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Theatre of Death
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Synopsis for
Blood Fiend (1967) More at IMDbPro »Theatre of Death (original title)

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Horror, murder, mystery and mayhem make up the principal ingredients of the Theatre de Morte. New director Phillipe Darvas [Christopher Lee], son of the old director, vows to dedicate his life to the theatre, as did his father. At the opening night cast party, patroness Mme Angelique [Evelyn Laye] requests that Darvas give a preview of coming attractions, so Darvas asks Dani Gireaux [Lelia Goldoni] and newcomer Nicole Chapelle [Jenny Till] to perform a scene from 'The Witches of Salem'.

Darvas first hypnotizes the scared Nicole who then performs so realistically that Dani's boyfriend, Dr. Charles Marquis [Julian Glover], interrupts the scene when it looks like Nicole intends to burn Dani's face with the hot poker she is brandishing. Charles, a police surgeon recuperating from a hand injury, is meanwhile investigating the deaths of 3 women, all stabbed in the neck with a sharp item, all drained of blood, a situation known to police as 'hemaphagia', to the public as vampire. Since the instrument used seems to resemble knives used in one of the performances at the Theatre of Death, Charles suspects that Darvas may be involved.

Meanwhile, Darvas takes a liking to Nicole and, thinking he can make an actress of her, he begins to probe her life, her motivations, her inner secrets. When Darvas asks Nicole to move into his theatre apartment with him, Dani becomes upset. Her concern is that Nicole is too young and vulnerable to get mixed up with Darvas, but Darvas sees it as jealousy and fires Dani on grounds that she is mentally unstable, as she recently spent two years in a mental hospital. When Charles gives Darvas a ride home and probes him about the hemaphagiac murders, Darvas becomes agitated. Is Darvas the vampire?

The next day, Darvas's cape is found covered with blood, but no body is found. The murders stop but Nicole acts as though Darvas is still with her. Is Darvas really dead? Is Nicole hiding Darvas somewhere? Charles and Dani decide to 'babysit' Nicole. They move into the theatre apartment with her and follow her everywhere, but she leads them nowhere. Suddenly, the murders start up again--a prostitute on the dock, a young woman coming home from a date. Then Darvas's decomposed body is discovered floating in a pond. Whatever Darvas might have been, he isn't the hemaphagiac murderer.

One evening, Dani, Charles and Nicole have dinner in a Romanian restaurant. Nicole plays her guitar for the patrons, and the restaurant owners wife recognizes the tune as Romanian. The names Constantine and Anna engraved into Nicole's guitar remind them of a gypsy family with whom they escaped Romania in 1946 by crossing the Italian Alps in February. The small caravan became entrapped by an avalanche in a little-traveled pass. One of the men killed the horses, and they ate the meat. But Anna's baby could not eat meat, so she killed one of the other children and fed his blood to her child. That child's name was Nicole. Could Nicole Chapelle and the gypsy baby Nicole be one and the same?

Then Dani discovers a script written by Darvas just before his death. Entitled 'The Caravan', it tells the tale of a gypsy caravan caught in an avalanche and of a mother killing one child to feed his blood to her baby. Dani now knows for sure that the baby is Nicole Chapelle. Yes, Nicole killed those women to satisfy her need for blood. Yes, Nicole killed Darvas because he was about to unveil her story. Now Nicole must kill Dani to safeguard her secret.

Nicole hypnotizes Dani to confess to all the murders, then she forces Dani to stab herself. But Charles interrupts them in the nick of time. Nicole escapes, runs to the theatre where she hides under the stage and is accidentally speared during the final scene of the show. [Original Synopsis by bj_kuehl.]

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