I feel like this might be one of those Mandela Effect things. I was sure Vincent Price, one of the exalted, untouchable pillars of the horror movie world, had played a vampire at some point in his career. Why wouldn’t he!? He looks like a vampire all the time. He wears capes and stuff with ease. Heck, he even narrated “Thriller” and starred in
Price’s birthday is May 27, which just so happens to be the same day as Lee’s, the day after Cushing’s, and the day after World Dracula Day. So, as we’re in the midst of Nerdist Vampire Week, I thought, “Perfect! Ol’ Vinny P has some vampires in his repertoire.” But, no. Not really. At least not as many as his persona would have you believe. I was sure I’d seen Price in vampire fangs and capes before. And after doing some digging, I think I know why I thought this. But first, the filmography.
Vincent Price had an impressively long career. He made his debut in 1938’s
In 1940, he starred as the titular imperceptible anti-hero in
In these, especially the Corman films, Price played Gothic villains; necromancers, debauched Satan worshipers, and shut-in aristocrats galore. A lot of these characters, from Roderick Usher to M. Waldemar, have attributes of what we could consider “vampiric” while not actually being an undead bloodsucker. There are a few undead in there; Joseph Curwen in
It wasn’t until 1964 that Price finally appeared in a movie that even had vampires in it (the Abbott and Costello cameo notwithstanding). That movie is
In the 1970 movie
What I’m getting at is Vincent Price didn’t play vampires. And yet when he’d appear on a lot of television shows in the ’60s and ’70s, most often comedies, he’d play someone somehow vampire related. He guest starred on a 1967 episode of
I’ve linked to this clip for thoroughness, but please be aware of the horrible stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in the form of white actors in redface. The past was a mistake.
He also appeared as a vampire, kind of, in this sketch opposite Dean Martin in some comedy show.
In both of these cases, Price isn’t actually playing a vampire; he’s playing the public image of a vampire made famous in 1931 by Bela Lugosi. Bela Lugosi had long since died by the time of these TV appearances, and Price became a sort of stand-in for easy jokes because of his connection to horror.
There is one (1) feature film in which Vincent Price plays a vampire, and it didn’t come until 1981, when he was 70. It was
Price plays Eramus, an old vampire who bites the aging writer R. Chetwynd-Hayes (played by horror legend John Carradine, someone who actually
In a career spanning nearly 60 years, this is it. Vincent Price played a vampire in the wraparound segments of a comedy horror anthology movie late in his career.
I’m a big fan of Vincent Price, and have seen a good many of his movies. Even I assumed he’d played a vampire in a major dramatic horror film. But he didn’t. And that surprised me. The end.