Theatre of Blood – UK, 1973

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Theatre of Blood is a 1973 British horror film starring Vincent Price as vengeful actor Edward Lionheart and Diana Rigg as his daughter Edwina Lionheart.

The cast includes Harry Andrews, Coral Browne, Robert Coote, Jack Hawkins, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Joan Hickson, Robert Morley, Milo O’Shea, Diana Dors, Dennis Price, Ian Hendry and Eric Sykes. It was directed by Douglas Hickox. Price considered it to be his personal favourite of all his films.

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When a top London film critic is murdered in a way reminiscent of Julius Caesar’s death in the Shakespeare play of the same name, it is clear that someone is starting to kill off the members of the Critics’ Circle. Could the murderer be Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price), an actor humiliated by the Circle, who apparently committed suicide because they failed to recognise him? Could be…

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Lionheart’s theatre hideout was the Putney Hippodrome, built in 1906. It had been boarded up for fourteen years when it was chosen as a location for this film.

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When the movie was adapted for the London stage in 2005, Diana Rigg’s role was filled by her real-life daughter, Rachael Stirling.

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Review:

Great as the Phibes movies are, this is much, much better. In fact, it’s one of the great British horror movies, up there with the best of Hammer, The Wicker Man and other classics.

This new [Arrow] edition includes amongst the extras a commentary by the stars of The League of Gentlemen, and this is definitely worth a listen – enthusiastic, amusing and informative, it’s more a fan appreciation than anything, and is infinitely preferable to a dry ‘expert’ commentary. It does make you wish Price was still around to talk about these films though. Imagine the commentaries he could have given!

David Flint, HORRORPEDIA

Other reviews:

Theatre of Blood has it all. It’s extremely gory and full of dark humor, and wit. Once again Price is allowed to shine. He is at his finest in this role, in one of the few films that can rival The Abominable Dr. Phibes, in its sheer and utter mayhem, served with a touch of class.” Lawrence P Raffel, Monsters at Play.

“The series of reworked murder scenes are clever, but in succession are a bit exhausting, especially as they increasingly rely on contrivance and coincidence. (For the Othello segment, one critic is led, a bit too easily, to murder his wife out of jealousy.) The real pleasure here is watching Price exercise his campy range…” Henry Stewart, The L Magazine

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Buy X-Cert 2: The British Independent Horror Film 1971 – 1983 from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

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  • Vincent Price … Edward Lionheart
  • Diana Rigg … Edwina Lionheart
  • Ian Hendry … Peregrine Devlin
  • Harry Andrews … Trevor Dickman
  • Robert Coote … Oliver Larding
  • Michael Hordern … George Maxwell
  • Robert Morley … Meredith Merridew
  • Coral Browne … Chloe Moon
  • Jack Hawkins … Solomon Psaltery
  • Arthur Lowe … Horace Sprout
  • Dennis Price … Hector Snipe
  • Milo O’Shea … Inspector Boot
  • Eric Sykes … Sgt. Dogge
  • Diana Dors … Maisie Psaltery
  • Joan Hickson … Mrs. Sprout
  • Renée Asherson … Mrs. Maxwell
  • Madeline Smith … Rosemary
  • Brigid Erin Bates … Agnes
  • Charles Sinnickson … Vicar
  • Tutte Lemkow … Meths Drinker
  • Declan Mulholland … Meths Drinker
  • Stanley Bates … Meths Drinker
  • John Gilpin … Meths Drinker

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Posted by Will Holland

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