I meant to get around to rewatching Theatre of Blood before Halloween, but business travel and other priorities got in the way of that revisit. A recent international trip gave me ample opportunity to catch up on some things, and this was on top of my list to view.
Theatre of Blood stars the amazing Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart, an egotistical actor who is exacting his revenge on the many critics who gave him poor marks throughout his stage career. It’s not hard to imagine the esteemed Mr. Price having similar feelings about his critics… though I doubt murder was ever a response he contemplated in real life.
This is one of the “Vincent Price kills people in creative ways” films, the most famous one being The Abominable Dr. Phibes. I love Dr. Phibes because of its dark deadpan humor, but I have a soft spot for this film… probably because I am a fan of both Price as a classical actor and the works of Shakespeare. In Theatre of Blood, Vincent’s Lionheart kills characters with methods derived from the Great Bard’s plays, and it’s wonderfully dark (I especially love the “pound of flesh” murder, inspired by The Merchant of Venice).
The supporting cast is outstanding, and it’s a who’s who of B-grade British actors. Ian Hendry, Coral Browne, Robert Morley, Harry Andrews… Lots of “I know that guy!” folks that have been in EVERYTHING.
I also especially appreciate Diana Rigg as Lionheart’s daughter, because she is not only at the peak of her beauty, but also her talent. She also plays in male drag for a big part of the movie, and the idea that anyone in the film would ever believe she was a man… well, it’s one of many areas where he film stretches credibility a bit.
(And if you think the name Richard Lionheart is a bit “on the nose”, wait until you see some of the names of the critics…)
If you’re excited over the idea of Vincent Price reciting classic speeches from Shakespeare, and you haven’t seen Theatre of Blood, then make a point to check it out.
I just hope (spoiler) that you’re not a dog lover…