When I was first approached with the opportunity to choose a film to show at the Trylon, Theater of Blood rose quickly to the top of my list. I immensely enjoy the horror genre, but mostly when a movie can be funny while taking itself seriously.
Vincent Price masterfully plays Shakespearean roles from: Julius Caesar, Troilus & Cressida, Cymbeline, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Othello, Henry VI: Part One, Titus Andronicus, Romeo & Juliet, and King Lear. Typically cast as a B-Horror Movie actor, Price was often asked to play parts that fit his wheelhouse. Theater of Blood gave Price the chance to branch out, but also integrated the macabre and dry comedy he is so well known for.
Other reasons that I enjoy this film: The death scenes are realistic without being overly gory, although I must admit they can be gruesome- quite possibly some of the most innovative and creative ways murder has been depicted on the screen! The cinematography is top notch. Notice the interesting angle choices and use of natural lighting throughout the picture. For example, in the first ten minutes there is a shot through the slats of the floor looking up at the face of the victim laying on the floor with Price standing over.
Another thing I love about this movie is that everything was filmed on location. There was no stage set. The director, Douglas Hickcox, discovered an abandoned theater house from the early 1900s on Felsham road in London. (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/14972). Hickcox had used the theater for parts of his film Sitting Target from the year prior. The theater was known as, “Putney Hippodrome” and was torn down in 1975.
Lastly, I also just love the aesthetics of the 1970s in general. There are some great fashion statements and room knick-knacks that make this a feast for the eyes.
Edited by Olga Tchepikova-Treon