[[quoteright:325:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Theatreofbloodposter_8841.jpg]]
A 1973 [[SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror comedic horror]] film starring VincentPrice, regarded as one of his personal favorites. Also stars [[Series/TheAvengers Diana Rigg]].

Years prior to the start of the film, Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) was one of the [[GiftedlyBad self-styled stars of the Shakespearean stage]], decidedly unloved by the critics of various papers. His performances in his final year, though playing to packed theatres, were panned at each and every opportunity, until finally they unanimously gave the Critics' Award to a new, uprising actor. This pushed Lionheart to the depths of despair, and in a singular act, he [[DrivenToSuicide ended it all,]] jumping off a building while clutching the award which he felt was rightfully his.

The film opens with one of these critics being informed that a number of vagrants have begun squatting on a condemned building of his. Despite being warned by his wife that she had a dream of a pack of lions descending upon him, and the horoscope (for March 15th) claiming that it wasn't a good idea to be incautious, he runs off to the building, where he's confronted by the same vagrants who he was about to forcibly remove - and [[Theatre/JuliusCaesar stabbed twenty two times,]] while the [[EtTuBrute local constabulary looks on.]]

The perpetrator, of course, is Lionheart, who - having [[BungledSuicide survived his suicide attempt]], thanks to a kindly bunch of methanol-drinking homeless chaps - has decided to revisit his last run in the theater... and provide a very ''special'' command performance for each of the critics in turn.

In 2005, a stage adaptation was produced in London by the British company ''Improbable'', starring Jim Broadbent as Lionheart and Rachel Stirling (Diana Rigg's daughter) as Edwina (renamed Miranda).

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!! ''Theatre of Blood'' contains examples of:

* TheAlcoholic: Larding.
* AlienLunch / ExoticEntree: One critic is [[ForceFeeding forcibly fed]] his beloved poodles, mimicking a scene from ''Theatre/TitusAndronicus''.
* AssholeVictim: Each one of the critics, except Devlin (who might be an Asshole Survivor depending on what you think of his reaction to Lionheart's death).
* BlackComedy
* BloodyHilarious: The decapitation scene.
* BondOneLiner:
** Two from Lionheart: "I wonder if he'll travel well" (after sealing a man in a barrel of wine) and "Pity; he just didn't have the stomach for it" (after choking a man to death with a poodle meat pie).
** One from Devlin: "He was madly overacting as usual, but you must admit he did know how to make an exit."
* CampGay:
** Meredith Merridew.
** Lionheart disguises himself a campy ChattyHairdresser for one of the murders.
* ChattyHairdresser: A CampGay version with an [[FunnyAfro afro hairstyle]] to boot, which is then used to {{Squick}} the attending policeman away from his charge.
* ClimbingClimax
* CrazyHomelessPeople: Lionheart's minions.
* CrazyJealousGuy: One critic is quite easily manipulated into re-enacting the murder scene from ''Othello''.
* DeathByIrony: ''Each and every one'' of the critics.
* [[spoiler: DisneyVillainDeath: Combined with ManOnFire.]]
* TheDragon: The 'Stage Manager'.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome:
--> '''Devlin''': He was madly overacting as usual, but you must admit he did know how to make an exit.
* ElectricTorture: To death, mimicing Joan of Arc's elimination in ''Henry VI, Part I''.
* EyeScream: Devlin is threatened with this.
* FateWorseThanDeath: The aforementioned CrazyJealousGuy goes to jail 'til the end of his days, having killed his wife. (It's implied, though, that his age and health won't let him survive prison for long.[[note]]In a particularly sad example of RealitySubtext, Jack Hawkins, who played the character, died about three months after the film's initial release.[[/note]])
* {{Flynning}}: The SwordFight, lovingly stolen from ''RomeoAndJuliet'', which contains trampolines and a balance bar [[RuleOfCool just for the hell of it.]]
* ForceFeeding: Mr Merridew is forcibly fed until he dies of suffocation. [[EatTheDog With pieces of his beloved poodles.]]
* GiftedlyBad: As part of Lionheart's LargeHam status... but he knows his Shakespeare, and ''did'' know how to make an exit...
* GoryDiscretionShot: The part where a heart is cut out is very carefully blocked by the head of one of the vagrants; the decapitation scene does this, too.
* HaveAGayOldTime: Used for a joke in one of the murders. Lionheart commits the Henry VI inspired murder (specifically, based off the death of Joan of Arc) in his CampGay hair dresser disguise:
-->"Spare for no fagots, let there be enough..."
* HeroAntagonist: Devlin and the police.
* HollywoodPoliceDrivingAcademy: The police think they see Lionheart driving by, and immediately scramble into a traffic jam reminiscent of the Keystone Kops.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Snipe's fate.
* {{Jerkass}}: Each and every one of the critics, who mock Lionheart and his daughter whilst they are in the room, proceed to mock Lionheart's death, and really don't seem to care much for each other. When the first critic is murdered, one of them remarks that they've finally a headline, not a byline. Even Devlin, largely the OnlySaneMan of the critics, refuses to admit to Lionheart's genius when his life depends on it, and openly mocks Lionheart when he [[spoiler: dies for real]].
* LargeHam: Oh, ''yes''. One can tell that Price had far too much fun throughout the movie. One critic describes one of Lionheart's performances as [[LampshadeHanging putting him in mind of a ham sandwich.]] (And Lionheart's reaction to that line is just ''precious''.)
* LiteralMetaphor: "I am sorry to miss the meeting, but my heart is with you."
* [[MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter Mad Actor's Beautiful Daughter]]: Edwina Lionheart [[spoiler: who's really DaddysLittleVillain and is basically TheDragon to her father]].
* MasterOfDisguise: Lionheart and the Stage Manager.
* MeaningfulName: True for several characters:
** Dickman is a lech
** Snipe is a CausticCritic
** Larding likes a consumable (although he's a drunk rather than the glutton suggested by the name).
** Devlin is a subversion. While his name implies an evil, LouisCypher type, he's a fairly decent guy.
* MissingMom: Nothing is said about Edwina's mother.
* MrMuffykins: A pair of the little buggers belong to Meredith Merridew, though they're at least not too yappy. They meet a suitably awful end.
* NotNowKiddo: "Hey, just go about your normal life, and leave the rest to us."
* OffscreenCrash: A cop hiding in the trunk of a car in an attempt to follow Lionheart ends up parked on train tracks. We hear him over the walkie-talkie to the other cops:
-->"I can hear a train whistle... ''(rumbling sound)'' I can definitely identify it as a train... ''(sound grows louder)'' T-R-A... '''KERRRR-UNNCH.'''
* OffWithHisHead
* TheOphelia: ''Sort'' of, in that Lionheart's daughter is pretty scarred from the supposed death of her father. [[spoiler: Or, at least, appears to be.]]
* PoeticSerialKiller
* ShoutoutToShakespeare: Every death is staged to re-enact a famous play by the Bard. It helps (or hurts) that Lionheart desired to be known as a Shakespearean actor.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Lionheart. Not exactly a ''small name'' though.
* SoundtrackDissonance: A lovely, calming theme plays while Lionheart and his main flunky surgically remove one critic's head.
* StealthPun: Inspector Boot notes that one of the murders in ''Titus Andronicus'' involves "an old queen" being forced to eat her children baked in a pie. When Lionheart re-enacts this scene, he chooses the CampGay Merridew for his victim.
* StrawCritic: The critics are generally this, although their reviews of Lionheart appear to have been pretty accurate.
** The film implies that Lionheart might be CriticProof, as his theatrical productions generally draw audiences (he doesn't seem SoBadItsGood).
* SunglassesAtNight: The 'Stage Manager'.
* [[spoiler: SweetPollyOliver: Lionheart's lead henchman with the hippy glasses, afro, and beard is actually his daughter Edwina in disguise.]]
* TemptingFate: "Oh, there's only three of us left, surely the might of the British police force can protect us all."
* TooDumbToLive: Despite knowing that there's a murderer out there who's following Lionheart's last season on stage, one decides to go into a wine tasting, asking the officer to wait outside. It gets even more foolish from there.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: The hairdos and fashions make this movie so '70s it hurts.
* VillainProtagonist: Lionheart.
* WickedCultured: Lionheart, of course.
* WigDressAccent: The most obvious, hippy-esque flunky (the 'Stage Manager') manages to disguise himself as a hairdresser, a wine tasting host, a masseur, a policeman; Lionheart does even ''more''.
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