Vincent Price's voice is an amazing thing, whether touting the positive aspects of spiders taking over the world in Welcome to my Nightmare, rapping about hounds of hell for Michael Jackson (a peerless performance that the consummate professional nailed in just two takes) or even as the Moraiarity-esque Ratigan in the semi-forgotten Great Mouse Detective; it was that voice that my generation recognized.
He was also a striking man of almost six and a half feet with the most horror-centric career of anyone I can think of; it was a long career that he enjoyed with great relish and a wicked sense of humor. The Fly, The House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, The Masque of the Red Death, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, these (just a few in a huge catalog) are the films that made him a household name.
But his interests went beyond chills and thrills: he was an avid chef who published several cookbooks, and an art collector who generously donated part of his collection to East Los Angeles College. He died of lung cancer while shooting Edward Scissorhands and his illness caused re-shoots and his role to be made smaller by lifelong fan Tim Burton (who made a short film called Vincent years before, which Price himself narrated).
If you are hosting a party this week, both The Black Widow and Thriller are must-haves in your playlist–nothing says Halloween more than the sound of the great Vincent Price's sinister laughter.