Made with white bread and gelatin – my, these cherry pies are awful

Each year, I participate in an annual Pieathlon with a host of food bloggers from around the globe so that I can share some of Vincent Price’s own recipes from his repertoire.

This year, however, I thought I’d go a bit surreal and select a dish from Salvador Dali’s decadent 1973 gastronomic tome Les Dîners de Gala. Devoted to the pleasures of taste, it comes with a warning from the legendary artist: ‘If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive, and far too impertinent for you.’

The basic principal of the annual Piethon organised by Yinzerella (who runs dinneriserved1972.com) is for everyone to send in a recipe, whereby we are then assigned a pie of her choosing. Now, I think she’s making me pay for my choice: which was Dali’s Oasis leek pie, a very rich dish filled with bacon, cheese, heavy cream and leeks.

For me, she selected a 1970s Weight Watches recipes for Cherry Pies sent in by Surly over at VintageRecipeCards.com. It’s pretty simple to make, but has some ingredients I truly dislike: white bread, artificial sweetener and gelatin. And aside from the gelatin (I went for a vegan version), I played by the rules. The results were – very stodgy indeed.

There are no sizes given as to how big the pie dish should be and when I crumbed up the 2 slices of bread, it didn’t reach the ends of the apple pie dish that I normally use. So I opted to make 12 mini-pies instead. For this first effort, I ended up crumbing 6 pieces of bread and added 5 teaspoons of the crumb mixture into each case before pressing them down. Then I popped the tray in the fridge to cool down for 10-minutes.

Next, I made the cherry mixture using 250g of Tesco’s Sweetheart cherries from Kent (you get 32 in a box, just perfect for this recipe). Now, I don’t have a cherry pitter, so I had to cut them up a bit (unlike in the picture, where they are most full). The recipe called for one envelope of unflavoured gelatin, so I used one packet of Dr Oetker Vege-Gel. There’s no indication as to how long to stir this over a low heat (just ‘until dissolved)’. So I did it for 5-minutes to allow the cherries to break down a bit. Big mistake, the resulting mixture came out thick and rubbery.

I certainly had the right amount of mixture for the 12 cases, though, and used Olive Oil margarine (the recipe calls for imitation or diet margarine, but I couldn’t find that). Into the oven they went and I had to extend the 10-minute baking time to 25-minutes to get a pale golden colouring on the pies.

The first batch of Weight Watches Cherry Pies were too bready

The test taste proved hilarious – everyone agreed they were just eating warm bread with something tasteless on top. The pies lacked any flavour from the cherries, and they missed the sweetness.

So, for the second batch, I replaced the artificial sweetener with some Caster Baking Sugar, reduced the Vege-Gel to just 3g, and made the cases thinner, with just 3 teaspoons of crumb. I also used a US measure of water instead of a UK measure. The result: more flavour in the cherry mixture, but the base was still bready and now too soft. None of my tasters liked them.

So will it be third time lucky? I don’t think so. Now, I can’t wait to see who got my choice of recipe.

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Burt Shonberg | The psychedelic 1960s artist behind those haunting House of Usher portraits

If you have ever seen Roger Corman’s The Fall of the House of Usher and wondered who did those haunting portraits of Roderick Usher’s disreputable ancestors – then wonder no more, for it was the magic realist Los Angeles artist Burt Shonberg (1933-1977).

I have just finished reading a terrific biography, Out There: The Transcendent Life and Art of Burt Shonberg, by author Spencer Kansa, and it’s a real eye-opener, not only about this psychedelic artist, but also about LA bohemia in the 1960s and 1970s.

From the late-1950s until his death in 1977, Shonberg was the premier psychedelic artist of Los Angeles. His surreal murals adorned the facades and interiors of hip coffee-houses and clubs (including his legendary Café Frankenstein in Laguna Beach); which brought him to the attention of actor Mel Welles and his Little Shop of Horrors director Roger Corman.

It was while working on project for the 7 Chefs restaurant on Sunset Boulevard that Shonberg was hired by Corman to create the ancestral portraits that hang in the Usher mansion in his 1960 Gothic horror. Corman felt Burt’s work had a ‘mystical, mysterious quality that would be perfect to capture the evil inherent in the faces of the ancestors’ – and he gave the artist a series of character histories to interpret.

‘He captured their tormented spirits and the spirit of the film perfectly,’ said Corman in a later interview; while art director Daniel Haller, who oversaw the artist’s progress, said, ‘he was unique and produced such great work for us’.

Vivien Usher ‘ Blackmailer, harlot, murderess – she died in a madhouse’

Shonberg conceived five family portraits and two pieces that Vincent Price’s aesthete character, Roderick Usher, paints – a colourful figure and a landscape featuring the Usher mansion.

According to Kansa, the blacked-out eyes in the Vivien Usher painting were eerily similar to a self portrait created by Shonburg’s lover, Marjorie Cameron, entitled The Black Egg.

Cameron’s story is also somewhat amazing, and the subject of another Kansa-penned biography, Wormwood Star. The occult artist – who later appeared in Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide – introduced Shonburg to the teachings of Aleister Crowley and to the mind-warping properties of peyote; which helped inform his unique artistic style, as did his participation in Dr Oscar Janiger’s ground-breaking study into the effects of LSD on the creative process.

Marjorie Cameron’s The Black Egg

For the depiction of Bernard Usher, Shonberg used his friend Ray Shevin as his model. Shevin was an adherent of George Gurdjieff, the Sufi-inspired mystic who developed the Fourth Way system to help people became fully conscious to every unfolding moment in their lives. Meanwhile, Francis Usher is a self portrait, but there’s no info as to who the subjects were for Anthony Usher or Captain David Usher.

Anthony Usher – ‘Thief, usurer – merchant of flesh’
Bernard Usher – ‘Swindler, forger, jewel thief, drug addict’
Francis Usher- ‘Professional assassin’
Captain David Usher – ‘Smuggler, slave trader, mass murderer’
This psychedelic painting comes from the warped imaginings of Roderick Usher

Being an art connoisseur and a champion of young artists, Vincent Price was intrigued to meet Shonberg, who was later invited to the set, where the two of them had a long conversation about art.

Artist Burt Shonberg (left) with Vincent Price

In the fiery climax of the film, the family portraits appear to perish in the flames. However, Shonberg’s paintings survived as they had been sprayed by a flame retardant beforehand.

Now this is where things get interesting. According to Kansa’s book, Vincent was said to have been given the portrait of David Usher, while Corman took two others, including the Usher mansion paintings. Unfortunately, they were stolen from Corman’s office at Amco Studios, shortly afterwards, a theft that still stings to this day (according to Corman).

The whereabouts of all the other pieces is today unknown – and that includes the one that Vincent took because, according to his estate, no Shonberg paintings were ever recorded in his collection. So did he ever have possession of it – even for a brief time? And will the missing paintings ever be found again? Only time will tell.

Shonberg’s association with Corman didn’t end with Usher. He was later employed to create several new canvases for 1963’s The Premature Burial. Like Roderick Usher, Ray Milland’s aristocrat, Guy Carrell, enjoys dabbling in painting, and the two share similar techniques – probably due to their individual torments (Guy suffers from taphephobia, the fear of being buried alive, while Roderick suffers acute sensibilities).

Shonberg was also commissioned to provide some paintings for Roger Corman’s The Premature Burial, starring Ray Milland

One of the pieces is entitled Sin Consummations Devoutly to be Wished, which Guy keeps in his tomb. In this piece, Baphomet looms over a grisly hell-scape, where condemned souls are nailed to crosses; beheaded by guillotines; burnt at the stake; and over flaming cauldrons. It’s a powerful piece, that could very well have been influenced by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, but Kansa doesn’t say what happened to the piece after filming wrapped on the production.

Shonberg’s Sin Consummations Devoutly to be Wished as featured in The Premature Burial

As for Shonberg (who died in 1977, aged 44), his life story was a heady fusion of ‘magical inspiration, psychedelic experience and artistic production’, all the while ‘walking the thin and dangerous between dimensions’.

His artwork was all about beckoning us onward into the realm of our dreams, and Kansa’s book goes along way into helping us understand Shonberg’s artistic mindset. I so recommend you get your mitts on this and also Wormwood Star.

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Revisiting Vincent Price’s Grand Tour of Europe

It was back in 1928 that a 17-year-old Vincent Price first stepped foot on European soil as part of his Grand Tour, where he finally got to see the great works of art that he was so passionate about. His tour took in seven art capitals, beginning in the UK on 14 July and ending in France on 26 August.

Recently, ESC Tours – which is run by his daughter Victoria Price and Vincent Price Legacy UK curator Peter Fuller – put together a series of bespoke tours in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, that not only followed in Vincent’s footsteps, but also paid homage to his life philosophy – to be forever curious about the world around you. Here’s what happened…

On Tuesday 21 May, our first port of call was the historic Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk, where Vincent Price stayed with his tour group in 1928. It was here that, according to his personal diary, he had a transcendental connection with his mother back home in his home town in St Louis, Missouri. We took a bracing walk along the beach, attempted a little ESP connection to those who had gone or lived apart from us – just as Vincent did – then toured the hotel where Vincent’s group stayed 91 years ago. Much has changed of course — lots of renovation and extensions have taken place on the historic hotel (where the Dutch royals once resided alongside the upper classes here) — but it was a great start to our journey.

We then headed off to Delft, famous, of course, for the Dutch Baroque Period painter Johannes Vermeer and its iconic blue and white tiles. Our tour of the city mainly centred on the town square, which was featured in an iconic sequence in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre.

Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre was partly filmed in Delft
The gang pose outside the house that inspired Vermeer’s The Little Street (Het Straatje)

On Wednesday 22 May, we headed into Wallonia, famous for its ancient castles, fortresses and beautiful scenery, where we visited a museum dedicated to the Belgian cartoonist Hergé (of Tintin fame), took lunch at Maredsous Abbey, where they produce their own beer and cheese, and toured some castle ruins in Montaigle. We also happened to chance upon a film shoot taking place at remote property that looked ever so spooky — we think it may have been for a horror film.

The Musée Hergé in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium is a must visit
Enjoying a tipple at Maredsous Abbey
The ruins of the medieval castle of Montaigle in Onhaye, Belgium

Thursday 23 May and it was time to board our Mystery Machine again for the drive to Ghent where we strolled through the famous ancient city, visited St Bavo’s Cathedral to see the famed Ghent Altarpiece, Het Lam Gods, and took a self-guided tour Gravensteen Castle (where we were rather disappointed to find that its dungeon was no more).

Glorious Ghent

After some retail therapy and a rest-up at a local cafe, we headed to the coast, to Oostende, where we checked into the glorious Thermae Palace hotel — a real gem and reminder of the past — where Harry Küme’s classic Belgium vampire horror, Daughters of Darkness (aka Les Lèvres Rouges), was filmed (check out my now and then shots below). During our walk on the beach at sunset we couldn’t resist recreating our own version of the Ghent Altarpiece when we chanced upon a steel sculpture inspired by it.

Now and then with the Daughters of Darkness at the Thermae Palace in Oostende, Belgium
Now and then with the Daughters of Darkness at the Thermae Palace in Oostende, Belgium

Our road trip concluded on Friday 24 May with us heading back to Schipol via the abandoned city of Doel. Now this is not on any normal tour, but is a must. It’s a ghost town that’s turned into living art – and the total antithesis of the other attraction we visited – Kinderdijk, a picture postcard Dutch village filled with windmills and coachloads of tourists (which the locals hate BTW).

Windmill overload at Kinderdijk village in South Holland

Saying goodbye to our Mystery Machine, and to some of our group, we took the train into Amsterdam, where we met up with a new group of campers for a welcome dinner at De Kas, a fab farm-to-table restaurant located in a set of greenhouses that date back to the 1920s. This would be the first of three elaborate meals that we would have during our stay. The Dutch love their taster menus — and boy do they know how to do them.

Our Amsterdam adventure kicked off properly on Saturday 25 May with a visit to the Rijksmuseum, home to Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (one of the key works of art that Vincent saw for the first time – up, close and personal – in 1928).

We also visited the All the Rembrandts Exhibition, which presented 22 paintings, 60 drawings and more than 300 best examples of Rembrandt’s prints. Interestingly, Vincent’s first piece of art that he bought was a Rembrandt etching. Unfortunately, it was never recorded as to which piece it was — so we shall never know what became of it.

You can read more about Vincent’s stay in The Netherlands and his love of art by reading this excerpt from My Trip Abroad: https://vincentpricejournal.wordpress.com/i-like-what-i-know-a-visual-autobiography-by-vincent-price-1959/

One of the activities we do on our tours is pick our favourite piece from each art collection that we visit and then discuss it later. This piece, Saul and the Witch of Endor, attracted the attention of three of us in the group — probably on account of its occult themes and its fantastical creatures.

Saul and the Witch of Endor (Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, c. 1472/77)
Rijks Restaurant, Amsterdam

We were also treated to a mammoth three-hour five-course lunch at the Michelin-starred Rijks restaurant, which had ‘traded spaces’ with a farm-to-table restaurant in Bali called Locavore. The quality was excellent, and the quanity bountiful — but no room for dinner this evening.

The Museum Quarter in Amsterdam was a great place to start our city break, and some of our group took the opportunity to visit the new Moco Contemporary Art Museum, which was dedicated to the works of the street artist Banksy, as well as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Daniel Arsham. I think I loved the setting, the historic Villa Alsberg, as much as the artwork.

Moco Contemporary Art Museum

Sunday 26 May found our group splitting up to visit Rembrandt’s House and the Amsterdam Dungeon (which was whole lot of fun), then we all met up to tour the Anne Frank House, where Anne, her family and four other people who hid from the Nazis in rooms in the secret annex during World War Two. This was truly a sobering, educational visit, and is a must-do when in the city.

The evening was all about Vincent Price as we headed to Lab 111 for a presentation by Victoria about her dad’s legacy, followed by a screening of House of the Long Shadows starring Vincent alongside Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing — which was perfect as it was Peter’s birthday today, while Vincent and Chris’ birthday is May 27.

And speaking of birthday’s, on Monday 27 May, we celebrated what would have been Vincent’s 108th birthday by doing the things he would have done – we headed to an art museum, of course. In this case, it was the Van Gogh Museum, which was a true delight and a place I could happily return to time and again.

You can’t not head to Amsterdam without doing a canal cruise, which took in the well-known districts of the Pijp, the Jordaan and the Red Light District, as we sailed past iconic bridges and the picturesque merchant houses — including ones that featured in the Bond classic, Diamonds Are Forever, starring Sean Connery.

In 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s 007 visits Jill St John’s Tiffany Case at 36 Reguliersgracht in Keizersgracht, Amsterdam

We ended the day with a meal at the Restaurant La Rive in the Amstel Hotel, where Vincent and Mary Price also visited and included in their acclaimed culinary tome, A Treasury of Great Recipes. This was another gastromonic affair where we got a true taste of haute cuisine.

The classy and classic Amstel Hotel

On Tuesday 28 May, we had planned on a day trip to of Haarlem before taking the train to Paris — but misfortune struck in the form of a public transport strike. So we ended up on a Eurolines coach — which took many hours. Not a great start to the final part of our European adventure, but we are all laughing about it now.

A transport strike didn’t stop us from continuing our Euro tour

Vincent Price ended his Grand Tour of 1928 in Paris, where he visited so many of Paris’s justly famous cultural sites. We planned to do the same — and added in a few more that have since become part of the pantheon of the City of Lights.

So, on Wednesday 29 May, we began with a morning tour of the Musee d’Orsay art gallery set in a stunning converted Beaux Arts railway station, followed by lunch at 1.30pm at the Eiffel Tower’s 58 Tour restaurant (which has the best views of Paris in my book). In the afternoon, we cruised the Seine, and concluded with dinner at Café de l’Empire, where confit duck was the speciality. A big day indeed… and much needed after that long journey the day before.

If you’d like to read what Vincent had to say about his visit to Paris in 1928, check out this excerpt from My First Trip Abroad: https://vincentpricejournal.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/vincent-price-on-paris-the-louvre-and-ethel-barrymore/

For horror fans, visiting Notre Dame and the Palais Opera Garnier is a must when in Paris — especially regarding their links to those classics of the horror genre, The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While Notre Dame was closed due to the recent devastating fire, when we visited on Thursday 30 May, some of the group took a tour of the Opera House while others explored the nearby Galleries Lafayette, for a bit of retail therapy.

Then it was off to the Louvre – unquestionably one of the finest art galleries in the world with some 380,000 objects from pre-history to the 21st century with 35,000 works of art over 8 departments on display. After a good few hours there, we finished the day with dinner at La Grande Mosquée de Paris — which was so relaxing after the hussle and bustle of the Louvre and its many tourists.

On Friday, 31 May, we had a couple of different options. Some went off to explore some obscure sites of Paris, others wanted to rest, and another group headed to Fontainebleau to visit the historic town and take in an equestrian fair.

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

On Saturday 1 June, Victoria lead an EverWalk excursion through the Marais, while I took a group to visit the Catacombs — but a yellow vests demonstration resulted in the police closing it for most of the day.

But all was not lost as we headed to Père Lachaise Cemetery for the rest of the afternoon and ended the day with one of the most touristy things ever — dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge.

We finally did make it to the Catacombs of Paris… and its was so worth it!
Following in Vincent’s footsteps, we had to try out all the rides – including the Mad Hatter’s tea cups

Our adventures ended on a real high on Sunday 2 June with a trip to Disneyland Paris. Yes, I know its for kids and families — but we were guests of Disney because they have reintroduced Vincent’s original narration into the Phantom Manor attraction.

Victoria Price with the Disney Ambassadors at the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris, where Vincent’s original English narration has been re-instated

This was a fantastic opportunity to accompany Victoria as she listened to her dad’s voice again after so many years. We also got a personal guided tour of the park and were first in line for all the classic rides. It was, without doubt, a day to remember — and the perfect end to such an adventurous tour. Until next time, that is!

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Coral Browne: This F***ing Lady! | We review the London stage show

Did you know a play has been created celebrating the life of Coral Browne (aka Mrs Vincent Price No.3)?

Making its London debut recently at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington, London, This F***ing Lady! stars Amanda Muggleton as the Melbourne-born actress who lit up the London stage from the late-1930s to the 1960s (her Lady Macbeth is legendary) and became pals with the likes of Alec Guinness and Robert Morley, as well as Joe Orton, Barry Humphries and Cecil Beaton (one of her many lovers before Vincent came along).

But her crowning achievement was the 1983 BBC TV drama An Englishman Abroad – about her real-life encounter with Cambridge spy Guy Burgess – which was written for her by Alan Bennett, and scored her a BAFTA in 1984.

An Englishman Abroad, 1983, BBC

A great wit and supremely stylish, Coral fell head over heels in love with Vincent Price after he electrocuted her in the cult horror classic Theatre of Blood. But what she didn’t know was that their affair ended his 24-year marriage to his second wife Mary.

Vincent and Coral met on the set of Theatre of Blood.

I attended the opening night of the play with Vincent and Mary’s daughter, Victoria and while she admitted it was slightly surreal to be sitting in a theatre watching someone playing her ‘wicked stepmother (as she affectionately called her), Victoria felt Amanda really captured Coral’s charisma and expletive-laden wit – and there were a couple of moments when she thought it was actually Coral telling one of her own anecdotes.

Writer/producer Maureen Sherlock, Victoria Price and Amanda Muggleton at the opening night

Although the show only had a short run (over three weekends), I just had to return for the final performance. And I must say that Amanda (who played one of my favourite characters – Chrissie Latham – in the Oz TV drama Prisoner Cell Block H back in the 1980s) shone even better than her first night (which she admitted was a little under-rehearsed). But the good news is that the show is set to return (but nothing is confirmed as yet). And when it does, I do encourage you to go see it.

In the meantime, our guest reviewer, Ali Pye (who lives for the London stage), gives her take on this vivid portrait of the unapologetically lusty woman that Barry Humphries described as ‘magnificently Melbourne’…

ALI PYE REVIEWS CORAL BROWNE: THE F***ING LADY!

1984 – The BAFTA TV Best Actress Award looks like a photo finish between stage Dames Maggie and Judi. The surprise winner on the night, pipping them at the post in an Alan Bennett Cold War spy two hander in which the dramatic highlight is the measuring of an inside leg, and actually portraying herself twenty years previously with little more than light foundation and a series of startling hats, the name in the golden envelope elicits a playful chorus of “Who the **** is Coral Browne…?!”. If asterisks trouble you, this may not be the show you’re looking for.

An overnight sensation for her victory turn in “An Englishman Abroad”, Coral had in fact been sensational on stage and screen for over 50 years.

Amanda Muggleton’s one-woman tour de force of nature performance launches in this moment. Rising from the audience like Aphrodite from the waves, if Aphrodite wore a white satin pant suit and low-strung double pearls, to accept the accolade, turn to the audience and start the regale.

Flamboyant, fabulous, formidable, feisty, flirtatious, other words starting with “F” fly across the intimate little set in the snug back-bar Kings Head Theatre.

Coral by the mid 1980’s resides in Santa Monica as the adored Mrs Vincent Price, an inseparable Hollywood couple since “The Theatre of Blood” film some decade earlier in which he murdered her.

Vincent and Coral married in 1974

If the BAFTA award acceptance speech was the pinnacle, then the first clamber up the theatrical foothills was coming second in the Ballarat Eisteddfod, reciting Longfellow’s Hiawatha, as a 12-year-old Australian schoolgirl. Coral was bitten early by the performance bug. 

Up ‘em, at ‘em and frequently among ‘em, Muggleton sashays across the stage and through at least four rows of audience, fearless, forthright, her platinum mane a frosted crest, She slouches shyly into the girl from the genteel Melbourne suburb of (Far) Kew, just some days off the London-bound boat in 1934 knocking tentatively on the door of a magnificently indifferent Dame Sybil Thorndyke. Through three decades of theatrical star turns and finally to stride triumphant across the West End blasted heath storming all the great Shakespeare heroines against Gielgud, Redgrave, Richardson and Guinness.

Coral’s command of Lady Macbeth became so authoritative that younger actress regarded her as a go-to-guide (“Keep your eyes open during the sleepwalking scene, dear…”). An early foray on screen saw her cast as a sassy spy attempting the unlikely seduction of George Formby. The position of his little ukulele is not recorded in the annals of film history. But Coral’s career trajectory was sealed as the flirty friend and slinky adulteress and dipsy devil-may-care girl about town.

Bryan Hewitt shows Amanda and Ali Pye a brooch that Vincent gave to Coral

Maureen Sherlock’s punchy little seventy five minute drama ‘This F***ing Lady’ promotes some nuanced playing. The jump from Lady Macbeth famously “giving suck” to a lost infant segues nicely into the reflective dip of the head as Coral confesses to her maternal failings, an admitted “wicked stepmother” to her real-life step-children. Her relationship with her own needy parent, comfortably contained in a domestic arrangement that veers towards the “high security twilight home” of Coral’s fellow exile from Melbourne, Dame Edna Everage, seeps sadly through later scenes.

Pre – #Me Too, the young actress abroad embraces the theatrical bed-hopping, post-matinee trysts and torrid marital affairs with a “Why not?” pragmatism. The quality of the writing shines through the fog of wartime bunk-ups. Coral’s delicious self-depreciation never sharper than in defining herself, involved in an extensive dalliance with theatre impresario Firth Shephard four storeys up in the bombed out Savoy Hotel, as “Shephard’s Bush”.

Amanda channels Coral in This F***ing Lady!

Beneath the glitter and the glam, and the name-dropping of top end labels when it comes to undies gifted by the studios (Balmain a favourite), shines the flinty business woman.  Spotting the potential of, and securing the rights to, ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’ in 1940 brought in steady royalty cheques for the rest of her life. The throwaway line and accompanying wink that she improbably borrowed £3000 from her dentist to do so is practically a play in itself.

Muggleton’s ferocity never falters, mimicking the bravery of Coral, never less than a trooper. Lead actress in the 1969 production of Orton’s ‘What the Butler Saw’, set in a madhouse and requiring at least two of the cast to entirely remove their clothes, cautiously opening in Brighton she was deserving of a medal at the very least. Her great friend’s Alan Bennett’s assessment of the south coast harridans never truer than when presented with an innuendo-laden smutfest climaxing (in every sense) with an over-sized model of Winston Churchill’s phallus raised heavenwards.”The sleek Sussex matrons sit poised in the stalls like greyhounds in the slips. The first ‘f***’ and they’re a mile down the sea front, streaking for Hove….” recites Muggleton, perched giggling on the very edge of Row B, conspiratorially certain that theatre punters in 2019 Islington are considerably less fragile.

It is a glorious life lived onstage, backstage and with gleeful outrage and this work serves the subject well. Quibbles with the staging amount to the comparative unlikeliness of regal Coral Browne packing her own suitcases, although the notion frames the reminiscences, allows the flicking through of photo scrapbooks and reading aloud of boxed love letters. As likely frankly as abandoning the London stage while the Blitz rained down to tinker with an ambulance, plant turnips or tap out semaphore at Bletchley.

She is part of a lost generation, here celebrated with vibrancy and enthusiasm. It is fitting that the last scene of An Englishman Abroad shows a debonair Alan Bates as Guy Burgess striding through wintery Moscow, a prisoner in all but name, resplendent in the Saville Row threads that Coral Browne has facilitated for him. The show is going on.

They have left the stage now, the roaring crowd filed out. Coral died in 1991. The eulogy famously delivered at her funeral service by Barry Humphries encapsulated not only this f***king lady but the times through which she passed.

To paraphrase, they leave behind emptiness, a gap, a void, and a trough… The World is indeed a good deal less.  This cracking little one-woman show f***ing rocks.

Vincent Price Legacy UK curator Peter Fuller strikes a pose with Amanda after the show

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Victoria Price guests at HorrorConUK this weekend

As HorrorConUK returns with ‘Something Wicked‘ this coming weekend at Rotherham’s Magna for its fifth spine-chilling year, Victoria Price will be one of the special guests, alongside Sean Pertwee, Corey Feldman, Dario Argento, Denis O’Hare, Ed Neal, Duncan Regher, John Carroll Lynch, Scout Taylor-Compton, Jennifer Ruben and horror genre artist Graham Humphreys, who has designed a specially commissioned print (available only at the event) featuring all the 2019 guests. Pre-order yours here

An inspirational speaker, blogger, interspiritual & interfaith minister and author, Victoria will bring her unique story to HorrorConUK during a Q&A moderated by author/journalist Tony Earnshaw, and is greatly looking forward to meeting and talking to fans of her dad, Vincent Price.

Joining Victoria, will be Vincent Price Legacy UK curator Peter Fuller who will be bringing along a wealth of Price Family books, including Victoria’s critically acclaimed biography of her father, Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography, which was re-printed in 2018 with some special new essays by Dover Publications.

Also available (and for the first time in print) will be the limited edition (100 copies only) book, Some of My Best Friends are Actresses, featuring Vincent’s personal memories of some of the famous women in his life ( Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, Georgia O’Keefe among them ), and the limited edition green vinyl 12″ EP The Conqueror Worm, featuring the voice of Vincent Price and a superb cover by Graham Humphreys.

Victoria will be happy to sign all these items as well as your own treasured Vincent Price memorabilia.

Something Wicked here we come!

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The Conqueror Worm Limited Edition 12″ Vinyl – Buy Now

The voice of Thriller is back!

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Vincent Price returns in… The Conqueror Worm | Limited Edition 12″ Vinyl – Order Now!

The distinctive, iconic voice of Vincent Price can be heard once again on a new 12″ EP featuring a never-before-released recitation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm fused with a pulsating electronica score from London-based electronica outfit The Core.

Pressed on coloured vinyl with artwork designed by celebrated illustrator Graham Humphreys, this Limited Edition EP (300 units) is now available to order directly from our VP shop on this site for only £14.99 (excluding postage). One copy per customer.

ORDER NOW BEFORE IT SELLS OUT | CLICK HERE

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Thank you for a Vin-tastic year!

As we usher in 2019, I just want to thank you all for making 2018 one of the best years celebrating Vincent Price’s enduring legacy.

It all kicked off last spring when a group of us spent the weekend of 21 and 22 April in Suffolk and East Anglia exploring the original film locations used in Witchfinder General, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Witchfinder General WeekenderLots of new friends were made during our adventures that coincided with Ian Ogilvy (one of the film’s stars) visiting London. While he wasn’t able to join us (but hopes to in the future), he kindly signed the fantastic souvenir poster designed by Graham Humphreys that was given out at the end of the tour to each of the attendees.

By popular demand, our annual walking tour of the Theatre of Blood London film locations returned in the summer, with 30 attendees (our biggest group yet) taking all manner of transport on Saturday July 28 to different parts of London as we sought out some of the most iconic sites used in the black comedy horror.

Theatre of Blood Film Location Walking Tour 2018This year we visited Kensal Green Cemetery, one of the key locations, and also returned to some of old favourites, including Meredith Merridew’s house in Putney and the old shipyard in Brentwood where Edward Lionheart is plucked out of the Thames by the meth drinkers. It was a great day, blessed with great weather again (I think Vincent was looking out for us).

2018 marked the 90th-anniversary of Vincent Price’s Grand Tour of Europe. As such, Victoria Price and myself wanted to honour her dad’s trip by exploring a bit of Europe ourselves as one of our ESC Tours excursions.

Austria and Germany were our destinations and our group had an amazing time in the first week of October visiting Vienna, Salzburg and Munich, with side trips to Colmar in France and Liechtenstein.

Highlights included Burg Kreuzenstein near Vienna (which was used in Mario Bava’s House of Wax homage, Baron Blood), the awe-inspiring ice caves in Werfen, and the Whale House in Frieberg (whose frontage was recreated as for the Dance Academy in Dario Argento’s Suspiria). Plus, we all got a private tour of the real-life Castle Frankenstein near Frankfurt.

Next year, we shall continue following in Vincent’s European footsteps with a trip to Amsterdam and Paris, and we’d love you to join us.

CHECK OUT OUR 2019 ESC TOURS HERE

Darlington Film ClubNovember was a very busy time as Victoria Price returned to the UK for a number of engagements, including a first time visit to Darlington to introduce Pit and the Pendulum at the local film club there and a return to Birmingham, where she accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her dad at the annual Cine Excess conference. This was also attended by Pete Walker, who directed Vincent in House of the Long Shadows.

Our Birmingham trip also included a screening of Theatre of Blood at the Mockingbird Cinema where Victoria wowed the audience with her recollections of her dad making the film back in 1972.

Victoria Price and Pete WalkerBack in London, Victoria conducted an inspiring talk at the fantastic Cinema Museum hosted by the wonderful Misty Moon gang and also took on another role – as an ordained interfaith/interpsiritual minister – to conduct a wonderful wedding for our dear friends Roni and Stu, who chose Somewhere Over the Rainbow, sung by Vincent, to end the proceedings. Now that was a truly touching moment that will stay with me forever.

Victoria Price at Cinema MuseumWe capped off 2018 with our Yield Up the Mystery Weekender, which sought out places in Norfolk where the spiritual and the spooky connected. It took us from King’s Lynn to Norwich and onto Long Melford in Suffolk via the fabulous ruins of Castle Acre Priory, the original film location used in Tomb of Ligeia. Big thanks again to Graham Humphreys, who conjured up another fantastic souvenir poster for our attendees.

Photos: Gina Minichino

Yield Up the Mystery Weekender

***** COMING IN 2019 *****

So what’s coming up in 2019? Well Victoria and I are putting the final touches of our Amsterdam-Paris excursion that will take place from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 5 June. We will only be taking a small group, so if you want to join us, please sign up to the ESC Tours website. We shall release full pricing and a schedule in early January.

And if you have ever wanted to spend Halloween in New York, then you’re in luck as Victoria and I will also be conducting a guided tour of the Big Apple in late October/early November. We are currently putting that itinerary together also, which will have a suitably spooky theme, so expect some ghosts, ghouls, the headless horseman and a touch of Price and Poe.

SIGN UP HERE FOR MORE ABOUT ESC TOURS

I shall, of course, be conducting another Theatre of Blood walking tour in the summer and another Witchfinder General weekender in the autumn. I have also got a few suprises in store during 2019, with the first one coming in February.

This will be the release of a brand-new limited edition EP by London band The Core featuring Vincent Price reciting Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm (from a rare recording never released before). Only 300 copies will be available, and the EP features another amazing cover design by Graham Humphreys. Here’s a first look at it…

The Conqueror Worm by The Core and Vincent Price

This is going to be a must-have collectors item, so if you want to bag yourself a copy then do sign up to the Vincent Price Legacy UK newsletter (if you haven’t already) as subscribers will be first in the queue about the release and also will get first preference to join our other Legacy events.

SIGN UP TO THE VINCENT PRICE NEWSLETTER HERE

Thank you all for making 2018 such a Vin-tastic year. Here’s to an even better 2019!

Happy New Year everyone!

Peter Fuller
Curator
Vincent Price Legacy UK

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The Dr. Phibes Companion | Reviewing Justin Humphreys’ Romantic History of the Classic Vincent Price Horror Film Series

Back in October 2012, Little Shoppe of Horrors editor Richard Klemensen dedicated Issue 29 to tell the ‘definitive history’ of director Robert Fuest’s cult classic The Abominable Dr Phibes, starring Vincent Price in one of his most iconic movie roles. It was a revelation, featuring Phibesologist Justin Humphreys’ phan-tastic feature, The Kind of Fiend Who Wins, which was packed with detailed information about the making of the film, from its story genesis to its hugely successful cinema release.

This beautifully-designed issue also included Humphreys’ essay on the film’s art director Brian Eatwell, alongside David Taylor and Sam Irvin’s well-researched feature The Unphilmed Phibes, which exhumed all the lost Phibes movies, and Bruce Hallenbeck’s informative article on the making of the sequel, Dr Phibes Rises Again, and contributions from cult film writers Denis Meikle, David Del Valle, Derek Botello, and many more. Plus, it had special introductions from Tim Burton and Frank Darabont.

I so love this issue and have returned to it countless times – especially for the many behind-the-scenes photos and artwork, as well as the interesting sidebar features that included the hunt for Phibes’ Rolls Royce, a review of the original LP Soundtrack, as well as tributes to the two actresses who played Vulnavia, Virginia North and Valli Kemp.

Fast-forward to 2018 and Humphreys, who works as a film historian at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, has revived his original essay for this new paperback book from Bear Manor Media. Now the big question for anyone who already has the LSoH celebration issue is – ‘Is it worth getting?’

On the plus side, and it’s a big plus, you get expanded versions of Humphreys’ The Kind of Fiend Who Wins and the Taylor/Irvin contribution, The Unphilmed Phibes, both of which include extra bits added from interviews with screenwriters William Goldstein and James Whiton, sound designer Peter Lennard, actress Fiona Lewis, and many others.

There’s a Foreward from Dr. Phibes’ creator, William Goldstein, and also new conversations with organist Nicholas Kynaston (who played the War March of the Priests title track), Dr Phibes Rises Again composer John Gale, and screenwriter Lem Dobbs. Plus, longer versions of Humphreys’ previously published articles on Brian Eatwell and his wonderful tribute to Bob Fuest, which originally appeared in Video Watchdog, Issue 168.

Humphreys has also written an informative essay on the making of Dr Phibes Rises Again, using interviews from a variety of sources, which can be found in the extensive bibliography in the front of the book. Plus, there’s two short pieces by Phibes enthusiast Mark Ferelli, including one about his amazing magic lantern show which I was lucky to have seen at London’s Horse Hospital back in 2005.

On the negative side, the book lacks the stunning design of LSoH, with a number of blank pages that could have easily been filled with more photos or some of the previously published sidebar features, as well as a couple of typo errors. A big selling point for me was the opportunity to see never-before-seen production artwork by Fuest from his personal shooting script as well as previously unpublished behind-the-scenes photographs. Well, there are only three scans of the shooting script (I would have like to have seen more), but there are some rare images not published before on offer, including James Whiton’s photos from the world premiere.

But aside from those couple of niggles what shines through is Humphreys’ incredible passion for the Phibes films and his admiration for Bob Fuest, whom he befriended while conducting his research. It’s what makes this book a phan-tastic companion to the LSoH celebration issue. Oh, and its thanks to reading this book that I have now tracked down a copy of the Great Organ Works LP, which not only contains Nicolas Kynaston’s rendition of War March of the Priests, but also his Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which opened Amicus’ 1972 anthology Tales from the Crypt. Win win! I say!

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Victoria Price to attend Birmingham’s Cine Excess XII Cult Film Conference and Festival

Inspirational speaker and author Victoria Price will be a special guest at Birmingham’s Cine Excess cult film event that runs 8th – 10th November, which will honour her father’s work in film as well as his culinary skills.

A short season of Vincent’s films will be screened alongside a cookery demonstration based on some of the favourite recipes from his legendary book ‘A Treasury of Great Recipes’.

Victoria is also set to be presented with the Cine Excess Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her father on Friday 9th November.

Xavier Mendik , founder and organiser of Cine Excess says, “We are really excited mount this special celebration of Vincent Price’s career as part of our 12th annual event. Having previously hosted director Roger Corman who collaborated with Vincent Price on so many classic horror movies from the 1960s, it seemed entirely appropriate to dedicate this year’s event to such an iconic actor on the 50th anniversary of his chilling performance in Witchfinder General.”

Alongside Victoria, this year’s festival also hosts a visit by the British horror director Pete Walker, who worked with the Vincent on House of the Long Shadows (1983). Pete Walker will be presented with this year’s second Cine Excess Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifelong career in film, including Die Screaming Marianne (1971), Frightmare (1974) and the notorious House of Whipcord (1974). Pete Walker is also scheduled to appear at the event on Friday 9th November.

The theme of this year’s Cine Excess XII is ‘I Know What You Starred in Last Summer: Global Perspectives on Cult Performance’, with international academics presenting a wide range of related discussions alongside a specially curated selection of public film screenings and talks.

A full list of screening and events will be announced soon.

For more information on: www.Cine-Excess.co.uk

About Victoria Price
Victoria Price brings her unique story to the national and international stage as an author, inspirational speaker, blogger, designer, artist & art consultant, and interspiritual & interfaith minister.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Victoria has become a popular speaker on a wide range of inspirational topics, as well as the life of her famous father, Vincent Price.
Victoria’s popular blog, Daily Practice of Joy, chronicles the journey back to joy which began in 2011 – – the year in which the world celebrated the 100th birthday of her father, Vincent Price, with Vincentennial celebrations around the globe.

In 2016, after living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a quarter century, Victoria embarked on an ongoing journey of intentional homelessness, chronicled in her new inspirational memoir, The Way of Being Lost: A Road Trip to My Truest Self (Ixia Press/Dover 2018). A new edition of her critically-acclaimed biography of her father, Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography, will be released in November by Dover Press (and will be available to purchase at Cine Excess). Victoria is currently at work on her new book, Here Be Monsters: Inviting the Faith, Fear and Freedom of “I Don’t Know”.

About Cine-Excess
Cine-Excess is an annual international film festival and conference, which is attracts global filmmakers, scholars, distributors and exhibitors to an event which features filmmaker discussions, a themed three day conference and theatrical premieres/exclusive screenings. Cine-Excess is open to the public (aged 18 and over), who can book can either book screening delegate passes for individual films, or full delegate passes for the conference, lunches and all Cine-Excess screenings.

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