Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) is an actor who has found his niche: the plays of William Shakespeare. While he thrills audiences, he gets no respect from cruel theater critics. Driven to despair, he jumps to his death in front of them. Before long, the critics begin dying off in scenarios inspired by Shakespearian plays. Alas, who will be left to write condescending theater reviews?
On the surface, it appears that the critics have a point. They question Lionheart’s greatness. Surely, a really talented actor would want to grow and stretch himself. By limiting himself to Shakespeare, Lionheart plays it safe.
However, to trick the critics into falling into his trap, the actor plays a wide variety of characters. Most of the critics get to witness him branching out into new roles…right before they die.
There’s not much mystery here, but Theater of Blood is a fun movie. It’s essentially a showcase for Price. He’s enjoying himself and it shows. Also, if you’re a fan of British cinema, the cast is full of familiar faces.
Is it horror? More of a comedy with some horrifying/scary elements. Shakespeare didn’t have a lot of people peacefully passing in their sleep…
On top of everything else, the film has a campy queerness that I enjoy.
TIP: Be careful, darlings. A sharp critique can cut both ways.