St. Vincent Price
Victoria Price celebrates her father's legacy
"I really resonate with the whole 'Keep Austin Weird' thing because of what that means to me. It's like, let's all be our true selves and not conform to what they're telling us we should be. That was my dad's philosophy of life."
So says Victoria Price, daughter of filmdom's legendary master of menace, Vincent Price, speaking by phone from her home in Santa Fe.
Of course, you already know all about Vinnie Price. Or do you? Hollyweird's last, late, and much-lamented master of the macabre wasn't just the star of such terrorific classics as The Abominable Dr. Phibes (tagline: "Love means never having to say you're ugly."), or director Roger Corman's much-lauded series of Edgar Allan Poe films for American International Pictures, or the narrator of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Price was also a deeply committed patron of the arts, gourmet chef, author, world traveler, radio and television personality, and all-around Renaissance man and bon vivant. He may have acted the cad in Otto Preminger's seminal film noir Laura, but offscreen the tall man with the sepulchral voice and the pencil mustache was anything but.
This Valentine's Day, Victoria Price and SoCo wax museum and one-stop horror and comic shop Sfanthor are teaming up to recast Cupid's holiday into Vincent's horrorday with a celebration of the actor's remarkable life titled "Vincent Price: Master of Menace, Lover of Life!" Those brave (or weird) enough to attend can expect a revealing and downright inspirational lecture from Victoria Price, whose 2014 biography Vincent Price: A Daughter's Biography is the final word on growing up with the man, the myth, the legend. Professor Griffin, Austin's original TV horror host, will be on hand to guide you through the spook-house maze that is Sfanthor and Museum of the Weird owner Steve Busti's shockingly realistic collection of outré waxworks (including a nightmarishly lifelike Price as his fire-scarred and vengeful character from 1953's House of Wax). Forget 3-D; this is the real deal.
"Less than a third of the movies he made were horror movies," explains Victoria Price, "but I attribute his longevity to the horror fans. They just really get him, and love him, and they're the ones that have kept his spirit alive. They appreciate all of the many parts of him."
True enough: Victoria Price is a regular speaker and presence at the myriad horror and monster movie conventions that help to keep her father's multi-hyphenated face firmly rooted in the pop-cultural zeitgeist, even as his Saturday afternoon monster matinee contemporaries – apologies, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, and, uh, Rondo Hatton! – begin to fade from mainstream memory.
And what are Victoria Price's picks for lovesick boys' and ghouls' V-Day viewing?
"Dr. Phibes," she answers immediately. "It's such a great love story and an elegant film. Laura is another great one, and I know a lot of people regard Edward Scissorhands as a Christmas movie, but, you know it's totally a love story. And of course the Poe movies are classics. Maybe House of Usher?
"You know," she adds, "the longer he's been gone, the more I realize what an extraordinary and unique human being my dad was. He wasn't associated with a particular monster. He wasn't a Frankenstein, a mummy, or Dracula, and so it was his own personality that was part of what people were drawn to, and continue to be drawn to. And that persona was very, very unique. There aren't many people like him in Hollywood today, who give as much back or are as interesting as he was. For me, that's the real Vincent Price legacy."
"Vincent Price: Master of Menace, Lover of Life" starts on Sun., Feb. 14, 1pm at Sfanthor, 1101 S. Congress. Tickets are available at www.luckylizard.net or 512/565-2678.