Who knew Shakespeare could be so much fun? More often than not, his plays seemed to put me to sleep in high school literature class. Funny how a movie like this can make you see things in a different light, even make you appreciate his work. I guess it's all in the presentation.
In Theater of Blood, Vincent Price plays Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearian actor who takes revenge on his critics through some particularly devious means after suffering many a bad review. What I really enjoyed, besides Price's outstanding performance, was how he incorporated the murders to fit in with Shakespearian plays. It was a really nice touch that elevated this movie from your typical horror movie to a masterpiece of the genre.
Price plays it perfectly, as an over the top actor, quoting lines from various plays as the curtain falls on each of his victims. I loved how he had that big book containing all his reviews, to which he would refer before dispatching some of his intended targets. Also, I thought Diana Rigg was wonderful as Price's daughter, Edwina. Not only is she very easy on the eyes, but also she complimented Price's performance nicely. If you've seen the earlier Price movie, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, you will certainly recognize a number of similarities in the plot of both movies. Both involve the main character supposedly coming back from the dead to exact revenge. In 'Phibes', his vengeance is focused on the doctors and nurses Price feels are responsible for his wife's death, while here his wrath is aimed at those responsible for the death of his career. Also, both movies involve meticulous planning of the murders to fit into a specific, overall theme, including rather gruesome and horrifying means of demise for the intended victims.
It's all played tongue in cheek, and works so well. This is one of my favorite Price films, and really excellent example of him at his best. If for nothing else, this movie is worth watching to see Price in the guise of a hairdresser, in setting up a death sequence with a female victim. Seeing him in those groovy clothes, glasses stolen from Elton John, and ridiculously oversized afro is truly 'priceless'.