Theater of Blood

1973

Action / Comedy / Crime / Drama / Fantasy / Horror

36
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 7334

Synopsis


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May 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Director

Cast

Diana Rigg as Edwina Lionheart
Vincent Price as Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart
Dennis Price as Hector Snipe
Robert Morley as Meredith Merridew
720p 1080p
808.87 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S 2 / 5
1.64 GB
1920*1080
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Robert J. Maxwell ([email protected]) 8 / 10

Murder Outs

A very stylish comedy/thriller along the lines of "The Avengers," a popular TV series at the time. Vincent Price is an actor who has survived a suicide attempt and secretly takes revenge on half a dozen critics who savaged his performances in various plays of Shakespeare. With the aid of his daughter, Diana Rigg (who was Emma Peel in "The Avengers" and one of the mean daughters in Olivier's TV production of "King Lear"), seeks out his critics and offs them in ways appropriately derived from WS. It's murder allright. And WS could be very imaginative when it comes to that. I once wrote out a list of the violent acts that take place in "Titus Andronicus," the closest WS ever came to Grand Guignol, and it was as long and even more gruesome than a similar list I drew up for "Dirty Harry." "Titus" has one of the funniest stage directions I've ever seen -- "Enter messenger with hands." It doesn't mean the messenger HAS hands; it means the messenger is carrying a pair of someone else's amputated hands! At that, they had to tame the Bard down for this movie. Instead of Queen Tamara having to eat her own children baked in a pie, the gay critic played by Robert Morley is force fed (to death!) a Cornish pasty made from his two beloved poodles.

Back to this movie, though. What a cast! Vincent Price plays it for laughs, disguised as a gay hairdresser, a Scottish masseur, a French chef, and so forth. His half-hearted, mostly losing struggle with the various accents is enough to break anyone up. The others don't have as much screen time but they make the most of it -- Harry Andrews, Dennis Price, Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins, Coral Browne, Milo O'Shea. Diana Rigg is a sight to see, I should mention. Every movement is like flowing silk. Her figure is unimpeachable and her zygomatic arches should be left to the British Museum.

It's a well-done movie from start to finish. Vincent Price gets to do a lot of Shakespeare. He's no Olivier or Branaugh, but it's okay because the performance ought NOT to be very good. The cinematography is glossy and polished, the score unobtrusive. The actual look of the film is appealing -- the British now how to dress in a way that most Americans don't (but many urban Canadians do). And the writer should get some sort of special award himself. The bits in between the murders are almost as amusing as the story itself. We get to hear snippets of the reviews that torpedoed Price's career. One of them goes something like, "I was fortunate enough to fall asleep at the beginning of Lionheart's performance and awoke much refreshed, not having had to listen to this aging matinee idol's rantings and posturings." (Was the writer ripping off John Simon?) The story line is made clear, whether or not the viewer knows any of the plays. The correlations with the plays are made simply enough for an average reviewer to understand and appreciate the similarities. And the murders themselves are funny -- excuse me. One critic gets drowned in a butt of malmsy -- a barrel of wine -- and the police establish the exact vintage afterward.

I don't want to imply that this movie is a barrel of laughs. There is some physical comedy, including one of the sword fights from Romeo and Juliet, but most of the humor lies less in slapstick and jumping around than in situations and dialogue. Price and his assistant dressed in hospital scrubs, wearing surgical gloves, and setting a bedroom up as an operating room in order to saw off some guy's head. The parody is played straight. You will probably not double over with laughter but I found myself laughing aloud during some scenes. To give you some perspective, I didn't find "The Abominable Doctor Phibes" so hot. I recommend this flick. It is, as I say, stylish in every respect.

Reviewed by The_Void 8 / 10

A hilarious spoof....Vincent Price rules!

Vincent Price is one of the best actors of all time, and this is a SUPERB film! Theatre of Blood follows much the same plot formula as Price's earlier success, The Abominable Dr Phibes, only this time instead of playing a deranged madman; Price plays a self-parody of himself. Edward Lionheart is an over the top version of Price in all but name, and it's clear that the great Vincent Price is the only man that could have lead this film. This macabre film depicts what, I'm sure, many actors would like to engage in; the brutal punishment of less than impressed critics. And these punishments aren't just brutal - Price murders his victims in the style of the Shakespeare plays that they lambasted, and the result is a high camp and very fun little horror comedy. The deaths are all violent, but also very playful and inventive. We see people being drowned in a vat of wine, waking up next to their dead husband, being electrocuted, eating their pets and more! And it's all done with such a big sly grin that the result is practically impossible not to go along with.

Being a British made film, Theatre of Blood utilises that great British style that the Hammer films did so well, and this massively adds to the fun camp element of the movie. We've got all sorts of things from everyone speaking in a thick London accents to the bumbling policed force that made The Abominable Dr Phibes so hilarious. The movie starts of ridiculously, with Price hamming it up to the max, and then it just continues to get more and more ridiculous; with the final two death scenes being beyond the stupidity of anything else Price ever did. Being a self-parody, the impact of this film increases ten fold if you've seen a lot of Price's other work. It's all good though, and despite being knowingly hammy; Price really shows his worth as an actor as he dons all sorts of different disguises. It's hard to mask the Vincent Price persona, but the great thespian manages it a few times in this film. Films of this nature; i.e. ones where a bunch of people get murdered in a certain way, tend to be quite monotonous; but thanks to the superior handling, this one is never dull. Far from it, in fact! Overall, Theatre of Blood, despite often being overlooked, is a great film and one of the best Price ever made. HIGHLY recommended!

Reviewed by Scarecrow-88 10 / 10

Theatre of Blood

"To be or not to be..that is the question."

Lip-smacking, deliciously wicked horror comedy starring Vincent Price, in one of his finest roles, as an overwrought, lunatic thespian, Edward Lionheart, whose near entire vocabulary derives from Shakespeare in one or another, presumed dead via suicide because of a consensus group of harsh critics who didn't reward him with a prestigious theatrical statuette he felt belonged to him. With the assistance of his beloved daughter, Edwina(Diana Rigg), Edward will seek his revenge towards the critics circle who humiliated him with consistently bad reviews scoffing at his acting abilities as rubbish and heavy-handed. Edward, Edwina(wearing quite the dandy of a disguise)and a group of homeless wackos form a motley band of psychos who successfully eliminate members of the critics circle, one by one, finding inspiration from the murders of Shakespeare's works. The leader of the critics circle, and Edward's harshest critic, Devlin(Ian Hendry)will join forces with the police in trying to stop Edward before he slaughters all his colleagues..but, that will be quite a difficult task because Edward and the gang have plenty of clever tricks in store for their pursuers.

The whole movie feels like a satiric wink from Vincent Price, himself, towards those who had deemed him hammy over the years in his horror pictures. There's a particular scene, my favorite, where Lionheart squares off successfully in a fencing match with Devlin, having him completely cornered as he speaks for all the thespians who were destroyed by the pens of non-actors who used words as blunt instruments to forcefully ruin careers and lives. I felt strongly for the Lionheart character AND Price during this passionate dialogue which felt like a shout against all who dare criticize the work and dedication of individuals on the stage. There's a demented spirit at play in this flick, from the inspired performances, outrageously tongue-in-cheek murders, and in-your-face style..this is the perfect Price vehicle. The way Price's mad thespian uses paupers to serve his purposes murdering those critics, and various modern disguises he wears(..such as his afro hippie hair stylist, his masseuse, or his cook, often using thick accents as a bonus)add to the fun. Oh, and I loved his reenactments of the Bard in full costume and make-up, reciting the words with hammy aplomb..his devoted fans should love this film. Along with Phibes, THEATRE OF BLOOD predates the slasher genre, and we see how this film resembles the sub-genre's formula as Price and Rigg often kill their foes in imaginative and sick ways, as the police and Devlin are left frustrated. The climax in the burning theater as Price scales to the top with one last performance left in him is certainly a highlight.

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