Scream Factory is back with another in the collection of growing Vincent Price movies. Offering part three in the series, there’s “Master of the World,” a movie based on the Jules Verne novels. It’s a science fiction drama that follows Price as Captain Robur, a mad inventor who kidnaps a team on a government expedition to investigate a crater in Pennsylvania. Robur’s focus is to build a massive war weapon and rule the world, and experiences obstacles along the way. This arouses some conflict about morality and power. Starring a young Charles Bronson this is an interesting film as written by Richard Matheson.
“Tower of London,” directed by Roger Corman, stars Price as a King Richard III, as he struggles for the throne of England from his brother King Edward IV, who gives it over to other brother Clarence. This sends Richard III in to a murderous rampage. It’s usual Corman schlock with Price chewing up the scenery, and plotting the murders of those around him in revenge, slowly growing madder as the film progresses. “Diary of a Madman” is based on the 1887 story “Le Horla” where Price plays judge Cordier who visits a prisoner who insists he’s been possessed by demons. When the prisoner sets himself on fire, Price as Cordier is shocked to witness the death but is soon plagued by nightmares and visions believing the prisoner may have been telling the truth the entire time.
This is a fairly solid mystery thriller from Reginald Le Borg where Price turns in another spot on performance. “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe,” is a teleplay from 1970 that aired on ABC with Price reading four stories from Poe. Clocking in at a little under an hour, Price reads from the stories of Poe setting the stage for short segments by various directors. Finally, “Cry of the Banshee” stars Price as a magistrate prone to a surprising obsession with hunting witches. When he runs afoul an actual witch from an operating coven, she conjures a familiar face to wreak vengeance on him. The movie is admittedly goofy with a lot of low budget sets and considerable lack of narrative, but is another in a line of fairly solid movies in the set.
Packed in the set by Scream Factory is a series of four commentaries for five of the films. There is a commentary for “Master of the World,” with actor David Frankham who discusses memories from his time working with the crew, and experiences on the set. The commentaries for “Diary of a Madman,” “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe,” and “Cry of the Banshee,” film historian and author Steve Haberman offers great background on the production of the films, and shares some great anecdotes. On the “Master of the World” disc, there’s ‘Richard Matheson: Storyteller” a very good thirty minute interview the late great storyteller and author that exhaustively explores his career in film, television, and printed word.
On the “Tower of London” disc, there are two episodes of “Science Fiction Theater,” the anthology from 1956 starring Vincent Price. Featured are the episodes “One Thousand Eyes,” and “Operation Flypaper.” There’s the twenty one minute interview with writer, producer, and director Kenneth Johnson, who talks about his career and approach to “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe” as a producer. “A Devilish Tale of Poe” is an eighteen minute interview with “Cry of the Banshee” director Gordon Hessler, who discusses his career, and this production.
“Producing Tower of London” is a fourteen minute interview with producer Gene Corman, who gives his own take on the production’s history along with divulging some fun anecdotes. There’s another seven minute interview with iconic director Roger Corman, director of “Tower of London,” who discusses the film’s production and the story. Finally, there’s a collection of movie trailers, and a large assorted gallery of stills, all of which includes lobby cards, artwork, behind the scenes, and the like.