Blu-ray Review: Theatre of Blood - Twilight Time Limited Edition

By , Contributor
Vincent Price delivers one of his zestiest and most over-looked performances in Theatre of Blood, a 1973 horror film now available on Blu-ray courtesy of boutique label Twilight Time. The limited edition release (3,000 units issued) offers a very clean presentation of Wolfgang Suschitzky's cinematography. Suschitzky passed away October 7, 2016 at the age of 104 and Theatre of Blood is a great way to remember the veteran DP (who also shot the 1971 cult fave Get Carter).

Theatre of Bood also provides a wonderfully offbeat way to relish the talents of the great Vincent Price. His performance as Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart probably could've sealed the actor's capital-L "Legend" status even if had he never played another role on screen. After receiving more than his fair share of thorough dismissals from holier-than-thou critics, Lionheart makes the rash decision to end his own life. However, he survives his suicide attempt and returns to exact bloody revenge on the critics who savaged him.

Utilizing the vaunted Shakespeare canon, he picks off critics one by one—enacting the most violent scenes from the Bard's plays. Talk about life imitating art. Though the tone, rich with pitch black humor, is radically different, Theatre of Blood at least superficially brings to mind David Fincher's Seven in the sense that the killer employs such a cleverly methodical means of offing his victims. Aficionados of pre-1970s British theatre, cinema, and television will appreciate the casting of the doomed critics (including Shakespearean great Michael Hordern, to name but one).

As mentioned, the colored cinematography (framed in its original theatrical ratio of 1.66:1) looks vivid in its 1080p debut. The mono DTS-HD MA soundtrack is simple but fine (a little quiet, if anything—you'll want to crank this one a bit). Composer Michael J. Lewis' score is available as an isolated track.

This Twilight Time limited edition includes a well-researched audio commentary track by film historians David Del Valle and Nick Redman. The Blu-ray booklet features a newly written essay about Theatre of Blood by film historian Julie Kirgo. Visit Screen Archives or the official Twilight Time website for ordering information.


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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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