by Leslie Dupont, UA Writing Skills Improvement Center
Although born 100 years apart, Vincent Price (1911) and Edgar Allan Poe (1809) had a longstanding relationship. Poe wrote probably thousands (certainly hundreds) of stories and poems, many of them based on dark psychological and supernatural themes. He also wrote detective stories (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is thought to be the first detective story, in fact), and on the essay form, cryptography, and a wide variety of other topics. Price started out as a stage actor but moved quickly to the large screen and had a decades-long career as a dramatic, comedic, and horror actor. Between 1959 and 1970, he starred in nine films based on Poe’s writing (six of which were directed by Roger Corman):
• House of Usher (1960)
• The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
• Tales of Terror (1962)
• The Raven (1963 – a hysterical spoof co-starring Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre)
• The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)
• The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
• The Conqueror Worm / Witchfinder General (British Title) (1968)
• The Oblong Box (1969)
• An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1970)
For the Big Read Tucson kick-off event, the Loft Cinema will be bringing one of these films back to the big screen on October 14th. Loft Program Director Jeff Yanc suggests arriving early for the fun: creepy photo ops on an altar beneath a giant pendulum (most likely with a dull blade); Poe-themed snacks; a costume contest (wear your Poe-themed paraphernalia); a “Reel Read” collection of Poe’s writing for sale from Antigone Books; and a showing of The Pit and the Pendulum, starring Price at his multiple-personality best.
The Loft Cinema is an amazing place. For 43 years, it has offered the Tucson community independent and cult films, including being an official host site for the Sundance Film Festival for three years (2012 – 2014), hosting all-night horror marathons, and—drum roll, please—presenting one of the longest continuous runs of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (40 years) in the world. As Yanc says, the Loft gathers and presents the “weird, funky, and offbeat” for the widest viewing audience possible.
When: Wednesday, 14 October 2015; 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
What: Snacks, Books, Costumes, Photo Ops, showing of The Pit and the Pendulum