Saturday, October 13, 2012

MADHOUSE - THEATRE OF BLOOD - Vincent Price (1974-73)

Welcome to this very special Halloween Countdown Saturday night double feature comprised of two of the master of horror Vincent Price's 1970's films, "Madhouse" and "Theatre Of Blood!" There was a time when double features were as common as salt and pepper, but movies were a lot shorter back in those days! The music in "Madhouse" was written by Douglas (The Horror Of It All) Gamely, and the music in "Theatre Of Blood" was written by Michael J.(The Man Who Haunted Himself) Lewis! The voice you'll hear singing is none other than Vincent Price himself!!

Although Vincent Price is a true hero around here, and even though he does a great job in both these films, I have to say with all honesty, I didn't really have much appreciation for either of these movies, and all kidding aside, within 24 hours of watching these two movies, I ended up in the emergency room!

"Madhouse" was made in 1974, and "Theatre Of Blood" in 1973, and they have a lot of elements in common, and one of them is filler! "Madhouse" uses footage from old Vinnie movies like this shot of Basil Rathbone, and about 15% of "Theatre Of Blood" has Vincent Prices's character reciting passages from Shakespere! Sure, it's part of the plot, but it's still filler!

Both movies have an abundance of talent oozing out of them, like Peter Cushing in "Madhouse" and the fabulous Diana "The Avengers" Rigg in "Theatre OF Blood," and there's a lot of tongue in cheekiness like Peter Cushing at a costume party as Dracula, a role he was always the opposite of!

There's also more gobs of talent like Robert "Deathmaster, Count Yorga" Quarry and Diana "The English Marilyn Monroe, The Siren of Swindon, The Hurricane in Mink" Dors, but somehow, it's just not enough!!

In both movies somebody gets beheaded!

Vincent Price plays so many different characters, I'd have to take off my shoes to count them all!

Both films feature wildly insane and colourful characters!!

If these films weren't so full of gross and gory scenes, you would think they were written as comedies! It's really difficult to figure out where they're coming from! Like for instance, in "Madhouse," this woman is viciously hanged, but her reflection is continually in a funhouse mirror, and is "Theatre Of Blood" the only movie ever made that has a scene that includes fencing on trampolines? How insane can you get?

Just in case you don't know it already, Vincent Price loved to cook, wrote cookbooks, and was an avid art collector! The Vincent Price Art Museum is on the campus of the East Los Angeles College, one of the few community colleges in America with a permanent collection of fine art!! Vincent Price also shares a birthdate of May 27th with another one of the best horror actors of all time, Christopher Lee! Amazingly enough, Peter Cushing's birthday is the day before, on May 26th!

In the end, both films go up in flames! "Madhouse" and "Theatre Of Blood" are truly a double feature and are both available on one disc, and even though I didn't like them all that well, I still recommend them just because Vincent Price is always good and fun to watch, no matter how bad the movie is!


Douglas McEwan said...

Okay, (Deep breath) Theater of Blood is my #1 all-time favorite Vincent Price movie. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that movie! I have two DVDs of it, because well after buying it, I had to buy it again to get Madhouse (I like Madhouse very much, Vinnie is essentially playing a parody of himself in it, but it is several steps down from Theater of Blood.)

And the Shakespeare scenes in it are NOT filler! They are an essential part of the plot and the comedy. Because, "gross gory scenes" (Since when does this blog, of all places, get snippy about gross gore?) notwithstanding, it is a comedy. I remember seeing it the weekend it opened. The opening scene bewteen Michael Horden and his wife, when she starts spouting Calupernia's dream on the Ides of March had me laughing out loud in the theater before most of the audience had even caught on to what the joke was yet. (But then, I know my Shakespeare very well, having appeared in several of the Bard's plays. Oh, and my degree in Theater.)

Theater of Blood is a rich masterpiece. The reviewer for the Los Angeles Times the week it opened held a similar opinion as he stated flat-out that Price should get an Oscar nomination for it.

And then there's the backstage love story: Vincent Price met his third wife, Coral Browne, making that movie. Of course, he was still married to his second wife at the time, so the beginning of their affair was a bit of a scandal at the time. Must be the only time a man made a woman fall in love with him by electrocuting her while prancing about playing a broad gay sterotype.

It's every bit as great as The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Hey Doug,
I knew if I tried hard enough I could get you to leave a comment again, I just told Tabonga yesterday I wondered where you've been! My skyrocketing blood pressure, my three day stay in the hospital, and my own personal encounter with the grim reaper probably had something to do with my snippiness and ill-conceived review! At least they didn't rip my heart out completely!

TABONGA! said...

Rough week at The Dungeon, but, we always hang in there...

Dr. Theda said...

Dr Phibes is still my favorite... but i really love these two films also ...thanks for this Great Post...

Douglas McEwan said...

Thanks. Actually, my lack of postings was due in large part to my computer being on the fritz for the entire month of September. It's working fine again now, but getting back into old posting habits takes some doing. It is nice, as I returned to posting on some blogs, getting a few "We missed you. Where were you?" comments, and that they outnumber the "Oh Christ, is this hidous old troll back again? We'd hoped you'd died" comments.

BTW, you would proabably enjoy my own current blog posting, "Many Men Smoke...", on my "Tallulah Morehead" blog, as it details, richly illustrated, the history of movies about Dr. Fu Manchu, in honor of Fu Manchu's centenuary this year. The first Fu Manchu story, a short story called The Zayat Kiss, was first published in 1912. It later became the first third of the first Fu novel, The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu which came out in 1913. There's no Fu like an old Fu.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm still in mourning for Turhan Bey.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Thanx Doc!!

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

As for you little Dougie, I grokked your Fu Manchu article, and I highly recommend it to anybody reading this! Very Impressive, glad I had a week off to read it! I must also say I don't mind being criticized by an old troll as literate as yourself!

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