Vincent Price Legacy: Virtual Visual Vincent: For the Love of Art Sunday 17 May, 8pm (BST)
Join Victoria Price, Peter Fuller & global fans for this interactive Group Event. Peter will share rare clips showcasing Vincent’s lifelong love of the visual arts. Victoria will show slides and tell stories about her father’s favourite artists and works of art. And we invite fans and artists to share their art work, their Vincent tattoos, or the ways that Vincent has inspired your own love or art. Show items from your collection or the work of favourite artists. Let’s celebrate our Love of Art!
Vincent Price Legacy: Victoria Price presents: Vincent Price: Master of Menace, Lover of Life (A Photographic Talk followed by a Q&A) Wednesday 27 May, 7.30pm (BST)
Victoria Price has shared her popular talks about her father’s life with audiences all over the world. But this year on his birthday, she’s excited to celebrate it virtually, with people who may not have been able to meet her in person — as well as those who may have heard her speak before.
She will be giving two talks on the evening of what would have been her father’s 109th birthday, 27 May. One for European and UK audiences and one for US audiences. Featuring rare photos and lots of stories.
Vincent Price Legacy: The Birthday Boys: A Virtual Vincent Celebration Sunday 31 May, 9pm (BST)
Join Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria & Vincent Price expert Peter Fuller host a birthday celebration and Q&A about House of the Long Shadows — starring birthday boys Peter Cushing (May 26), Christopher Lee (May 27) and Vincent Price (May 27). Dress up for the occasion and we’ll raise a toast to Vincent with special cocktails — as we answer Q&As about Vincent and The House of the Long Shadows.
Over the past three weeks Victoria and myself have been hosting weekly interactive Q&A’s via zoom and our latest saw us celebrating Vincent’s culinary legacy with over 40 fans tuning in from all around North America and the UK. It was another great success with cooking, clips, cocktails and chat being the menu de jour.
The different time zones meant some attendees where making brunch, others lunch, while in the UK, it was dinner time – and everyone got into the spirit sourcing their inspiration from Vincent and Mary Price’s three classic cookbooks: A Treasury of Great Recipes, Come Into the Kitchen and Cooking Price-Wise. Here’s just a sample of what was dished up.
Our next session takes place on Sunday 17 May (8pm BST), where the theme will be art and collecting – so show us your art, tats and the pieces that inspire you, plus will have clips and a discussion on Vincent’s lifelong passion for the visual arts. SIGN UP HERE
Then, on Sunday 31 May (9pm BST), we celebrate the birthdays of Vincent, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Just watch the film beforehand and then join in our Q&A session about their friendships and collaborations on film, TV and even radio.
You are cordially invited to join Vincent Price’s daughter, Victoria, and Vincent Price Legacy UK curator, Peter Fuller, for two exclusive Movie Night Q&A’s taking place on Saturday 18 and 25 April, in which we discuss two of Vinnie’s all-time classic chillers – House on Haunted Hill and The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
Each Q&A costs US$5 (that’s around UK£4) and you can sign up here for either or both: VINCENT PRICE.
WATCH the film(s) at home BEFORE our session and sign up for our online Q&s. You can then send in one question for Peter and/or Victoria when you register (sorry but only questions sent in with registration will be answered).
JOIN our virtual Q&A to learn some fascinating facts about the films and hear wonderful stories about Vincent first-hand from Victoria.
We have limited places available, so sign up now!
If you already own the films, please re-watch them before our Q&A, and if you want to stream them, you can find them on YouTube. Here are some links that may work for you.
In rich husky tones, English actress Elizabeth Shepherd (Tomb of Ligeia, Damien: Omen II) brings a chilling sensuality to her reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic romance on this brand new CD.
Published in 1838, the haunting tale revolves around an unknown narrator who is married to the enigmatic Ligeia – a woman with whom he is so in love with that she seems almost unreal in both appearance (her eyes are described as orbs, her hair like ravens, her lips blood-red) and intellect (she knows all about ‘forbidden’ wisdom, the metaphysical, and has a proficiency with classical languages).
But their love is suddenly cut short when Ligeia falls ill and dies. Grief-stricken, our narrator turns to opium and marries again – to the Lady Rowena. But Ligeia is always on his mind. And when Rowena also falls ill and dies, the painful memories of Ligeia come back to haunt him – so much so that he is horrified to witness Rowena coming back to life, now transformed as Ligeia…
There’s a wonderful androgynous quality to Elizabeth’s deeply rich tones as she take on the role of Poe’s ‘male’ narrator, and the way she describes the qualities of the titular character: a beautiful, passionate and intellectual woman, raven-haired and dark-eyed, feels quite sensual. Elizabeth also masterly brings out all of the anxieties and fears that our opium-smoking narrator endures, and it all comes to a chilling climax when he has his drug-induced hallucination, wherein he believes Ligeia has returned from the grave.
Taking on Ligeia as her first spoken word project is great idea, especially as Elizabeth originally played both the Lady Rowena and the wilful Ligeia in Roger Corman’s final Poe adaptation, Tomb of Ligeia, starring Vincent Price.
In the film (which was released here in the UK on 6 December 1964), future Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne expanded on Poe’s recurring themes about death and resurrection by incorporating elements of mesmerism and necrophilia; but he left in Poe’s fabricated quote attributed to the philosopher Joseph Glanvill, which fans of the film will be familiar with:
‘Man doth not yield himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will.’
Hearing Elizabeth utter those lines again is a real thrill – and will certainly send shivers down your spine. But there is more…
Poe’s tale also includes The Conqueror Worm, his five stanza allegorical poem about how mankind’s fate is controlled by unseen forces. The title was erroneously used by American International Pictures for the US release of 1968’s Witchfinder General in a bid to link the film to their Poe cycle, but Vincent Price did go on to perform it during his many college lecture tours and presentations – and one of those recordings can found on The Core’s 12″ green vinyl record (check it out here) alongside a super electronic score.
Recently, I had the honour of meeting with Elizabeth at the famed theatrical restaurant, Sardi’s, in New York. She was a special guest at a private dinner celebrating Vincent Price organised by myself and Victoria Price as part of our week-long ESC Tours Spooky New York programme. It was during this dinner that Elizabeth officially launched her CD release and, as a treat, she performed the poem to our dinner guests. Here it is in full.
If you love the works of Edgar Allan Poe, spoken word, or are a fan of the Price/Corman Poe films, then this CD is a must-have for your collection. It also includes readings of the poems Annabel Lee, Romance and Elizabeth.
The Vincent Price Legacy UK has a handful of CDs signed by Elizabeth and these are available (to UK and European residents only) on our Vincent Price Store (click here to order).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Bondclassic, Diamonds Are Forever, starring Sean Connery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Lots 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.
This 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.
November 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.
Back 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.
We 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.
***** 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.
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…
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.
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.
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”.
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.
On the weekend of the 21 and 22 of April, I hosted a trip to Suffolk in East Anglia for two days of exploring the original film locations used in the 1968 British cinema classic Witchfinder General, starring Vincent Price as the eponymous Matthew Hopkins.
Blessed with the best weather of the year, our 15-seater van which we dubbed the Mystery Machine ambled through Lavenham, Kersey, Bury St Edmunds, Thetford, Orford, Dunwich and Manningtree, with a few other people joining us on their own steam over two days.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to Selene for taking the reigns of the Mystery Machine and to Graham Humphreys for the fantastic poster that he produced, and got signed by the film’s second big star, Ian Ogilvy, which attendees received on Sunday afternoon over some well-earned pints in Manningtree, at the very location where the real Matthew Hopkins conducted some of his evil deeds.
Here’s a snapshot of the film locations that we covered.
This quaint little village was the setting for the film’s opening sequence in which a woman is led through a side street to a field where she is lynched, while Vincent’s Matthew Hopkins looks on from a distance.
Over the years, trees have grown to obscure St Mary’s church which appears the opening title credits. The pathway where the villages drag the woman lies next to the former home of thriller writer Hammond Innes.
The former Rushford College and St John’s Church in this quiet backwater proved the ideal location to double as John Lowes’ Brandeston church.
The scenes shot at the College (now a private residence… which we inadvertently trespassed) included Hopkins and his assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) setting Lowes to running and pricking, and Sara (Hilary Dwyer) trying to secure her uncle’s freedom by giving herself to Hopkins; while the church was used for a scene in which Richard (Ogilvy) swears his oath of revenge over Sara’s rape at the hands of Stearne.
The 15th-century Kentwell Hall doubled as the magistrate’s house where John Lowes’ trial by water and hanging took place. Visiting the stately manor also gave us an opportunity to recreate recreate the infamous publicity shot of Vincent and director Michael Reeves, in which their difficult relations during the shoot is quite visible in their body language.
While many of the riding sequences were filmed on military ground which has restricted access today, one scene involved Richard and his platoon meeting with Oliver Cromwell (Patrick Wymark). This took place at Ixworth Mill, which today is a self-catering B&B. It is also situated not to far from Great Livermere, the childhood home of the ghost writer MR James.
The medieval town was used for a number of key sequences in the film, including when Hopkins oversees the burning of Elizabeth (Maggie Kimberly) in the town square where Sara lodges, and where Hopkins resides in a local pub. Another key scene takes place in a nearby Water Street, where Stearne informs Hopkins of Richard’s desire for revenge.
Guildhall, Market Place, Lavenham
Little Hall, Lavenham
This building doubled as the rooming houses for both Sara and Hopkins. We were very excited to find that little has changed in the room used for Hopkins’ bedroom, but we also discovered that while the outside of the building was used for Sara looking out a window, the interior was not. This was, in fact, a set constructed in an aircraft hangar in Thetford.
Water Street, Lavenham
This street, around the corner from the Guildhall, is where Stearne runs to warn Hopkins and where Hopkins spies Sara across the road.
The cellar of this 11th-century keep was used for the bloody climax in which Hopkins is shot by Nicky Henson’s Trooper and then hacked to death by a vengeful Richard. English Heritage are proud of its film legacy and even include it on their audio tour, with some Kensington gore thrown in for good measure.
It was quite a trek (over an hour) to drive to the coast where the scenes of Richard and his platoon meeting a fisherman where shot. But on our arrival, we discovered we were in the wrong place. One of our group has now found the correct location, the Seven Sisters cliffs on the Sussex coast. So another outing is in the offing.
BURY ST EDMUNDS
The Angel hotel in Bury St Edmunds is where the cast and crew stayed while filming. Vincent stayed in room 215, the Charles Dickens suite, which still contains the bed that the writer slept in. The bar is where he got drunk with Nicky Henson and the rest of the cast, and the kitchen is where he rustled up pasta for the crew.
The real Matthew Hopkins operated many of his dark deeds in Manningtree. So, on our return to London, we stopped off at The Red Lion, where, in 1644, eight local women were suspected of witchcraft and into the prison, which used to sit on the land to the right of the pub.
For the past three years, I have been conducting tours of the many London locations used in Theatre of Blood with the assistance of Mike Grant, who hosts the Theatre of Blood Facebook group page, and it has become a fantastic day out criss-crossing London with fans of the black comedy starring Vincent Price and some of Britain’s finest thespians.
From Kensal Green Cemetery to the banks of the Thames in Putney, we have uncovered nearly ever single location used, but two have eluded us – the infamous decapitation scene in which Arthur Lowe loses his head, and a scene in which one of the meths drinkers is interrogated.
Thanks to some expert sleuthing from Rick Squires, who curates the Vincent Price Exhibit, we learned that Lowe’s scenes were shot in Room 103 at Oakley Court in Windsor: a suitably evocative gothic mansion that has been used in many a classic British horror (and non-horror) film, with quite a few by Hammer (whose Bray Film Studios were situated just down the road), as well as Richard O’Brien’s cult hit, Rocky Horror Picture Show.
With that knowledge, I decided to organise a day out to Oakley Court, with the added attraction of hiring boats to view what is left of Bray Film Studios which is currently lying derelict, awaiting planning permission to be turned into luxury apartments. But the big surprise for those attending was that they would be able to view the infamous Room 103.
Thanks to Andy Ellis, a dedicated film location expert who had booked the room for the night, our group were able to access the room, where much of the furniture has not changed for over 40 years.
The group also got a further surprise when Andy donned scrubs to give his rendition of Vincent Price’s Dr Hypo – aka Edward Lionheart doing Shakespeare’s Cymberline as it had never been played before. And it also gave me a chance to play dead…
It turned out to be a great day – despite the typical British summer weather (yes, it was wet) – where we got to explore a place that has a deep connection with British film in general. The namecheck of the stars who have filmed at Oakley Court is endless – with those kings of horror Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff being the icing on the gothic horror cake.
The outpouring of thank you’s on the Theatre of Blood and Vincent Price Legacy UK Facebook pages following the day has been really touching and the pictures that were taken are a real hoot (check them out by clicking on the photos, and also here).
Below are a handful of comments which I am hugely thankful for as they really make organising these events so worthwhile. Thank you everyone!
THANK YOU’S… ‘A mind blowing day thanks for organising it Peter!’Merlyn Roberts
‘The best Saturday this year!!!’ Jason D. Brawn
‘An amazing day spent with the most awesome friends’ Alan Hoare
‘It was a fantastic day! Thanks Pete and Andy’ Roni Romero
‘Wow!!! We had such a fantastic day yesterday!!! Thank you so much to all the amazing people there, who made it very special. Most of all Peter Fuller for organising everything for us! you are a complete gent!!!’ Selene Paxton-Brooks
‘Many, many thanks to Peter and Andy for a splendid day and everyone else for being so very friendly and sporting on my first legacy jaunt. Oakley Court well surpassed my expectations – it’s really stunning and still has a powerfully magic effect. The interior wasn’t too messed around with either – it still has a grand gothic style & ambience, while Room 103 is truly to die for! Great to see Bray – dog-eared as it is – and explore film locations via Windsor alleyways.’ Paul Houghton
‘Thank you so much Andy, a great day and your film knowledge is inspirational. Room 103 was an absolute hoot.’ Stuart Carroll
AND A WORD FROM ANDY…
‘I’d like to say a huge thank-you to all the people involved in making last Saturday so special. I had an awesome time, and have masses of very happy memories (and photos!). It was great to meet old and new friends, and to finally see some people who have only been Facebook Friends up till now, and to capture yet more location shots (particularly in rooms that are not always accessible). I loved the boat trip to Bray Studios and really enjoyed showing fellow fans around, especially inside room 103. The biggest thanks have to go to Peter – if you hadn’t found the publicity shot of VP outside the hotel, we’d never have discovered the Oakley Court bedroom (via Rick Squires’ detective work), and your planning the whole event and organisation of the itinerary, the transport, boat hire and room rota were so efficient.’ Andy Ellis
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