Professionally and personally, Vincent Price encountered huge changes as he entered his 60th decade as the 1970s dawned. His contract with American International Pictures would come to end in 1973, following his stint on Madhouse, a second co-production with Milton Subotsky’s Amicus group following 1969’s Scream and Scream Again. Now, while this last hurrah in horror was a huge let-down for horror fans, Price did create two vengeance-seeking anti-heroes that have become synonymous with his horror screen persona – Dr Anton Phibes (in 1971’s The Abominable Dr Phibes and its follow-up Dr Phibes Rises Again) and Edward Lionheart in his 1973 horror film opus, Theatre of Blood.
As his film roles lessened, Price became busier than ever, lecturing on art at US colleges up and down the country lectured; publishing several books on art and cooking; helming the BBC Radio anthology series, The Price of Fear, and the six-part sci-fi, Aliens of the Mind (with his Madhouse co-star Peter Cushing, and becoming an unlikely rock star when he did the voiceover for The Black Widow, one of the tracks of Alice Cooper’s horror-themed solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare. Other voice work included a cover of Bobby Pickett’s The Monster Mash and a collection of Caedmon albums dealing with ghosts, ghouls and demonology. His scary uncle Vincent persona was also capitalised on promoting all manner of products from Milton Bradley toys (who can forget his Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture?) to rugs and painting sets.
Vincent also seemed to be never off TV. Not only were his AIP films getting their first-time TV broadcast, Vincent was also guest starring in popular shows like The Bionic Woman, The Brady Bunch and The Muppets, and even had a cameo on the Canadian children’s show, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (1971).
In 1974, Vincent was honoured on This is Your Life, which was organised by his wife Mary. Behind the scenes, however, the couple were in trouble. Having begun an affair with Australian-born actress Coral Browne while they worked together on Theatre of Blood, Vincent ended his 24-year marriage with Mary. He and Coral then settled into a new life together in the US, where, in 1977, Vincent embarked on a theatrical project that would become the acting triumph of his entire career: performing as Oscar Wilde in John Gay’s one-man stage play Diversions & Delights. You can read all about the show HERE
Just click on the links (in bold) to view more about Vincent’s films in the 1970s
Dr. Phibes Rises Again
– Feature extra: An expedition to the desert locations
Theatre of Blood
– Feature extra: Walking the London Film Locations
Journey into Fear