Search - Theater Of Blood/MadHouse (Midnite Movies Double Feature) on DVD

Theater Of Blood/MadHouse (Midnite Movies Double Feature)
Theater Of Blood/MadHouse
Midnite Movies Double Feature
Actors: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Diana Rigg, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri
Directors: Douglas Hickox, Jim Clark
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2005     3hr 15min

Theater of BloodVincent Price delivers a thrilling "tour-de-force" (Variety) performance as a small-time actor plotting big-time revenge in inventively Shakespearean ways! Boasting a topnotch supporting cast, this dramatic...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Diana Rigg, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri
Directors: Douglas Hickox, Jim Clark
Creators: Angus Hall, Anthony Greville-Bell, Greg Morrison, John Kohn, Ken Levison, Stanley Mann
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/15/2005
Original Release Date: 04/05/1973
Theatrical Release Date: 04/05/1973
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 3hr 15min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

2 More Vincent Classics For The Price of 1!
Daniel Kepley | Viola, DE USA | 04/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember seeing THEATRE OF BLOOD back in 1992 on Halloween of all days. I saw the second half of it and it pretty much disturbed me and haunted my nightmares. But last night I bought this new DVD (with MADHOUSE on the other side) and watched it. And now I find it to be alternately shocking and side-splittingly funny! As for MADHOUSE, I only saw half of it but so far I am impressed.

THEATRE OF BLOOD is the ultimate wish-fulfillment movie for anybody in the movie industry or theatre that has ever had scathing reviews levied against them. Edward Lionheart is a Shakespearian actor who employs death scenes from the Bard in his vengeance against nine critics who have been really harsh on him to say the least. This movie is DR. PHIBES with a theatrical element in lieu of the Biblical plague thing, but on its own, it's very good. The highlight is the salon electricution, especially seeing Price disguised as Butch! The great music score is a precursor to what Pino Donaggio would do for Brian DePalma! And there's a great punchline!

MADHOUSE has Price as a horror movie actor doing a TV movie and getting stuck in the middle of a killing spree. Plus, there's Count Yorga as a producer and Peter Cushing as a director! A reunion from DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN! The murders are inventive and predate FRIDAY THE 13TH and its ilk. And another great music score punctuates the prodeedings. This is what makes Best Buy so awesome (and makes me happy that it finally came to Dover); they work with MGM to provide double the pleasure in horror movies!"
Grossly under rated Price vehicle!
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 04/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Ahh, Vincent Price the world would have been boring without his droll delivery. Without wearing any make up, Price became a horror icon in the 60's and 70's while appearing in "The Tingler", "The Last Man on Earth", "The Mask of the Red Death" and the "Dr Phibes" films. "Theater of Blood" the first film in this twofer from MGM is one of Price's finest 70's horror films. Price plays Lionheart a Shakespearean actor denied a major critics award out of spite who commits suicide. Or did he? Two years later on the anniversary of Lionheart's death the critics that snubbed him begin to die like the characters from the plays that Lionheart was performing prior to his death. Featuring British vets Jack Hawkins, Arthur Lowe and the lovely Diana Rigg as Lionheart's daughter, "Theater of Blood" ranks up there with the witty "Dr. Phibes" films one of Price's later films.

One of the finest moments is a fencing scene where the two opponents face off on the floor, on a trampoline and various gym equipment. It's quite well staged and entertaining.

"Madhouse" the flipside of this twofer is a lesser film but features a stellar cast. The predictable plot focuses on an actor Paul Toombes (Price again naturally) who returns to acting after suffering a nervous breakdown as a result of his the murder of his fiance. Twelve years have passed and now Toombes returns to acting only to find that those around him are now being murdered! Toombes wonders if he is the cause of it all or if someone is out to incriminate him. The marvelous cast of Price, Peter Cushing ("Horror of Dracula", "Curse of Frankenstein", "Star Wars", "She") Robert Quarry ("Count Yorga Vampire", "Dr. Phibes Rises Again")makes the film memorable. Director James Clark (editor of "Vera Drake", "Copycat", "The World is Not Enough")does a stylish job with the predictable screenplay by Ken Levison and Greg Morrison. It's a blast to see Cushing, Price and Quarry together (along with archieval footage of Boris Karloff). A pity there was no way to fit Christopher Lee into the mix (he was busy shooting "The Man with the Golden Gun" and "The Wicker Man").

As usual the transfer look pretty good given the age of the negatives although "Theater of Blood" looks a bit washed out. Then again, it's always looked like that as long as I can remember. A pity that Clark wasn't asked to do a commentary track. It's one of only three or four movies he directed. The late Hickox who directed "Theater of Blood" primarily directed mini-series for TV after the film. The first film deserves a strong four stars while "Madhouse" deserves 2 1/2 for effort and performances. Theatrical trailers for both films are included."
Vincent Price's magnum opus plus one
M2 | Glendale, CA United States | 12/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If "Theatre of Blood" were the only film on this DVD it would still be worth the price. Make that the Price. Made more than a decade before the legendary actor's graceful last act, which began with "The Whales of August" and culminated in "Edward Scissorhands," this was by far Vincent Price's best film. Playing the demented (and supposedly dead) dreadful classical actor Edward Lionheart, Price gets a chance to strut his stuff like never before in a host of Shakespearean snippets (and his Shylock and Richard III are gems). In addition, he gets to gruesomely murder the critics who have assailed him over the years -- dead critics...what's not to love? Even more fun is the fact that the smarmy critics are played by a host of some of the best supporting actors Britain then had to offer.

"Madhouse," made only a year later, doesn't exactly try to copy the format of "Theatre of Blood," but it has certain elements of it in its story of horror film actor Paul Toombes (Price) who may or may not delve too deeply into his signature character "Dr. Death" and kill young women. "Madhouse" is basically a murder mystery disguised as a horror film, and not a bad one, but it suffers from a few too many ingredients. The character of Dr. Death (Price in rather simple, but very effective skull-face makeup) is clearly patterned after "Dr. Phibes," the two-film series that had been hugely successful a few years earlier, while Paul Toombes (who is nothing like the character from the source novel, "Devilday," by Angus Hall) is slightly reminiscent of the character Jon Pertwee played in "The House That Dripped Blood" -- a role for which Price had been sought. In structure, the film is also a bit reminiscent of the 1969 oddball film "Scream and Scream Again," which involed a serial killer stalking young girls in London, and there is a very peculiar subplot with Adrienne Corri as a burn-scarred and crazy former actress hiding in Peter Cushing's cellar, which seems like something out of a mid-1960s Italian horror film. It's quite a stew. Where the picture really drops the ball, though, is as a conscious effort to do for Price what Peter Bogdanovich's "Targets" did for Boris Karloff: present him with a canny career summation role in which he more or less plays himself. Price does more or less play himself -- an affable, good natured man who has managed to retain his professional integrity even after years of questionable films, which he gamely continues to make even as he believes himself to be unfairly exploited -- but the use of old film clips from past AIP epics (including "House of Usher," "Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Raven") does not have the resonance that "Targets"' employment of old clips from "The Terror" did. A prolonged sequence of Toombes appearing on Michael Parkinson's chat show is more dull than illuminating. "Madhouse" does at least offer Peter Cushing a decent role, after years of wasteful cameos in AIP's British productions, and a good one for Robert Quarry, who AIP was then grooming as a horror man for the 70s, as a shady producer. Director Jim Clark stages some very effective, atmospheric scenes of Dr. Death stalking the countryside, but it must be said that the identity of the killer is not a big shock to anyone paying attention. "Madhouse" was not widely released in the US and for years was something of an "unknown" Price movie, which makes its availability doubly attractive. It's no "Theatre of Blood," but it's fun."
Some of the best theater you'll ever see . . .
John Salonia Jr. | New Jersey | 09/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rejoice, Price fans, for THEATER OF BLOOD is finally available in a widescreen version. (It is paired with MADHOUSE, a lesser effort, although Price offers a marvelously snarly characterization of a has-been actor.)

THEATER OF BLOOD is an extraordinarily well-made film. It is beautifully paced, with never a dull or padded moment. It is imaginatively photographed and edited. To mention just two examples, using a theater spotlight to "iris in" to fade out a scene; and the use of deep-focus, slightly anamorphic lenses in certain scenes, lending them a subtly and effectively nightmarish distortion - notably in the tenement-murder of Michael Hordern, and in Price's suicide scene, when he speaks Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy to enormous effect, while the watching critics change from sneering mockery to unease and then fear as it slowly becomes clear that this is no empty theatrical gesture on the part of the spurned actor. (The marvelous score, alternately tender and menacing, reaches one of its most persuasive moments during this scene.) The odd foreground distortion and the unnatural crispness of the distant background caused by the deep-focus lens give these scenes a truly hair-raising feel and force.

The film abounds in subtle touches. My favorite is that Diana Rigg's character is a professional makeup artist - lending a nice plausibility to the various disguises she and Price assume during the course of the story. There's also a wonderful EC touch when an absent critic proves that his heart is truly with his friends.

Then there is the acting. Price and Rigg stand out in a brilliant cast. Their beautiful simplicity of delivery and lyrical intensity - their sheer believability - during Rigg's death scene makes me wish that these two actors could have essayed Lear and Cordelia in a full-fledged production.

Oftentimes Price has been characterized as a "ham" actor, or, at best, "flamboyant." I completely disagree. There is a difference between passionate intensity and hamminess, and Price knew well how to walk that tightrope. Although he adds his characteristic touch of sardonic wit to many of the scenes, he plays Lionheart with dead (and deadly) seriousness in key moments. I've already mentioned Edwina's moving death. Also savor Vincent's feverish, yet completely convincing "hate moment" at the climax of the dueling scene, when he grimly warns Ian Hendry, "I'll make you suffer as you've made me suffer." In moments like this, Price gloriously rose over the tongue-in-cheek approach and showed himself to be a true master of his craft, and one of the world's great actors. At such moments we can completely believe that Lionheart will stretch out his bloody and terrible revenge over years, and go to such elaborate lengths to achieve the downfall of his enemies. (I particularly love the pregnant pause Price drops before the final three words of Hamlet's speech, wittily turning them into a poignantly colloquial "So long, life!" as he leaps into the Thames.)

The script is nothing short of marvelous, giving Price a juicy assortment of Shakespearean moments and wittily twisting the Bard's lines into pure sardonicism, as when Lionheart refers to suffocating Robert Morley's character with dog-meat pies with a speech from ROMEO AND JULIET ("Oh thou detestable maw, crammed with the dearest morsel of the earth! Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, and in despite I'll cram thee with more food!" taken from the moment when Romeo breaks into Juliet's tomb to commit suicide therein).

Snap this one up; it's worth three times the Price. (Sorry; I couldn't resist.)