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Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection (The Abominable Dr. Phibes / Tales of Terror / Theater of Blood / Madhouse / Witchfinder General / Dr. Phibes Rises Again / Twice Told Tales) (1973)

Vincent Price , Diana Rigg , Douglas Hickox , Jim Clark  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)

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Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection (The Abominable Dr. Phibes / Tales of Terror / Theater of Blood / Madhouse / Witchfinder General / Dr. Phibes Rises Again / Twice Told Tales) + Vincent Price 5 Movie Gift Box (Limited Series) + House of Wax (Keepcase)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Maggie Pierce, Peter Cushing, Joseph Cotten
  • Directors: Douglas Hickox, Jim Clark, Michael Reeves, Robert Fuest, Roger Corman
  • Writers: Angus Hall, Anthony Greville-Bell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 675 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000SK5ZFM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,896 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection (The Abominable Dr. Phibes / Tales of Terror / Theater of Blood / Madhouse / Witchfinder General / Dr. Phibes Rises Again / Twice Told Tales)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "Vincent Price: Renaissance Man" - Documentary
  • "The Art of Fear" - Featurette
  • "Working with Vincent Price" - Featurette

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Disc 1 Side A: Abominable Dr. Phibes WS Disc 1 Side B: Dr. Phibes Rises Again WS

Disc 2 Side A: Tales of Terror WS Disc 2 Side B: Twice Told Tales WS

Disc 3 Side A: Theater of Blood WS Disc 3 Side B: Madhouse WS

Disc 4: Witchfinder General (aka Conqueror Worm) WS

Disc 5: Bonus Disc **"Vincent Price: Renaissance Man" - Documentary **"The Art of Fear" - Featurette **"Working with Vincent Price" - Featurette

The high baroque period of Vincent Price's career is well represented with this box, which offers seven horror-minded feature films and some supporting extras. If there were ever any doubt that Price was in on the joke, this collection would dispel it: in most of these movies he's having a ball, cheerfully sending up his own image--although the set also boasts perhaps his finest straight performance.

Thanks to the previous likes of House of Wax and The Fly, Price had his horror cred well established, which is perhaps why he's already winking at the idea in the earliest movie here, 1962's Tales of Terror. The movie certainly has an impeccable horror pedigree: three stories by Edgar Allan Poe, adapted by Richard Matheson, and directed by Roger Corman. Price stars in all three, making a slow start with "Morella," then clicking into gear with Peter Lorre in a broadly comic "The Black Cat," and winding up with great liquefying make-up (and Basil Rathbone) in "The Case of M. Valdemar." The 1963 Twice Told Tales borrows Corman's triptych set-up with three Nathaniel Hawthorne stories, but the results are fairly dull. The best of the trio is the first story, in which Price and Sebastian Cabot sip a youth potion, with regrettable results.

Witchfinder General (re-edited and known for years in the U.S. as The Conqueror Worm) is the gem of the collection, a truly harrowing film for which Price eschewed any hint of camp. He plays a 17th-century witchfinder, and the film pulls no punches in pointing out the sadism of his job (and the way religious paranoia is linked to misogyny). It's the best and final work by the promising director Michael Reeves, who died in 1969 from a drug overdose; he was only 24 when he made this film.

From there, the set skips into Price's 1970s silly season. The Abominable Dr. Phibes was a surprise hit in 1971, and it's easy to see the appeal: Price goes over the top in his portrayal of a Phantom of the Opera type who exacts revenge by invoking the Old Testament plagues. Joseph Cotten and Terry-Thomas are in the cast. Dr. Phibes Rises Again isn't quite as madly focused--this time the doctor is in Egypt, looking for a way to revive his late wife--but the tongue-in-cheek spirit prevails.

Those films paved the way for a similar but more inspired outing, and a movie Price spoke of as a personal favorite: Theater of Blood, a deliciously wicked thing about a ham actor who murders his critics. Not only does Price have a high old time reciting Shakespeare, he gets to knock off some wonderful victims: Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins, and Price's future wife Coral Browne among them. Diana Rigg is a welcome bonus. Madhouse rounds out the disc, an actively bad movie along the same lines; Price plays a horror-movie actor whose personal instability mirrors his film persona. The picture is ham-handed in every way, though it's good to see Peter Cushing toe-to-toe with Price. Also in the set: a Disc of Horrors, with an hour's worth of featurettes on the man. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
This set will contain seven of Vincent Price's better horror films of the 1960's and 1970's and even includes a bonus disc of extra features. MGM is no Warner Home Video when it comes to DVD boxed sets and extra features, but this one shows progress in that direction. The following are the details on the included films and extra features.

Abominable Dr. Phibes: Price gives a campy performance in one of the few horror films which successfully and intentionally joins comedy and horror. Joseph Cotten and Terry-Thomas are just two of the victims on whom Price seeks vengeance for his disfigurement and his wife's death. The Art Deco sets give the film a stylish look and the British deadpan delivery of many of the jokes helps immensely.

Dr. Phibes Rises Again: The disfigured madman (Price) is back as he and his deceased wife go boating down the Underground River of the Dead in this sequel to The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Once again, everybody is in it for the laughs including the set designer.

Tales of Terror - Three stories adapted very loosely from the work of Edgar Allen Poe - "Morella", "The Black Cat" and "The (Facts in the) Case of M. Valdemar", each roughly one half-hour in length.

Twice Told Tales - This is a compilation of three short films based on Nathaniel Hawthorne works - Heidegger's Experiment, Rappaccini's Daughter and The House of Seven Gables. In both this film and "Tales of Terror", the idea is not so much to be true to the original story, as it is to use the foundation of the story to the advantage of Cormen's ability to make scary movies and in Price's ability to star in them.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
You can never keep a good villan down much less kill him. Dr Phibes has started taking revenge against an odd assortment of people. He plays his organ and has his "mechanical men" play an assortment of oldies before retiring for the evening and then coming out again to kill. It seems that he holds these men responsible for the death ofhis wife and when he does payback its in the key of murder.

The first film was a witty horror surprise with sharp direction by Robert Fuest ("The Avengers")and sharp acting. Peter Cushing was originally set to play in the film but withdrew when his wife passed away. Price gives a great performance that's perfect for the film.

The second film on the flipside of this dual sided disc is the sequel "Dr Phibes Rises Again". Fuest had a hand in the screenplay and it's just as much fun as the first film. Robert Quarry (who Price would come to resent when he found out that American Internation Pictures was planning to replace him with Quarry for many future releases). Sadly, there weren't any more films in the series but then again they went out on a high note.

Picture quality is worth screaming about and the DVDs look very good. We only get the original theatrical trailers as extras which is too bad as director Fuest is still (at this moment) around and could given a couple of insightful commentary tracks. Because these were released by AIP people tend to look down on them but their stellar films made with wit, charm and intelligence. They're also ghoulish fun.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only one new transfer!! September 16, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For those Price fans who already own his prior DVD film releases, note that only Witchfinder General is a new transfer to DVD. The other film transfers are from previously released editions. And as such, Twice Told Tales, Theater of Blood, and Madhouse are in letterbox format, not anamorphic. So if you already have these films, Dr. Phibes and Tales of Terror on DVD you only need to buy Witchfinder General separately, you'll get nothing else new here. Fox cleverly fails to disclose the format of its DVDs by calling everything "widescreen" whether or not the films were processed in letterbox or anamorphic formats. Its a huge difference for those of us with HDTVs. What an opportunity lost for remastering these horror classics.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Your Pleasure With Dr. Phibes! March 28, 2005
Now, the fine folks at MGM have packaged the two greatest films to star the late, great Vincent Price together on a 2-sided disc: THE ABOMIMABLE DR. PHIBES and DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN! These two movies were the high point of Price's illustrious career in horror movies. As the scarred doctor out to exact revenge on the surgical team he believes is responsible for his wife's death (ABOMINABLE) and goes to Egypt to seek out the River of Life to resurrect his wife (RISES), Price revels in the pure evil and dementia of this character. And there's his lovely assistant Vulnavia, played by Virginia North (ABOMINABLE) and Valli Kemp (RISES), who provides music for each murder among other things. And you can't forget those bumbling Scotland Yard Inspectors Trout (not Pike) and Waverly bumbling and bantering their way through the mayhem. And the witty dialogue is also what makes the DR. PHIBES movies fun, black comedy done right.

There's much to love about each movie, as each one has its own virtues and memorable moments. My favorite part in ABOMINABLE was when the surgeon winds up impaled by a brass unicorn catapulted across the street and the inspectors (I kid you not) must unscrew him from the wall! And in RISES, the one where Biederbeck's friend winds up in a giant gin bottle! And another thing, both DR. PHIBES films have a gambit for each nemesis of Phibes: the head surgeon must surgically remove a key from his son's heart to unlock the chains six minutes before acid pours on his face from above, while Biederbeck (Count Yorga himself) must free his fiancee from chicken wire three minutes before a ceiling with snake daggers descends. I think the makers of SAW were huge fans of these movies, because I immediately thought of this movie while wathing these suspenseful moments.

I can't stress it enough, you need this DVD. It's affordable and will provide constant hours of fun and scares!
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Topic From this Discussion
Need Memory Jogged for Old Horror Flicks
Perhaps you would enjoy LAURA, which is from Price's early romantic leading man days. And DRAGONWYCK, which might be his first venture into horror/suspense. I agree with Robert - the Phibes films are wonderful! I also just joined Netflix and love it. I just thought of Price's last flim, the... Read More
Sep 18, 2010 by VM370Guy |  See all 6 posts
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