Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nosferatu, a LIVE Symphony of Horror

Gabriel Thibaudeau premiered his new score to the 1922 silent film Nosferatu last night in Montreal.  I have been fortunate enough to meet Thibaudeau a few times, most recently when I interviewed him about his score to the Universal Pictures Lon Chaney vehicle The Phantom of the Opera.  This interview appears as a bonus feature on the IMAGE blu-ray of the silent classic.

The world premiere of his new score for Nosferatu was an invigorating, energetic experience. A twelve-piece ensemble performed it, and the instrumentation includes the rare use of a cimbalom. That's a large concert hammered dulcimer that gives a "foreign" sound to the music. To my knowledge, the only score of Thibaudeau's that has received a proper video release is The Phantom of the Opera.  Would love his scores for Metropolis and Nosferatu to receive a similar treatment someday.   The rest of the photos show a trip to Germany I took a few years ago, where I had the chance to explore all the German outdoor locations from the 1922 film Nosferatu.
Silent Phantom composer Gabriel Thibaudeau holds his original score for the film, and I hold the blu-ray on which our bonus feature appears.   

These salt warehouses in L├╝beck, Germany harbored the vampire in the film Nosferatu.

This public housing structure served as one of the main neighborhoods for plague-stricken victims in the 1922 film.
Both Hutter, the hero, and the vampire are seen walking through this pretty yard, belonging to a church in Wismar, Germany.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"The Vincent Price Collection" released today

The Vincent Price Collection, from Shout Factory, is officially released today!

Not only does the set contain six classic movies from the horror icon's career, it also features some introductions and final comments from Mr. Price himself, shot in my hometown. Not only that, but I'm proud to have played a role in introducing these intros to a wider public!

Many of you who have already seen a preview of this disc set have written nice comments about the intros, both on discussion boards devoted to home media, and in the blu-ray reviews. 

Vincent Price sets the stage in the Iowa Public Television twelve-part film series The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors
 These intros show a suave Vincent Price, wearing a tux, looking at ease in a variety of gothic, elegant settings. He dramatically sets the stage for the movie we are about to see, whether it's The Fall of the House of Usher, Pit and the Pendulum, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, or Conqueror Worm.

I am really thrilled to have collaborated with Scream Factory and Iowa Public Television to present the vintage Price intros and outros on this blu-ray release.  I also produced and edited the bonus feature "Introductory Price:  Undertaking The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors," and conducted the interview with the writer of the original intros. 

It's funny how it all happened.  As a young kid in the 1980s,  I was a completely loyal viewer of a 12-episode film series produced by my local public television station in Iowa. It impressed me that Vincent Price would come to my hometown to shoot movie wraps, and this was my first time seeing any (and all) of the Corman-Poe-Price films.  

When MGM released their Midnite Movie DVDs of the Price films more than 10 years ago, I enjoyed them, but always felt those intros were missing.   On the very night I heard Shout Factory was going to release five of the Poe-related films, I wrote Cliff MacMillan in productions and acquisitions at Shout,  and asked if I could connect him with Iowa Public Television.  What concerned me, however, was that I had no idea whether IPTV even still had those old intros in their possession.  Knowing how things go at a TV station, I suspected they would not simply throw away an important piece of their legacy.  Iowa Pubic Television connected me with the writer of the introductions, Duane Huey.  He left me in suspense a bit, admitting no one was sure where those intros were.  Luckily, he found them rather quickly.  He added he was in the process of retiring, and said it was a good thing I'd contacted him when I did. Then he informed me the intros existed only as raw footage, instead of nicely packaged pieces. Huey sent me the raw footage after I'd volunteered to edit it into the intros and outros I'd remembered as a kid.  Finally I decided to interview Huey, because I imagined fans of Vincent Price might enjoy the intros and would want to know the story of their origin.  

These intros were originally intended to be seen just by Iowans, and only in the context of a film series in 1982. I'm just so very honored that Scream Factory,  Iowa Public Television and myself could work together to let these charming intros be seen by many more admirers of Vincent Price, far and wide in the 21st century.

I'm paying my respects at the Tomb of Ligeia, where the film was shot in Norfolk, England.    Photo from 2004.