Peter Vincent: Vampire Killer
|Played by||Roddy McDowall|
Herbert McHoolihee, better known by his stage name Peter Vincent, is an actor who is known for horror films. Vincent now hosts a late-night creature feature called "Fright Night" on Channel 13, WYIC. However, he also secrectly moonlights as a real vampire killer, with his young friend Charley Brewster.
Born Herbert McHoolihee, Peter broke into a showbiz as a child, starring as the killer in "Murder in the Family" at the age of 8. Herbert had one brother, who eventually landed a job working in a secret branch of the American government.
Although he could have become just another washed-up child actor, Herbert reinvigorated his career in his twenties when he auditioned for "Fingers of Fear"' and landed the lead role of a vampire killer. As a marketing move, McHoolihee was credited as Peter Vincent and the studio promoted him as if he were a real-life vampire killer. The strategy payed off and the flick was a smash hit, leading to a series of Peter Vincent films which spanned a quarter of a century including "Orgy of the Damned," "Jaws of the Vampire," "Psychedelic Death," "Scream for Your Supper" and many others.
As the 1970s were ushered in, vampire films were in decline whilst slasher films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween drew in enormous crowds. The old movie studio system had crumbled and Peter Vincent, now looked upon as a relic of another era, couldn't get arrested in Hollywood -- much less find a paying job.
By the 1980s, Peter was practically destitute when he concocted a plan to resurrect his career. Following in the footsteps of horror hosts like Zacherley, Vampira, Elvira and Svengoolie, Peter cleared the rights to his roster of his own films and began hosting them in various syndicated markets across the United States. For 6 months, his Fright Night series would air in Podunk, then he'd move to Pigeon Forge for 6 months and repeat the show all over again.
Peter certainly didn't anticipate encountering a real vampire when he went to Iowa to host the show, but there he came face-to-face with Jerry Dandrige, a centuries old monster whom he defeated with the aid of teenager Charley Brewster. Soon Peter and Charley joined forces to battle other baddies, including Jerry's sister Regine and her minions, as well as the Spider-Boy, Brain-Bats, Squid Men and the nefarious Legion of the Endless Night, a secret organization which ultimately resurrected Jerry Dandrige.
FilmographyEditcomic book series, novelization and on one of the Fright Rags T-Shirts. They include:
- Beast of Budapest
- Blood Castle
- Blood Feast on Broadway
- Carnage Castle
- Creatures from Carpathia
- Curse of the Werewolf
- Dracula's Blood Slaves
- Fangs of Fear
- Fangs of Night
- Fingers of Fear
- Hickies from Hell
- I Rip Your Jugular
- Jaws of the Vampire
- Murder in the Family
- Orgy of the Damned
- Psychedelic Death
- The Resurrection of Dracula
- Scream for Your Supper
- Vampire from the Sea
- Vampires from Hell's Morgue
- Vampire Virgins
- The Werewolf of Moldavia
- "I am Peter Vincent, vampire killer!"
- "Back, spawn of Satan!" [brandishing crucifix]
- "That's just a character I played in a movie! Peter Vincent's not even my real name!"
- "Apparently your generation doesn't want to see vampire killers anymore, nor vampires either. Apparently all they want are demented madmen running around in ski masks, hacking up young virgins."
- "Forewarned is forearmed."
- "What is the matter with you, friend, are you hard of hearing? I kill vampires!"
- "Look, if you really want to help, just go out there, catch the vampires and bring them here so I can kill them!"
- "It is war. We must prepare."
- "What are we doing? I can not go dangling from a rope like Tarzan!"
- "Tonight on Fright Night we present Vampire Virgins, a cautionary tale about how it takes more than a crowbar to separate a vampire from his virgins."
- "When I open the dish washer, stand back!"
- "I don't mean to be rude, but what on earth are you?"
- "Horror isn't just found in the movies, Charley, and vampires aren't the worst secrets hidden from most of us."
- "I have my career and reputation to think about."
- "I'll never touch another experimental mind-altering substance again!"
- "I'm getting too old for this scene... or maybe it's getting too old for me."
- "I need no scripts. I am one with my character and Broadway is my home!"
- "This time, Dandrige, I have the faith!"
- Tom Holland named Peter Vincent in homage to two actors well-known for their appearances in horror movies: Peter Cushing and Vincent Price. Holland wrote the role for Price, who was shying away from accepting horror roles at the time. The role ultimately went to Roddy McDowall, who'd previously starred in the Holland-penned thriller Class of 1984. After Fright Night was released, McDowall invited Holland to a dinner party and personally introduced him to Price.
- " It was an unusual idea on Tom Holland's part, because I had never played anything like that, or that age bracket," Roddy McDowall commented to MonsterLand Magazine in 1985. "In the film, I perform as being in my late 20s or early 30s in the film clips of my oid movies-all the way up to my 60s, when I'm the washed-up hasbeen. I'd never played anything that old."
- Roddy McDowall stated numerous times that he patterned his portrayal of Peter Vincent after The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.
- In the comic books and novelization, Peter Vincent was played up as a great actor whose career nosedived when he was typecast as a vampire killer but Roddy McDowall had a different take on the character. ""My part is that of an old ham actor, I mean a dreadful actor," McDowall commented to Monster Land magazine in 1985. "He realizes it but doesn't admit it. He had a moderate success in an isolated film here and there, but all very bad product. Unlike stars of horror films who are very good actors, such as Peter Lorre and Vincent Price or Boris Karloff, this poor sonofabitch just played the same character all the time, which was awful."
- ↑ [Fright Night Comics #5, The Spider-Boy]]
- ↑ [Fright Night Comics #7 The Legion of the Endless Night (Conclusion)]
- ↑ [[John Skipp and Craig Spector's Fright Night (novelization)]
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 [Forrest J. Ackerman's Monsterland - October 1985 (#5) - There Are Monsters Lurking in the Shadows Waiting for Roddy McDowall' by Michael Mayo, pp. 34-39]
- Peter Vincent is in the Fright Night Movie