Theatre of Blood

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A review of the 1973 movie "Theatre of Blood"

This 1973 film is a hilarious blend of comedy and horror.  Edward Lionheart (played by the great Vincent Price) is a Shakespearean actor who, nevertheless, has had some less than stellar reviews.  When he is passed over for the prestigious Critic's Circle Award, he is humiliated and his career is ruined.  Seeking revenge, he starts to murder the critics one by one, in methods taken from Shakespeare's more bizarre and gruesome murders.

 
This film really is non-stop entertainment.  It's less of a conventional horror film and more a gruesome, campy, melodramatic, dark comedy.  Price was attracted to the role because he had always wanted to play Shakespeare, but his typecasting in horror roles stopped him from being chosen.  In this film, he gets to deliver a number of Shakespeare's greatest speeches, and adopt some hilarious personas (one hilarious sequence has Price playing a flamboyantly camp hairdresser with a massive afro).  In fact, for any actor this would be a career highlight, playing so many different roles, and doing comedy, drama and action in one film.  Diana Rigg plays Lionheart's daughter and partner in crime, and also turns in a hugely entertaining performance in a number of different disguises.  A number of familiar British thespians, such as Ian Hendry, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Robert Morley, Eric Sykes and Diana Dors,  join in the fun.
 
It also features the funniest fencing sequence ever seen in film.        

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