It wouldn’t be an anniversary without coinciding with an anniversary of a beloved genre film. The brand, spanking new Arrow restoration of Profondo Rosso opened day four. Considered the ultimate giallo film, Dario Argento’s 1970’s masterpiece celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. In a classic tale of murder and mystery, a musician named Marcus Daly played by David Hemmings has the unfortunate experience of witnessing the murder of a famous psychic. He goes to investigate and just misses the culprit…or has he? Teaming up with a feisty, no nonsense reporter, Marcus attempts to solve the grizzly crime with a killer that’s always one step ahead. If there was ever an introduction to the giallo sub-genre this would be it, the restoration enhances the film experience, with beautiful bright red blood to feast your eyes on. As we’d experienced the ultimate Profondo Rosso screening with live composition from Goblin at Celluloid Screams Horror Fest in Sheffield, we earned ourselves a well deserved cocktail break! The screening went down exceedingly well with positive responses from die hard Argento fans and first time viewers.
Day Four was predominantly talk orientated rather than films. Appropriately following on from Profondo Rosso was The Art of Arrow, a discussion and Q&A session surrounding the art work of Graham Humphreys and Gilles Vranx. Leading the talk was Nia Edwards-Behi, festival co-director and Ewan Cant of Arrow Video. It was interesting hearing about the process from the concept art work to the final product of the DVD/Blu-Ray covers. What Arrow do is pretty awesome, bringing back the old school video covers into a modern format. Humphreys and Vranx are without a doubt exceptionally talented artists and are able to recapture everything we adore about retro genre films which is far more worthwhile than distributors nowadays commissioning DVD covers that more often than not have nothing to do with the film itself. The imagery is striking, especially the special editions of Hellraiser and Necromantik. During the Q&A the topic of streaming was addressed and whether that would eventually spell the end for films on a physical format, one thing is guaranteed is loyal horror fans will always prefer the real thing over services like Netflix and Amazon Instant when it comes to cult, underground films and beloved classics.
It was then time for Dr Phibes Rises again accompanied by an introduction from Peter Fuller. Following the success of the original, a sequel was immediately rushed into production and filmed within a matter of months. While its not as magnificent as The Abominable Dr. Phibes, its certainly charming. Vincent Price camps it up as the villainous Dr. Phibes returns back from the dead in search of the scrolls of life to one again resurrect his dear wife. Set in Egypt, the second Dr Phibes remains lavish in its style, exotic with its setting while incorporating inventive death scenes and plenty of strange humour. A very enjoyable sequel that sees Vincent Price give a fantastical and exaggerated performance, doing what he does best.
In 2011 Victoria Price attended the festival as a special guest, she gave a moving talk as part of celebrating her father’s centennial. She officially made Vincent Price the patron saint of Abertoir and lucky for us she made a return to Aberystwyth and the festival this year as part of the Vincent Price Legacy tour and spoke about her father’s connection to the UK. Victoria has a link to Wales herself as her mother Mary Grant Price was born in Broadhaven, Pembrookshire. As many fans will know, Price made several significant films in the UK including the controversial Witchfinder General and collaborations with Roger Corman on Poe adaptations such as Masque of the Red Death and The Raven. He also starred in Scream and Scream Again alongside Peter Cushing which then screened on the Saturday.
Peter Fuller gave us an insightful overview of Price’s acting life in the UK then Victoria followed that to talk about Vincent Price, the man and who he was as her father. Vincent Price had so many strings to his bow, as well as acting in film and on stage he was an art curator and loved cooking (he even had his own show titled Cooking with Vinent Price which was a real delight!), he was also well-travelled. Victoria painted a picture of a man who loved his life and enjoyed making the most of ever opportunity he had. He brought Victoria up to embrace life. She discussed how she is continuing his legacy by practising how her father led his life. Victoria loves spending time with horror fans even though she is not into the genre herself. For her, its special meeting people who love everything her father stood for and she enjoys attending horror conventions. Poignant and insightful, Victoria and Peter’s talks proved one of Abertoir 2015’s major highlights.
To top off what was already an amazing day in horror, for us Friday ended with a fantastic meal, Dinner with Vincent. The added element of the dinner was most welcome as most of you who attend intensive horror film festivals will know, its difficult finding the time to eat, let alone have a hot meal. As previously stated Vincent Price was a gourmet chef, cooking being one of his favourite hobbies. He released a cookbook and even had his own television show, Cooking with Vincent which is rather surreal! The food put on by Tamed Da and the Arts Centre was absolutely delicious based on recipes that Vincent himself had created. The layout of the great hall looked lavish, with a screen up playing trailers of Vincent Price’s classic films. Victoria hosted the dinner as well as a meet and greet session with her. It was an atmospheric setting and an enjoyable social gathering.
Up Next: Day Five.