Monday, 31 October 2016

Theatre of Blood (1973)

"Critics all make errors. We're only human."

"An opinion I find myself incapable of sharing!"

Before I'd even watched a frame of this it was abundantly clear that it was spiritually a second sequel to The Abominable Dr. Phibes; Vincent Price plays an eccentric craving revenge and drawn to carrying out a series of grotesque murders upon a particular theme. In this case, with Edward Lionheart being a bad Shakespearean actor (I wonder how Price reacted to being offered the part of a ham actor...?), the theme of the murders is Shakespeare, the Titus Andronicus one naturally being the best, the play being just as Grand Guignol as the film itself.

Such a premise cannot fail and, indeed, it doesn't. Unlike the Dr. Phibes films this is set in the present day, but otherwise it feels much the same and follows the same template. The plot may be predictable but it's all about the spectacle. Diana Rigg is superb as Lionheart's daughter and accomplice and the murdered critics include the likes of Arthur Lowe and Dennis Price. We even get a scene, Avengers fans, in which Diana Rigg and Ian Hendry are in a car together.

It may not be big, it may not be clever- although it certainly appeals to the Shakespeare geek- but it sure is fun.

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