Theatre of Blood [1973]

If your sense of humor is even moderately twisted, you'll savor this tasty course of well-cooked ham. Directed with delectable British wit by Douglas Hickox, the comedy is decidedly dark when Vincent Price--as effete has-been thespian Richard Lionheart--wreaks poetic justice upon the snobby critics who panned his performances and drove him to a failed attempt at suicide. Reciting his poor reviews and staging murders inspired by Shakespearean tragedies, the actor and his Dickensian coterie of accomplices (including Diane Rigg, sexy as ever) dispatch their victims with shocking ingenuity, and by the time Lionheart reenacts Titus Andronicus by gorging one dog-loving critic (the hilariously poofy Robert Morley) on toy-poodle stew, Theatre of Blood reaches giddy heights of outrageous vengeance. It's all in good fun, of course, and the film's esteemed British cast plays it to the hilt, none better than Price in one of his most entertaining roles. --Jeff Shannon

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