7.2/10
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139 user 74 critic

Theater of Blood (1973)

A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition.

Director:

Douglas Hickox

Writers:

Anthony Greville-Bell (screenplay), Stanley Mann (idea) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Price ... Edward Lionheart
Diana Rigg ... Edwina Lionheart
Ian Hendry ... Peregrine Devlin
Harry Andrews ... Trevor Dickman
Coral Browne ... Chloe Moon
Robert Coote ... Oliver Larding
Jack Hawkins ... Solomon Psaltery
Michael Hordern ... George Maxwell
Arthur Lowe ... Horace Sprout
Robert Morley ... Meredith Merridew
Dennis Price ... Hector Snipe
Milo O'Shea ... Inspector Boot
Eric Sykes ... Sergeant Dogge
Madeline Smith ... Rosemary
Diana Dors ... Maisie Psaltery
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Storyline

Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart (Vincent Price) is a matinèe favorite Shakespearean actor of the old school, finding difficulty coping with new theater roles, who wreaks revenge on on the theater critics who give their annual Guild's "Best Actor" award to a new and upcoming actor rather than him. Incensed by their choice, he does this in the most ingenious and disturbing ways by imitating death scenes taken from his final repertoire of his beloved Bard's tales. Vincent Price is well supported by Dame Diana Rigg, as his dutiful daughter Edwina, and a bevy of the cream of British character actors, including; Ian Hendry, Sir Michael Hordern, Dennis Price, Robert Morley, and Arthur Lowe. Written by Brian Carruthers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At your own risk See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Theatre of Blood See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (title sequence)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Vincent Price played the Duke of Clarence in Tower of London (1939), a version of the Richard III story, it was he who was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. See more »

Goofs

There is blood already on the plastic sheeting prior to George Maxwell being stabbed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
George Maxwell: That damn editor's cut the best part of my review!
Mrs. Maxwell: So I noticed, dear. You ought to have a chat with him.
George Maxwell: My most provocative comment, too, where I said the leading lady attacked her role with both hands and strangled it to death.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Despite the films spoofy nature the original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC and some of the close-up shots from the murders of Merridew and Miss Moon were slightly trimmed. All later video and DVD releases were fully uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in Chiller Theater: Theatre of Blood (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A hilarious spoof....Vincent Price rules!
6 October 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

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!


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