in the fall, and what movies could possible be in it?  Then when it was announced people scoffed at what was included.  And, no, film-wise, there’s no denying that this is the weakest set of the three TERRIFIC outings Scream Factory has had.  Some of the problems are that Kino and Twilight Time started snagging Vincent Price films for their own libraries.  However, this release is far from being a slouch and for the most part, the movies are still quite entertaining.  Cry of the Banshee and the Edgar Allan Poe TV special are quite worth it.  They also put two full episodes of a vintage television on here as well.  My fear is that this is the last outing for The Vincent Price Collection from Scream Factory, but I surely hope not.  Volume IV might take them waiting for some rights to expire but I hope they do it.  Hell, I’m interested to see what they’d pull off after this one.  Weaker movies this time around, but still a FINE set to have, and to put right next to the first two volumes in your collection.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “The Vincent Price Collection – Volume III (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Spence

    Here’s hoping for a 4th set, that would include hopefully either or both two gems–Theater Of Blood (his best role I believe) and that fun Castle film The Tingler.