July 28, 2008

You Can’t Beat Price for These Horrors


By Eric Feber

The Virginian-Pilot

On Friday horror fans will again pay the Price.

As a tonic against last month's Steven Seagal gorge, the Central Library's monthly Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion film series will offer cult film freaks two deliciously campy horror flicks from one of the genre's best loved, and classiest stars, Vincent Price.

"Episode 39: The Price is Right, Vol. 3" will feature two Price- less 1970s horror flicks: "Theatre of Blood (1973)" and "Madhouse (1974)." The screenings are part of the series' homage to one of horrordom's finest.

During January 2007's Episode 22, the series showcased Price's memorable screen baddie, Dr. Anton Phibes, the frightful fried- freak who sought revenge on those who were responsible for his wife's death.

"Of all the Fantasmos we've done over the years, none have been more popular than those celebrating the genius of horror icon Vincent Price," says Jim Blanton, the Central Library's head of reference services, in his Fantasmo blog.

Blanton, one half of Team Fantasmo that plans and organizes the monthly screenings, said Friday's films "are terrific representations of the outrageous cinematic trends of their era."

Episode 39 will have Price as Paul Toombes in "Madhouse" - scheduled for 8

p.m. The movie also features classy horror honchos Robert "Count Yorga" Quarry and Peter Cushing. Here Price portrays a horror movie actor, popularly known as Dr. Death, who suffers a nervous breakdown on the eve of heading over to England to work on a television series. During this TV show's production, cast and crew members begin to die in the same manner that Dr. Death's victim did in Toombes' old movies.

The evening will round out, beginning at 9:45 p.m. with the wonderfully campy black comedy "Theatre of Blood," featuring Price as the egotistical, hammy Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart. It seems ol' Ed has it in for his critics. Played by a veritable who's who in English screen and stage, including Robert Morely, Jack Hawkins, Ian Hendry and Milo O'Shea, these critics have never given him any praise or respect.

To affect his revenge, Lionheart and his daughter, played by screen legend Diana Rigg (Mrs. Peel of "The Avengers"), begin offing the offending critics through deaths inspired by the Shakespeare plays he made famous. This classic film is a must for horror and Price fans and even those enamored with the Bard of Avon.

"Two fantastic '70s era Vincent Price films on our 'Pricerific' big screen, the way they were meant to be seen," Blanton added.

And it's all for free, can't beat that Price.

Eric Feber, 222-5203, [email protected]


What The Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion's "Episode 39: The Price is Right, Vol. 3" featuring the films "Madhouse (PG)" and "Theatre of Blood (R)."

Where Central Library, 298 Cedar Road

When Friday . "Madhouse" will be screened at 8 p.m., and "Theatre of Blood" will be shown at 9:45 p.m.

Free The comments? Hilarious. The ambience? Fun. The films? Price- less. Call 410-7135 for more demonic details.

Originally published by BY ERIC FEBER.

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