Wednesday, April 4, 2012

That 70s Movie Review:Theatre of Blood(1973)

By Eric Polk-
What is up, jive turkeys? This month, I'm strapping on my 7-inch leather heels, bumping KISS Alive, and taking a cinema trek into what is arguably the greatest decade in movie history. Think about it. In addition to some of the cornerstones of horror(The Exorcist, TCM, Halloween,etc), you also had some of the greatest mainstream movies of all time(The Godfather, Dirty Harry, Shaft, and of course, STAR WARS!!!!)

So I begin with a visit with Rhonda's main squeeze and all-around horror deity, one Mr. Vincent Price in a role that was tailor-made for his talent. Directed by Douglas Hickcox, Theatre of Blood revolves around vengeful actor Edward Lionheart and his daughter, Edwina. Edward  Lionheat thought he was the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day. Abetted by his daughter, Lionheart sets about murdering, one by one, a group of critics who had both ridiculed his acting throughout his career and declined to award him their "Critic's Circle Award for Best Actor", which Lionheart felt was merited by his final season of performances in various Shakespearean plays; humiliated in the aftermath of the awards ceremony, he attempts suicide and is presumed dead. Unbeknownst to the critics, and the police, Lionheart survives the suicide attempt and is adopted into a community of vagrants and some of my very own family members that do his bidding.
                                                           (No Little Guy, not you!!!)

Anyway, the manner of Lionheart's revenge on each critic is inspired by deaths of characters in the plays of Lionheart's last season of Shakespeare. In most cases the critic is first duped by Lionheart's acting initially to "play the part" before Lionheart's murderous intentions are revealed, followed by a forced recantation and an ironic, humiliating and grotesque dispatch of the critic. And how sinister he is in performing these acts.

I gotta say, I understand why Rhonda lavishes praise on this film. What it's missing in suspense is made up with plenty of gore for 1973. VP is on his game in this one, acting (sometimes overacting) as you'd expect for a legend. The fencing scene with one of his victims is rather memorable and somewhat silly(trampolines, really?) along with some open-heart surgery in another. If you are a hardcore horror fanatic, I think you will enjoy this slice of dark heaven.

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