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Film / Theatre of Death

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Theatre of Death (also known as Blood Fiend) is a 1967 British horror movie directed by Samuel Gallu and starring Christopher Lee, Leila Goldoni and Julian Glover.

The Theatre of Death in Paris specializes in horror presentations. A police surgeon finds himself becoming involved in the place through his attraction to one of the performers. When bloodless bodies start showing up all over town, he realizes there could be links with the theatre.

Theatre of Blood contains examples of:

  • Belly Dancer: The cut to the party in Davras' home opens with a close up of the navel of a belly dancer who is performing.
  • Blood Lust: Both Charles and Dr. Schiller believe that the killer suffers from a compulsion, either physical or psychological, to drink blood. They are proved correct.
  • Bookcase Passage: A passage concealed behind a bookcase in Davras' library leads to his secret lair in the attic.
  • Book Safe: The killer keeps a knife hidden in a hollow ledger in Davras' library.
  • Burn the Witch!: One of the sketches in the theatre involves Dani being burnt at the stake as a witch. For a moment, it looks as is Nicole is intending to burn her for real.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Trap Door in the stage which is used in the voodoo sketch plays a vital rule in the story's resolution.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: The killer conceals their identity by wearing a black cloak, fedora and scarf.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Charles happens to frequent a restaurant run by a pair of Rumanians who were part of the same refugee caravan after World War II that included the infant Nicole.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The fifth victim of the killer is a streetwalker, lured into an alley by throwing coins at her feet.
  • Disposable Vagrant: The fourth victim of the killer, and the first murder shown on screen, is a drunken tramp murdered under a bridge in Paris.
  • From Dress to Dressing: After having his palm sliced by the killer, Charles hurriedly wraps his handkerchief around his hand as a makeshift bandage.
  • Hypno Pendulum: Davras hypnotizes Nicole by reflecting light off his ring and moving it slowly back and forth across her eyes.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: A couple on a romantic outing in a boat discover a body floating in the river. Needless to say, this shatters the mood.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: Davras has a secret passage that allows him to look out through the eyes of his own portrait and study his guests in the library.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The killer hypnotizes Dani into writing a suicide note confessing to the murders and then into committing suicide. When she attempts the actual act, she faints.
  • Red Herring: All of the discussion about the mysterious disappearance of Davras' father. The father turns out to have nothing to do with the case.
  • Right-Hand Cat: The cruel and demanding director Philippe Darvas only shows affection towards his pet Siamese cat Seraphina.
  • Stocking Filler: The Disposable Sex Worker is wearing fishnets and a very tight skirt.
  • Tarot Troubles: Colette does a reading for Nicole at Davras' party. The first three cards are fairly standard, but the last two are The Tower (or The Lightning Struck Tower as Colette calls it) and Death. Colette interprets these as meaning violence and death.
  • Trap Door: The stage in the theatre has a trap door that is used to take a spear thrust during the voodoo sketch to make it look as if the actress has been stabbed.