After the horrible deaths of three of his colleagues in the prestigious London Theatre Critics Circle, Peregrine Devlin (Ian Hendry) approaches the baffled police with a bizarre theory: perhaps the murders are being committed by Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price), an aging Shakespearean
actor who was outraged when the Critic's Circle award went to another actor. So incensed was Lionheart, that he pushed his way onto the stage, stole the award, and jumped into the Thames, supposedly killing himself. Since the three murders closely parallel deaths detailed in the plays of
Shakespeare, the cops think that Devlin may be right. The now-insane Lionheart, aided by his lovely though equally mad daughter, Edwina (Diana Rigg), and a group of derelicts who rescued him from the Thames, is indeed killing the critics.
Clearly inspired by the success of the "Dr. Phibes" series, THEATRE OF BLOOD goes one better by allowing Price to glory in his peculiarly Gothic acting style. He is wonderful here, delighting in every grotesque killing and relishing the excerpts from Shakespeare while outfitted in a variety of
outlandish costumes. While Price dominates the film with his superb performance, he is ably supported by a top-notch cast--all of whom agreed to do the film in homage to Price. Director Douglas Hickox wisely chooses a very fluid cinematic style to provide a contrast to the distinctly theatrical
script. He skillfully intertwines hilarious black humor with some surprisingly intense Grand Guignol effects. Wholly entertaining and memorable, THEATRE OF BLOOD is ripe camp, an excellent film, and a lasting tribute to the career of one of the most important actors in the genre.
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- Released: 1973
- Rating: R
- Review: After the horrible deaths of three of his colleagues in the prestigious London Theatre Critics Circle, Peregrine Devlin (Ian Hendry) approaches the baffled police with a bizarre theory: perhaps the murders are being committed by Edward Lionheart (Vincent P… (more)