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Confessions of an Opium Eater (aka Souls for Sale) (1962)

Vincent Price , Linda Ho , Albert Zugsmith  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Price, Linda Ho, Philip Ahn
  • Directors: Albert Zugsmith
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009H3LNJ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,021 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Vincent Price faces the death of 1,000 cuts in this delirious pulp adventure directed by Touch of Evil producer Albert Zugsmith. Returning to San Francisco after a long stay in the Orient, two-fisted mercenary Gilbert De Quincey (Price) finds himself caught in the midst of a Tong war. Descending deep below the surface of Chinatown, he plays one side against the other in a daring attempt to break up a human trafficking ring, where slave girls are auctioned for opium. A surreal, rip-roaring yarn packed with evil drug lords, secret passageways, illicit opium dens and more, Confessions of an Opium Eater is a “claustrophobic fever dream … one of the most bizarre, beautiful and poetic Z-films ever made” (Chicago Reader)!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who was the Target Market for this Film in 1962??? December 30, 2012
And how the hell did it ever get released? By now, Vincent Price was entrenched in low budget, factory-formulaic yet memorable and mostly enjoyable B flicks for the Corman / Zarkoff stable over at International; how he ended up here is both uncertain and welcomed, as his typically overly-theatrical narrative gave William Shatner something to aspire towards yet provides a coherently campy eccentricity that actually adds much to this surrealistic fever dream. And just what was anyone thinking when they came up with this title? No one in the early 60's was familiar with DeQuincy's 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater' from 1821 (acknowledged as the first serious literary work concerning drug use so prevalent then). It wasn't taught in colleges and didn't enjoy resurgence until ten years later when drug use was in vogue and most professors were themselves experimenting. This film has oddities to the tenth power written all over it. This is probably why I enjoyed it.

There's no dialogue for the first eleven minutes, it's more like a graphic novel than film, ripe with pulp novel imagery regarding Chinese slave women abducted for auction at the turn of the century San Francisco, mythic Tong wars running rackets, seaports, opium and slavery, and Asian stereotypes from said time-frame (which is excusable at the time the film was made as well as what little we Americans knew of Asians back in the early 1900's, as they were known for both furtive secrecy and non-assimilation, like most immigrants then). And there's that symbolic, surreal white horse that plays a pivotal role in that first beach scene; later recognized as a well-known metaphor for heroin, derived from opium. Whew. And from here it only gets stranger. Much stranger.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Most Unusual Vehicle For Vincent Price. October 21, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I remember seeing the ads for this movie when it played in my hometown back in 1962. While there were yet no X rated theaters as such, CONFESSIONS played in one of those second tier movie houses which would shortly become one. It wouldn't have mattered as I was too young to see such a movie anyway although I was already a big Vincent Price fan. It took me half a century to catch up with this little gem although in today's politically correct and technologically sophisticated times, it probably won't appeal to many people. However if you have a taste for the unusual or the bizarre or love Vincent Price then you might want to give this one a try.

Shot on a shoestring budget by exploitation producer Albert Zugsmith (SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE, THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ADAM & EVE) and also directed by him, this OPIUM EATER is not an adaptation of the famous Thomas De Quincey work but rather a reimagining of it. Price plays Gerald De Quincey, a descendant of Thomas who 100 years later in 1902 becomes involved in a Tong war in San Francisco over the selling of Asian brides. Vincent plays a philosophical action hero (?!) who waxes poetic as he attempts to free the captured women. While the Chinese characters speak in Charlie Chan English, they are at least played by Asian performers who give commited performances in spite of the dialogue.

Originally released by low budget specialists Allied Artists (formerly Monogram Pictures), the movie is now being released by Warner Archive as an MOD (made on demand) DVD-R. Whether it's for the film's 50th anniversary I'm not sure but whatever the reason, I'm glad to have finally caught up with it.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Re-think It December 19, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Confessions of an Opium Eater" (AKA "Souls for Sale") was produced and directed by Albert Zugsmith who brought us "The Private Lives of Adam and Eve," another sensationally titled curiosity that almost seemed, both were filmed on a shoestring budget, like the producer was a scam artist than producing quality films. But then this guy produced Orson Welles's "Touch of Evil" also, in a finer day, apparently. Here Vincent Price, in 1962, was a hot property working pretty much where he could get work, and at AIP he was a hit with the drive-in crowd and Zugsmith's financial bankroll for his film depended on Price. "Confessions of an Opium Eater" was not based on de Quincey's (played by Price) famous book, but re-works the idea. Vincent Price could turn any piece of crap into something watchable. Here he gets another chance. The only other actors are Charlie Chan-like Central Casting stock actors, and Zugsmith shows his penchant for casting Mamie Van Doren in "Adam and Eve" by keeping his cameras on Oriental unknown starlets dancing for five minutes each in the climatic sale of the slave girls that Price tries to foil. It gets that slow. Three slaves girls perform so that's about 15 minutes at the climax of writhing torsos in two piece outfits. The hallucinatory dream sequence is without sound and in slow motion mostly and very unimaginative. The plot is nonsense with continuous perils for Price followed by a trap door opening, etc., etc. The biggest villain here is not Zugsmith, but Warner Archive who put this black and white entry out probably on the heels of other MOD Vincent Price and Boris Karloff titles that have not otherwise surfaced on video or DVD, which make them pricey versus the prices they are worth. They hype this title: "claustrophobic fever dream... Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love Vinny
Big Vincent Price fan this is a little different than most of his horror films, but if you are a fan this is a good movie.
Published 6 months ago by p.j.bower
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise
what a fun little movie like a 1960's Big Trouble in Little China
Nice transfer by warner archive picture is sharp and the sound is great
One of the greatest drug trip... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Fredrick A. Waff
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Movie!
Possibly the best movie ever made by the best actor who ever lived. Vincent's beauty is beyond words. To know him is to love him.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price's Tripiest Movie
I know that's saying a lot but this outdoes anything he did for AIP. Those movies were from Poe or Poe-esque. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. L. Alberti
5.0 out of 5 stars Dude Vincent
I love Vincent Price! This definitely is a hidden gem. If you love the actor or old movies check this one out!
Published 15 months ago by Kimberly
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, a film do not follow any rules...
This one does not.
No matter what you are prepared for, it will surprise you.
Relax, accept the movie in its geniality, and do not attempt to judge it
by any... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Hans B
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of an Opium Eater
I like Vincent Price Movies and that was a good one. Cool old movie. Would recommend if your like Vincent Prince.
Published 19 months ago by Carol Heinen
4.0 out of 5 stars How did this get such low ratings?!
If you like Vincent Price, check this out. It is not a horror movie, but who cares? It is interesting, creative, and well done. It was also quite fun to watch. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Pandora
4.0 out of 5 stars Great entertainment, mediocre dvd
The film is as expected, excellent. The DVD however can only be played in stand-alone dvd players and is not recognized by desktop dvd-drives.
Published 22 months ago by dreas
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