Dr. Phibes Meets Shakespeare

Betcha didn’t know Vincent Price could do Shakespeare; but that’s what he does, in spades, in Theater of Blood (1973).

This won’t be everybody’s cup of tea because it’s… well, kind of bloody. It’s about a crazy Shakespearean actor taking revenge on drama critics: so the forms his vengeance takes are all lifted from Shakespeare’s plays. Think Julius Caesar, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, Titus Andronicus (couldn’t leave out that one!), and so on. Please bear in mind that much of Shakespeare’s work contained some rather gaudy episodes of violence. And Price gets to recite soliloquies as he murders in the flesh the critics who murdered him in print.

If you don’t mind a bit of make-believe blood and guts, Theater of Blood is off-the-wall fun. You not only get Vincent Price, but also a terrific cast with Diana Rigg, Michael Hordern, Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins, et al. I promise you, you’ve never seen Shakespeare like this before.

Watching this film will not cause you to grow spiritually; nor will it make you wiser, nor even enhance your understanding of Shakespeare. But it’ll give you some 90 minutes of fun–I mean, really, a sword-fight to the death… on trampolines? Just try to find that anywhere else.


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