Friday, October 29, 2010

Theater of Blood

Theater of Blood from 1972 is a wonderful, macabre, black comedy.  Vincent Price plays Edward Lionheart, an actor with a grudge against a circle of critics he believes singled him out for scathing notices on his season of Shakespeare plays, which cheated him out of a theatrical award. Believed to be dead, having thrown himself from a high balcony into the Thames, the actually very alive Lionheart wreaks revenge with the help of a bunch of strange hippies and bums.  

Price is fantastic as the crazed actor out to silence his critics forever and wastes no opportunity to camp up his performance to the max.  He is ably supported by an outstanding cast featuring many names and faces that will be familiar to fans of British cinema and TV: Ian Hendry, Arthur Lowe, Michael Hordern, Robert Morley, and Dennis Price appear as the critics; Milo O'Shea and Eric Sykes are the coppers out to catch the murderous thespian; and Diana Rigg and Madeline Smith are the ladies in the film.  

Despite being blessed with a witty script, brilliant direction and an unbelievably good cast, it is the inventive death scenes that will probably stick in most viewer's minds the most: each murder is inspired by a different Shakespeare play and this gives the filmmakers  ample opportunity to splash a bit of blood across the screen. Arthur Lowe's decapitation is a particularly nasty moment, although  made easier to stomach by Price's wonderful tongue-in-cheek performance.  The poodle-pie sequence is gloriously sick and totally unforgettable.

If you enjoy a sick macabre sense of humor, then this film is for you!


Lemmy Caution said...

I DO enjoy a sick macabre sense on humor! Love that movie as well. Full of great costumes and wicked deaths.

SUZY8-TRACK said...

The poodle scene was sick! You can tell Price had a ball making this film!