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24 October 2011

Theatre of Blood (1973) [Horror marathon] 21#

Directed by:  Douglas Hickox , Jim Clark
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Runtime: 104 Minutes
Deliciously campy and horrifically creative: Starring horror master Vincent Price “Theatre of Blood” is a rendition of many deaths from Shakespearian plays and turns them in to a comedic macabre film. Many films from the 70’s are known for their brash imagery and daring new concepts and it was the conversion from classic to modern. A post-modern period if you would say so. Lots of stuff here is quite gritty and it definitely supports it as a great film. With divine acting and creative deaths, the film is good horrifying fun. 

Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) an egotistical and demented theatre actor who becomes enraged after losing a prominent acting award and decides to seek revenge on the critics responsible. Fittingly, he uses the works of the Bard as a guide, basing his killings on violent scenes from Shakespearean plays. Price takes full advantage of his meaty role, ominously reciting classic Elizabethan monologues while rigging particularly nasty torture devices. 

Truly, its one of the finest horror comedies you could ask for. How can you not like a film with such wit and gore? The deaths that we see are all right out of Shakespeare plays but all have not been seen much on screen in films (especially more than one of each play). They were all very creative, horrific and sometimes wittily ironic. One scene we have one of the critic’s two dogs (that he considers his ‘babies’) who are made in to a pie, and is fed it. It is a disgusting thought and at the same time, the scene has humour to it. The film overall is so witty with its humour, while not outrageous, it has a perfect blend.


If you need a break on your daily dose of intense horror, then this film will do you good. It has the perfect balance of violence and humour and gives it such a fine result. One scene we have one of the critics going to bed with his wife, with some classic stereotypical English dialogue. The scene goes like this:

Wife: Open it and see what is inside!

Husband: How can I when it’s locked?

Wife: Well, then move it.

Husband attempts to move it but cannot.

Wife: “Well don’t just stand there!”

Husband: I can’t movie it!

Wife: Then do it in the morning!

-2 second pause-

Husband: Yes Dear.
A simply divine scene that was funnier than it should be because of the man's response.

The film definitely shows Price at his melodramatic best. Here we see Price acting scenes and monologues of Shakespeare in an often-depressing manner (and melodramatic). A lot of the time, Prices performance makes you chuckle in a dark humoured kind of way. How often is it when you see Price in a comedic role such as this? In my opinion, it is the best subtle humoured comedy he has done and is definitely a role that could only  be fully pulled off by him. Accompanying Price is Ian Hendry as Peregrine Devil, one of the critics who mean to call Lionheart out. Hendry was great because of his English accent and classic performance of an Englishman. Playing the daughter of Lionheart was Diana Riggs, who was also divine. 

Yes, you do see Vincent Price in classic 70's clothing.
Another thing that I loved the film for is being very English orientated. Many of the film’s I have seen now from the seventies have featured English/British voiced actors and I love the classic outlet it has; So vintage and memorable with the classic 70’s atmosphere it held. In addition, it had great Misé-En-Scene and plenty of delicious stereotypes. 

Horror comedies are great because of the satirical whimsy they carry using dark humour and featuring plenty of good gory fun moments. It reminds you that not all horror films have to be serious and takes thing lightly. They are good for taking a break from serious hard-core violence. Films like “The Evil Dead 2” and “Dead Alive” have good blends of comedy and horror giving them good versatility. “Theatre of Blood” takes a horror-acting veteran, puts him in England, makes him a maniacal Shakespeare actor and gives you a result of a campy and delightfully funny horror film that is definitely worth checking out this Halloween.

My Rating: 8.5/10

2 comments:

  1. This looks and sounds awesome. Thanks for introducing it to me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your welcome, it is definitely worth seeing. this was my third viewing.

    ReplyDelete

 

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