THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973) Reviews of Vincent Price classic

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Theatre of Blood aka Theater of Blood was released on Blu-ray in the USA by Kino Lorber Studio Classics on September 7, 2021. Special features:

Audio commentary by filmmaker Alan Spencer (new)
Audio commentary by film historians David Del Valle and Nick Redman
Trailers From Hell with Alan Spencer
Theatrical trailer
Two TV spots
Four radio spots
Reversible artwork on the sleeve
Limited edition slipcover


Here’s our previous coverage of this genuine cult classic:

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Theatre of Blood is a 1973 British comedic horror film about a Shakespearean actor who takes revenge on critics who denied him recognition.

Directed by Douglas Hickox and starring Vincent Price as vengeful 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. 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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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, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
“A critical and commercial success, Theatre of Blood deserves its following and accolades. Dark humor and garish murders captivate viewers on a visceral level, but it’s the not-entirely-hidden subtext that makes the bizarre masterpiece compelling […] Unlike Doctor Phibes and sequel, Theatre of Blood wallows in moral ambiguity allowing audiences to root for an unhinged murderer.” Horror News

“Lionheart’s Shakespearean death traps are wonderfully theatrical, but Price’s performance is often surprisingly poignant, especially his ostensive suicide scene, involving Hamlet’s soliloquy. He and Rigg are terrific together. Frankly, fans had never seen Rigg as she appeared in Theater—you sort of need to see it to understand why.” J.B. Spins

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 Doctor Phibes, in its sheer and utter mayhem, served with a touch of class.” 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…” The L Magazine


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