Tuesday, 11 June 2013

'The Price of Fear' Review

This book is a must-have for any fan of horror, or, in particular, Vincent Price. It is full of fabulous stories, some well-told, some less-so, and hadme laughing out loud on several occasions.

       'The Price of Fear' is much more than an observation on Price's horror films. It takes us right back to the beginning, with some excellent anecdotes from his live stage plays and love of artwork. Of course, his relationship with horror is well-covered too! Look out for his retort during the filming of 'House of Long Shadows', when a live bat flies into the building and halts the recording!

       So, content-wise, this book is lavish. It could have been much longer. I would have liked to have read more about Price's first film with Tim Burton, on 'Vincent', and his appearance on Alice Cooper's excellent 'Welcome to My Nightmare' album. But on the whole, there is lots to love here.

       It is the editing that BADLY lets it down. Joel Eisner's love of Price is evident throughout, but the text is rife with all kinds of punctuation errors, literally on every page. Clumsy sentence structure, wrong words ('latest' instead of 'lasted', for instance), opening brackets but not closing them, erratic use (or none use) of commas and italics, and long-drawn-out full synopsis' of every film mentioned...the list goes on. Also, the picture quality on the inside photographs and images is awfully faded, making the book look cheap and scrappily produced, like a ten-year-olds fanzine instead of a credible book condoned by the man himself! Several pages even came loose in the book, enhancing the cheaply-made status of it! The book has been in the making for along time, and while I am sure Eisner and his publishers would have wanted it to be released as soon as possible, it really really REALLY could have done with a few redrafts, and an editor (there is no mention of an editor on the inside page, to my knowledge). Editing is a crucial part of the writing process, and it is the one that lets this book down.

      But if you are a Vincent Price fan, ignore all that. It will bug you, irritate you at times, but it does not prevent the enjoyment of what must have been a total labour of love for Eisner. From the excellent and beautiful foreward from Peter Cushing himself, to a final look at the Dr. Phibes films that never were, 'The Price of Fear' is well-worth a purchase. Even if it *did* need an edit!