Theater of Blood

June 10, 2011 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

Vincent Price was the man. Even though he was in a ton of movies, not all of them good, his performances were always excellent.  He could always elevate a film, just through his presences. He truly was one of a kind, with such a unique and instantly identifiable style. I really can’t say enough good things about him. And Theater of Blood was reported to be his favorite Vincent Price movie. I can see why.

This movie is awesome.  A Shakespearean actor, thought to have committed suicide, returns from the dead to kill his critics. Not only that, he uses methods from Shakespeare plays to kills these critics. The critics had robbed him of a well deserved award which drove him to leap off a balance in front of them while they mock him for being hurt over their harsh reviews. One critic in particular, Devlin, orchestrated all of the bad reviews and blackballed him from winning the award. He claims to have done this because Vincent Price’s character,Lionheart, would only perform Shakespeare. Lionheart goes through all of the plays from that season and kills off each critic whom reviewed his play in a method from that play. Like the first critic gave a bad review of Julius Caeser. So Lionheart has a group of bums stab him to death while he mocks the dying critic with quotes from the play. One by one he picks off the critics in more clever ways, playing other roles to get past the police. At one point he plays a gay hairdresser to get after the woman who gave him a bad review and ward off the police officer who is supposed to be guarding her. Did I mention its a comedy?

Vincent Price really shows his range in this movie. He plays such a wide range of characters and plays them convincingly. The other actors in Theater of Blood all do a good job as well. Vincents commands a gang of hobos who do his bidding. Either these are some really good actors or they just grabbed random homeless people and put them in this movie. All of the critics have distinct characteristics. While none of them are likable, they all do a good job of standing out from one another.  Diana Rigg plays Lionheart’s daughter in the movie and does a great job in the scenes where she plays the daughters. She is in most of the film as another character but I won’t spoil for you which one it is.

The writing is very strong. When you’re working with Shakespeare, the writing had better be strong. The use of Shakespeare quotes are well placed and often have sub textual meanings. There are quite a few good one liners. The way Vincent Price delivers them, I think this character may have been an inspiration for Freddy Krueger. You might not be able to tell from my description so far but this movie really is a dark comedy. The comedy is really dry but works very well. The horror works well enough that there are some fairly creepy moments. Like when he sends one of the critics heart to Devlin. It’s the pound of flesh paid in The Merchant of Venice. It looks pretty sick. The only problem I have is that this is a world without heroes. The critics are so pompous and arrogant that it’s hard to feel sorry for them when they get killed. And Lionheart is such a fun character to watch, you end up cheering for him almost right away. But he’s not much of a hero, he’s killing people. Sure, the critics were unnecessarily harsh towards him but did they really deserve to be murder? Vincent justifies this in a scene that pretty much sums up the theme for this movie. These critics with their careless and venomous reviews have destroyed the lives of numerous actors so they deserve to lose their lives. It makes more sense when he says it.   I guess it’s really clever how the victims are the villains and the killer is the hero in this movie. And you completely buy it the whole time.

The only thing I can really say negative about this movie is that the video on you tube loses sync about halfway through. This is probably the best movie I’ve seen on you tube so far. It may be one of my favorite movies peroid. I watched it twice and really need to find it on dvd to relieve some of the sync issues. I will definitely be watching this movie again and I highly recommend you watch it as well. Vincent Price and a gang of homeless people reenact Shakespeare and kill of obnoxious jerks. What’s not to love?


Entry filed under: Comedy, Horror. Tags: , , , , .

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