#31in31 2016: Theater of Blood

theatre-of-blood-1973“They’re not going to start killing people for writing bad notices, are they?”

Story: A respected Shakespearean actor commits suicide after failing to receive a coveted award.  But then the critics that lambasted him begin dying in Shakespearean style.  Maybe I should start blowing smoke up everyone’s ass…

Scares: More campy than scary, though a few of the deaths are satisfyingly gruesome.

Splat factor: While there are gruesome deaths, it’s more the intimation of the thing than the actual view.  Think clever blocking and lots of blood effects, instead of in-your-face grue.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Nup, but there’s definitely a twist. One you’ll see coming, but is a good time nonetheless.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Original.

Trick or Treat?: Vincent Price and Diana Rigg.  Yeah, you’re gonna want to watch this.  It’s a campy, humorous horror treat in the Hammer-esque style of the early 70s.

Add a list of incredible stage actors to this film – including Harry Andrews, Jack Hawkins, Coral Browne, Michael Hordern, Joan Hickson, and Robert Morley – and this film about the thea-TAH is just what the doctors ordered.  Doctor Phibes, Doctor Jekyll, Doctor Frankenstein, naturally.

My favorite thing about this film?  Tough to choose.  But I’ll whittle it down to two: seeing all the theatrical disguises Price’s Edward Lionheart gets up to in order to hide himself from his victims, and the death of Robert Morley’s Meredith Merridew in one of the gruesomest ways possible.

Then there’s Diana Rigg as Edwina Lionheart, with hints of Lady Olenna Tyrell to come in her performance.  And the fun of trying to guess which Shakespearean death will come up next.

Bee-Tee-Dub: Diana Rigg introduced Price to actress Coral Browne during the making of this film. Browne and Price married, and were together until Browne’s death in 1991.  Everybody say AWWW.

Score: 4 out of 5 pumpkins.

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