Theater of Blood (1973)

theater of blood poster 1973 movie vincent price
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Vincent Price, some creative deaths

Not as good as some of Price's other entries like the Dr. Phibes series

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Theater of Blood

Studio:  United Artists

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  April 5, 1973

MPAA Rating:  R

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I want my pound of flesh!

Edward Kendall Sheridan Lionheart (Vincent Price) is a Shakespearean actor who feels slighted.  Faking his own death, Edward is back and out for revenge against the critics who passed him up for the award.  As the police try to track down the killer, Edwina (Diana Rigg) suspects that her father could be the murderer as the critics worry that they could be next.

Directed by Douglas Hickox, Theater of Blood (or Theatre of Blood depending on the country) was a horror film distributed by United Artists.  Price often listed the film as one of his favorite performances and the film is often collected with other Vincent Price films.

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I like a nice poodle pie after a hearty meal!

The movie is a lot like other Price films.  The unusual deaths, the revenge, and the crazed main character does resemble Dr. Phibes and many critics also held this against the film.  I do think this is different than the two Phibes films, but that isn’t necessarily as good.

The odd thing about the film is that the story is a revenge story which like Phibes isn’t necessarily a real revenge story.  In The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Price’s character blames the doctors (probably unjustly for his wife’s death).  Here, Price blames the critics for not giving him a best actor award…which he probably didn’t deserve.  Lionheart is more delusional than anything which does play in to the madness and the murders.

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This is fun…let’s keep jumping!

Vincent Price was a real trooper when it came to his roles.  I don’t think you could argue that he was the best actor, but you could argue that he did make an effort in almost all his films.  Writers also smartly reasoned that part of Price’s charm was his intentional overacting and Theater of Blood also allowed for this.  Paired with Price is a fun little role by The Avengers star Diana Rigg who plays Price’s daughter in the film, and Price was also introduced to his future wife Coral Browne playing Chloe Moon…though the general Hollywood gossip after Price’s death puts this as a marriage of convenience for both actors.

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I’m one cool cat out to kill!

The deaths of the movie are fun.  Based upon the plays of Shakespeare, there is a lot of room for extreme and fun murders.  I liked the Romeo and Juliet trampoline sword fight and the Titus Andronicus eating of the children…aka the dogs of one of critics baked in a pie.  The Phibes deaths were more probably more “creative”, but did like how writers worked the Shakespeare into stories and these murders were more tongue-in-cheek.

Theater of Blood isn’t a bad horror film, but in the realm of Vincent Price films, it isn’t my favorite.  It is a showcase for Price who gets to ham it up in most of the scenes.  The movie has some great moments, fun costumes, and classic Price overacting, and fans of Price will love it.  It generally can be found packaged with other Price films, so you can’t go wrong by picking it up.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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