• Emma

The Monster Club: Vincent Price's only vampire movie

Lockdown is keeping us all indoors, but it's still possible to enjoy a wild night out at the Monster Club, an overlooked horror anthology from 1981 starring Vincent Price.

From Club Blood in Blade, to the Titty Twister in From Dusk Til Dawn, it's well-documented that vampires love a good party.

But it's the elite underground speakeasy, The Monster Club, that we are visiting today - having been added to the guest list by none other than Vincent Price himself.

The 1981 horror anthology, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, has three short films nestled between moments of cabaret and dancing from the secret London nightclub - and the colours and characters are fantastic, typical of director Roy Ward Baker.

Produced by Milton Subotsky, one of the co-founders of Amicus productions, it was his dream to have it star all six of the top horror stars of the day in leading roles.

He succeeded in getting Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence, and John Carradine involved in the project, but he was sadly turned down by Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Klaus Kinski.

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Carradine and Price have a natter about ghosts and ghouls at The Monster Club
The costumes are garish and ridiculous, adding to the fun of the film
This is the only club we would break lockdown rules to go to

In the film, starving vampire Erasmus (Price) stops Carradine's author character, Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes, for a snack (literally), before taking him for a [normal] drink at The Monster Club as a thank you.

Here, as all sorts of freaks and weirdos shimmy and sing around them, he teaches his new friend more about the genealogy of monsters, and shares stories about the folks bopping around nearby.

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Erasmus tells his new friend about the different types of monsters
This illustration of different ghouls has become synonymous with the film

The stories are all based on the actual works of real-life author Chetwynd-Hayes, but he really disliked the film. He was unhappy with the way his stories had been adapted and edited for the film, and he definitely didn't like an old man playing him!

Sadly audiences and critics were just as unimpressed with The Monster Club, and it is only in the decades after its release - and by being championed by Elvira Mistress of the Dark - that it has cemented itself as a cult classic.

The film was released on Vincent Price's 70th birthday
The Monster Club is the only film where Vincent Price played a vampire

In 2020, The Monster Club finds itself 'internet famous' for one of the interlude cabaret scenes where a stripper peels off her clothes... and then her skin, until she is just a sexy skeleton.

If you love an old horror, AND the 80s aesthetic, then give The Monster Club a go. Don't forget to tweet or IG us @sinisterisles to let us know what you thought!

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