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Theatre of Blood (1973)
"Theater of Blood" (original title)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  5 April 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,301 users  
Reviews: 112 user | 85 critic

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



(screenplay), (idea), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peregrine Devlin
Trevor Dickman
Coral Browne ...
Miss Chloe Moon
Robert Coote ...
Oliver Larding
Solomon Psaltery
George William Maxwell
Horace Sprout
Meredith Merridew
Hector Snipe
Inspector Boot
Sergeant Dogge
Madeline Smith ...
Maisie Psaltery


Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) stars as an actor overlooked for a critics' acting award, despite producing a season of Shakespeare plays. After confronting the Critics' Circle, an attempted suicidal dive into the Thames results in Lionheart being rescued by your typical paraffin/meths/turps swigging tramps. Lionheart then (presumed dead) exacts his grizzly, and quite amusing revenge on the critics who denied him his finest hour. Written by Paul Batey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Vincent Price has reserved a seat for you in the "theatre of blood." See more »


Comedy | Horror


R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

5 April 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Theatre of Blood  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(title sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Diana Rigg regards this as her best film. See more »


Edward Lionheart obviously jumps into the Thames from the balcony, but it's stated earlier in the file that he jumped into the ocean. See more »


Peregrine Devlin: Lionheart, what the hell do you want here?
Edward Lionheart: [Walking to the best actor award] This. My just reward, the whole world knows it is mine by right. But you deliberately withheld it from me. You deliberately humiliated me in front of my press, my public and my peers. It was the culmination of your determined denial of my genius! For thirty years the public has acknowledged that I am the master, and that this year my season of Shakespeare was the shining jewel in the crown of the immortal bard. But you,...
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User Reviews

This comic horror (or horrific comedy) really made my stomach turn even as I brushed up my Shakespeare.
13 August 2000 | by (Castro Valley, California) – See all my reviews

This movie is hilarious but disturbing. I found it in the local video store while searching for a copy of Kind Hearts and Coronets, and I'm afraid that at first, it suffered from invidious comparison. There are several graphic and prolonged death scenes that I really found repelling. Not only were they very ugly and presumably realistic, but the characters that were killed had become very dear to the audience, that is, me. Each of the ten victims is played by a veteran British or Australian character actor, each one a master at engaging the audience in a short amount of film time.

This said, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, and the references to Shakespeare actually had me combing through our collected works at 12:30 a.m. Diana Rigg is perfect as Edwina--she's a Shakespeare pro, but perfectly captures several feminine ideals of the late sixties. Her appearance in mini and white platform boots is a shining example of mod glory, circa 1970.

I appreciated this film more when I remember that it was probably made as cheap horror film with added wit, rather than a clever comedy that went over the top with graphic violence. I believe my stomach actually turned at a few of the murders, even though I laughed out loud soon after.

Coral Browne was particularly funny, and there were definite sparks between her and Vincent Price in the beauty shop scene. (I remember reading about their real-life romance with glee, since they were both over 60 at the time.) I wish her scenes could have lasted longer.

I loved the wit, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Vincent and Diana acting out snippets of scenes from some of the great plays. I also enjoyed the writer's skill at contemporary comedy and sly wordplay. Each character, played by a talented veteran, makes an indelible impression in their too-brief "hour upon the stage" before they depart and are seen no more. This film needed a curtain call at the end, just as in Shakespeare's time, so we could see the company of players one last time. I suppose the producers wouldn't go for it.

Although I enjoyed this movie, I couldn't bring myself to sit through the film a second time, even for the performances and dialogue. I just couldn't bear to watch all those death throes again.

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