ONE of the most iconic actors in the history of horror films is the subject of a new book, written by a North-East author.

Vincent Price: The British Connection is the second horror-themed book penned by Gateshead-based Mark Iveson.

It follows the success of his book Cursed Horror Stars, which focussed on the life stories of five actors associated with the genre.

Mark, a lifelong horror film fan, came up with the idea for his latest novel while writing an article for a magazine.

“Ive always been a big Vinnie fan and I always did enjoy his British-made movies,” says Mark, 54.

“I wrote an article covering the British horror films that he made and I just thought I could expand it into book form – and sure enough, here it is.”

The Northern Echo:

The first part of the book is a potted biography of Price’s life, with an emphasis on his strong links to the UK.

Price first travelled to London as a 17-year-old and later, in his early 20s, entered the Courtauld Institute of Art – he remained an art lover and collector throughout his life.

His developed an interest in theatre and his first acting roles were on the London stage, before returning to the United States where he established himself in films.

He enjoyed a 55-year film career, appearing in more than 100 movies. Although he was a versatile actor, he is still best remembered for his horror film roles.

The period on which Mark concentrates in the second half of his book spans almost a decade from his first British-made horror film in 1964, The Masque of the Red Death.

Although the quality of those films vary, it includes four of what Mark feels are “career defining performances” for Price – The Masque of the Red Death, Witchfinder General, The Abominable Dr Phibes and Theatre of Blood.

It is the last of these which Mark considers his favourite. In Theatre of Blood, Price plays a Shakespearean actor who exacts bloody revenge against theatre critics who he feels have humiliated him.

“I just think what he did was absolutely superb,” says Mark.

“People forget what a first-rate stage actor he was and he had a superb cast of British supporting actors – all themselves Shakespearean actors – to work with.

“It was a very positive film for him, he threw himself into it and had an absolutely marvellous time – you can tell.”

Mark says he believes Price, an Anglophile, would have been great company, He was a gourmet cook and worked for as an art consultant. for the Sears-Roebuck department store.

The Northern Echo:

“He had a great sense of fun,” says Mark..

“The man had such an imposing presence and always very good humour as well.

“And he had great versatility. He could play comedy or serious roles equally well, and of course he had this amazing voice.

“He had a very special demeanour about him and so many wonderful qualities as a person and an actor.

“I wish I could have met him.”

l Vincent Price: The British Connection is available to buy via Telos Publishing – – or on Amazon.