Horror Review: Theater Of Blood (1973)

A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition.

If a film features Vincent Price then I’ll watch it, it’s as simple as that.

I have to admit though that when I watched this film I was not expecting what I saw. I’d grown up on watching films where Vincent Price was playing these serious roles, so I was expecting more of the same. I was not prepared to be crying with laughter for the next hour and forty five minutes.

I was not aware that this feature was a Comedy/Horror so I was not prepared for the amount of humour this feature had in it. And trust me when I say that the humour, as hilarious as it is, does not take away from the Horror aspect of the film either, in fact it adds to it as there’s more gore here than you’d expect.

Talking of the gore, this film features some very fun and entertaining death scenes. I won’t give any of gritty details away in case you haven’t seen this movie but seeing the iconic Vincent Price in an afro wig is something you will never forget and also never not smile about.

Vincent Price considered this to be his personal favorite of all of his movies, also Dame Diana Rigg regards this as her best movie. This comes as no surprise really as everyone on screen looks to be having an absolutely great time making this hilarious, gory yet stylish feature.

“Theater Of Blood” is a film I really do urge you to watch, it’s tons of fun and I think those Horror fans who haven’t seen it will get a real kick out of it.

If you want to see the “Theater Of Blood” trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Vincent Price fell in love with and married Coral Browne following production, which lasted from July 10 to August 17, 1972. This movie was released after Price’s March 18, 1973 appearance as the subject of “This is Your Life”, his last public appearance with second wife Mary, who knew nothing yet about his affair with Coral, set up by Dame Diana Rigg, who noticed the chemistry between the two.

This movie was shot entirely on-location in and around London. No scenes were shot in a studio.

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

Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart’s (Vincent Price’s) theater 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 movie. The filmmakers rented it for one hundred twenty-seven dollars a week and set parts of it on fire for this movie’s finale. The building was demolished in 1975 and housing was erected on the site.

The name of Dame Diana Rigg’s character was derived from that of Edwina Booth, daughter of Edwin Booth (1833-1893), considered by many to be the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day, and the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the most infamous actor of his day.

According to Vincent Price biographer Iain McAsh, six gallons of Kensington Gore (stage blood) was used during production.

Due to Jack Hawkins’ speech loss from laryngeal cancer (he could only speak through an artificial voice-box), his voice in the role of theatre critic Solomon Psaltery was dubbed by Charles Gray.

Credits include Tutte Lemkow as “Choreographer of the Meths Drinkers.”

The fire in the theatre at the film’s climax actually got out of control at one point during filming and the fire brigade had to be alerted.

The picture of the handsome Elizabethan young man in a black cape and white tights shown during the opening credits, and later used as the model for this movie’s Critic’s Circle Award, is a painting titled “Young Man Among Roses” by Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), and is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

One of Vincent Price”s greatest desires was to play a Shakespeare character on stage in England. Frustrated by how his film career had ultimately.pigeonholed him into horror roles, he relished the chance to quote Shakespearean prose in this film and jumped at the chance when approached. He was also very pleased to be cast opposite so many well known Briitish character actors, several of who had experience of previously being in the RSC.

Final theatrical movie of Robert Coote (Oliver Larding) and Jack Hawkins (Solomon Psaltery).

Ian Hendry and Dame Diana Rigg appeared on The Avengers (1961).

The full name of Vincent Price’s character, according to his memorial, is Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart. “Sheridan” is probably a reference to the eighteenth century playwright and manager Richard B. Sheridan, or his actor-manager father, Thomas Sheridan.

Robert Fuest was asked to direct.

Robert Morley played five years later in Too Many Chefs (1978) , a very similar topic movie, in which he also played a gourmet.

Robert Morley played a gourmet in the Alfred Hitchcock Playhouse TV show “Specialty of the House” 1959. He was the gourmet and the main course.

Dennis Price and Arthur Lowe appeared in Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949).

This was Renée Asherson’s (Mrs. Maxwell’s) last movie until Grey Owl (1999).

Renée Asherson and Eric Sykes appeared in The Others (2001).

Brigid Erin Bates’s debut.

The sword fight between Lionheart (Vincent Price) and Devlin (Ian Hendry) was Price’s idea. Price had trained on the stage and lamented that all the fencing practice he had put in as a young man had been of very little use as an actor as apart from a few roles in period dramas at the beginning of his career, it was a skill that he hadn’t used in years and that many younger actors no longer learned. The producers indulged him as it was a way of introducing a confrontation between the two characters that could be filmed quickly, relatively inexpensively and it hasld a theatricality to it. However Price was disappointed to find out that almost all his scenes in that scene were filmed by a stunt double.

Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart’s (Vincent Price’s) tomb is an actual monument in Kensal Green Cemetery, London. It belongs to the Sievier family, and shows the sculpted figures of a seated man, one hand placed on the head a woman kneeling in adoration, while the other holds the Bible, its pages opened to a passage in the Book of Luke. This monument was altered for this movie by plaster masks of Vincent Price and Dame Diana Rigg substituting for the statue’s real ones, the Bible became a volume of William Shakespeare, and there is a suitable engraving at the front with Lionheart’s name and dates.

Body Count: eleven.

In “Tower of London ” (1939), Vincent Price plays the Duke of Clarence, who is drowned in a vat of wine.

Vincent Price played one decade earlier in a film, Tower of London (1962), in which there was also a scene of a man drowned in a barrel of wine.

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