Ian Hendry

Theatre of Blood [DVD] (1973)

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Arrow Films has just released Theatre of Blood on Blu-ray, part of a major series of restored Vincent Price films of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The new release appealed to me, in particular because it has an audio commentary from The League of Gentlemen (Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith) that has been getting rapturous reviews from everyone who has heard it; but my enthusiasm was held in check by memories of not actually being too partial to the film when I saw it for the first and only time, around a decade ago. But maybe my sensibilities had grown and developed since then?

I dug out a copy of the old 2002 DVD that I still had, and rewatched the film to see how I took to it second time around. And the truth is, my feelings hadn’t much changed at all: this is still a film I struggle to see the enthusiastic appeal of.

The story involves ageing Shakespearian actor Edward Lionheart deciding to kill the theatre critics who have given him bad reviews and mocked him down the years; he does so in methods suggested by the various plays that he’s performed in, with the first victim stabbed to death by a mob on the Ides of March. In that sense it’s well ahead of its time and a very modern concept – this would absolutely work as an episode of Criminal Minds or remade as a B-movie in the modern serial killer vernacular. Read the rest of this entry »

Thriller (1973-76): Screamer, Killer With Two Faces, A Killer In Every Corner, Where The Action Is, If It’s A Man – Hang Up, The Double Kill, Won’t Write Home Mom – I’m Dead, The Crazy Kill

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Regular readers of this blog will have noticed a strangely under-active April in terms of new reviews. Partly that was because most of the things that I was watching tended to be the tail end of series that I’ve already written about previously and that therefore didn’t need to be covered again any time soon. And another factor was that most of my DVD viewing seemed to be spent consuming additional episodes of the 1970s anthology series Thriller, which I had also already written about previously.

However, since each of the Thriller stories is entirely stand-alone and completely different in tone and content, it’s almost like each one is a separate short film and therefore worth a quick review in its own right. Here, then, are eight more reviews of entries from the Thriller canon: please note, while I don’t go all-out to detail the plot in each case, inevitably it’s necessary to say some things about the episode that give away some spoilers even when done semi-obliquely. If you’re going to watch the series any time soon, I recommend you avert your eyes … Read the rest of this entry »