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Theater of Blood & Madhouse [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Vincent Price , Diana Rigg , Douglas Hickox , Jim Clark    DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Peter Cushing, Ian Hendry, Harry Andrews
  • Directors: Douglas Hickox, Jim Clark
  • Writers: Angus Hall, Anthony Greville-Bell, Greg Morrison, John Kohn, Ken Levison
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Feb 2005
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007R4T2Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,535 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you ever had 'Poodle Pie'...!?? 12 Mar 2010
Several tales of woe, torture and black comedy in this 'Horror' classic from 1973!

How they ever got all these big names into this kind of movie I will never know... Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry, Jack Hawkins, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Robert Morley, Dennis Price, Eric Sykes, Diana Dors and Joan Hickson - to name just some of them!

Vincent Price is probably the only name not out of place here - comfortable in his genre he depicts an actor who cannot play Shakespeare to save his life... He's lousy at it and is slated accordingly with acid remarks from a circle of famous Critics, and so he's out for blood - literally! A few of the more entertaining (and ever so black amusing tales) are those played out by Robert Morley, Arthur Lowe, Coral Browne and Diana Dors.

Also stars a very handsome and virile-looking Harry Andrews!

I can only think in order get such big names in this type of movie, must have meant that everyone who was anyone on screen back then wasn't anyone, unless they had been seen in a British Horror! Anyway, it worked marvellously with great results, and has become a 'classic' of the genre!

Not to be missed!

Have you ever had 'Poodle Pie'...!??
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2.0 out of 5 stars Madhouse Does Not Work At All. 25 April 2013
This is a review just for Madhouse.
Madhouse pitches Vincent Price and Peter Cushing for the first time on screen.

But it's a messy affair. Cushing seems disinterested and he only really plays a cameo role here.
Price is as always excellent, although seems to ham it up too much.

It's horror but spoof- and this whole project feels like a homage to Price's career. OK so give us a doc not a movie.

It's tiresome and gets worse by cardboard characters that are suddenly introduced but nothing prepares you for Michael 'look at me' Parkinsons appearance.

I love these type of films, I love Price and Cushing, but this one is best left alone.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another terrific Midnite Movies twofer 6 Oct 2007
Verified Purchase
Vincent Price was on a roll in the early 1970s making a string of good British horror movies (see the Dr Phibes diptych).

In Theatre of Blood he's a ham Shakespearian actor back from the dead to wreak revenge Shakespearian style on a bunch of critics who snubbed him by giving a coveted award to someone else. Aided by a bunch of winos and his daughter, the young Diana Rigg, Price delights in sending up pompous Shakespearian actors by delivering speeches from various plays while murdering his critics (including his real-life wife to be Coral Browne). The supporting cast of top-notch British character actors could do with better lines and are very much overshadowed by Price clearly relishing his role in this deeply black horror comedy.

Madhouse isn't as good, though it isn't bad at all either, and Price plays the victim this time as a mentally fragile actor being framed for gory murders committed by his screen alter ego Dr Death. Extracts from his Roger Corman movies, among others, are edited into 'clips' from his supposed Dr Death movies. The villain is obvious but there's a nice conclusion.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Madhouse again Vincent imitating life? 28 Feb 2008
I have already reviewed the magnificent theatre of blood so I just want to talk about madhouse. Madhouse is an odd thriller first of all there is nothing slightly supernatural about this film it is a thriller with horror actors about a horror actor.
Price is the horror actor Cushing is his co creator and writer. Price has a nervous breakdown after compelting his latest film as dr death and finding his beautiful young wife missing a head. When he recovers he has an opportunity to play Dr Death again when all of a sudden the killings start again is it Dr Death or is someone tring to drive Vincent nuts. Decent horror film with good performances from price and cushing
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 More Vincent Classics For The Price of 1! 9 April 2005
By Daniel Kepley - Published on
I remember seeing THEATRE OF BLOOD back in 1992 on Halloween of all days. I saw the second half of it and it pretty much disturbed me and haunted my nightmares. But last night I bought this new DVD (with MADHOUSE on the other side) and watched it. And now I find it to be alternately shocking and side-splittingly funny! As for MADHOUSE, I only saw half of it but so far I am impressed.

THEATRE OF BLOOD is the ultimate wish-fulfillment movie for anybody in the movie industry or theatre that has ever had scathing reviews levied against them. Edward Lionheart is a Shakespearian actor who employs death scenes from the Bard in his vengeance against nine critics who have been really harsh on him to say the least. This movie is DR. PHIBES with a theatrical element in lieu of the Biblical plague thing, but on its own, it's very good. The highlight is the salon electricution, especially seeing Price disguised as Butch! The great music score is a precursor to what Pino Donaggio would do for Brian DePalma! And there's a great punchline!

MADHOUSE has Price as a horror movie actor doing a TV movie and getting stuck in the middle of a killing spree. Plus, there's Count Yorga as a producer and Peter Cushing as a director! A reunion from DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN! The murders are inventive and predate FRIDAY THE 13TH and its ilk. And another great music score punctuates the prodeedings. This is what makes Best Buy so awesome (and makes me happy that it finally came to Dover); they work with MGM to provide double the pleasure in horror movies!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grossly under rated Price vehicle! 10 April 2005
By Wayne Klein - Published on
Ahh, Vincent Price the world would have been boring without his droll delivery. Without wearing any make up, Price became a horror icon in the 60's and 70's while appearing in "The Tingler", "The Last Man on Earth", "The Mask of the Red Death" and the "Dr Phibes" films. "Theater of Blood" the first film in this twofer from MGM is one of Price's finest 70's horror films. Price plays Lionheart a Shakespearean actor denied a major critics award out of spite who commits suicide. Or did he? Two years later on the anniversary of Lionheart's death the critics that snubbed him begin to die like the characters from the plays that Lionheart was performing prior to his death. Featuring British vets Jack Hawkins, Arthur Lowe and the lovely Diana Rigg as Lionheart's daughter, "Theater of Blood" ranks up there with the witty "Dr. Phibes" films one of Price's later films.

One of the finest moments is a fencing scene where the two opponents face off on the floor, on a trampoline and various gym equipment. It's quite well staged and entertaining.

"Madhouse" the flipside of this twofer is a lesser film but features a stellar cast. The predictable plot focuses on an actor Paul Toombes (Price again naturally) who returns to acting after suffering a nervous breakdown as a result of his the murder of his fiance. Twelve years have passed and now Toombes returns to acting only to find that those around him are now being murdered! Toombes wonders if he is the cause of it all or if someone is out to incriminate him. The marvelous cast of Price, Peter Cushing ("Horror of Dracula", "Curse of Frankenstein", "Star Wars", "She") Robert Quarry ("Count Yorga Vampire", "Dr. Phibes Rises Again")makes the film memorable. Director James Clark (editor of "Vera Drake", "Copycat", "The World is Not Enough")does a stylish job with the predictable screenplay by Ken Levison and Greg Morrison. It's a blast to see Cushing, Price and Quarry together (along with archieval footage of Boris Karloff). A pity there was no way to fit Christopher Lee into the mix (he was busy shooting "The Man with the Golden Gun" and "The Wicker Man").

As usual the transfer look pretty good given the age of the negatives although "Theater of Blood" looks a bit washed out. Then again, it's always looked like that as long as I can remember. A pity that Clark wasn't asked to do a commentary track. It's one of only three or four movies he directed. The late Hickox who directed "Theater of Blood" primarily directed mini-series for TV after the film. The first film deserves a strong four stars while "Madhouse" deserves 2 1/2 for effort and performances. Theatrical trailers for both films are included.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twice the Price for one low... oh you get the joke... 11 Jun 2009
By S. M. Robare - Published on
I personally love the MGM Midnite Movie imprint for some great to not so great horror and cult offerings from the 60s and 70s. In particular the Vincent Price two packs are wonderful, especially for a 30-something like myself who has just fallen for Mr. Price and can't wait to make it through a good chunk of his flicks. The discs are affordable and the quality is great, what more can you really ask for? As for the two movies in this set...

Madhouse is basically a horror infused send up of Price's own film career. He plays an actor named Paul Tombs who is best know for staring in a series of gruesome horror flicks all surrounding the character Dr. Death. At the height of his career as the gruesome doctor, Tombs finally decided to settle down and marry one of his leading ladies, the announcement of which he made at a gala New Years party with all of his friends and colleagues. Unfortunately not everyone is so happy with his impending nuptials and ends up killing his bride to be (beheading her in fact), though the question is raised, did Tombs kill her himself. After a lengthy hiatus from film making (not to mention a stay in an asylum) Tombs decides to re-embark on his film career at the behest of his best friend and co-creator of Dr. Death Herbert Flay (played by the ever awesome Peter Cushing.) Of course, straight away the bodies start piling up again, as do the questions as to who is killing all of these people.

At then end of the day I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the film, but it really suffered from an almost incomprehensible climax and resolution. It didn't help that the film was filled with plot holes and some questionable directing (way too many red herrings, a fact that is actually celebrated in the final act with an actual dish of red herring.) Price and Cushing do their best with what they have, even though their effort barely rescues this film from complete disaster. At a time when the modern horror landscape was drastically changing, and surrounded by the likes of Black Christmas, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, and Last House on the left, flicks like Madhouse with their questionable effects work (many obviously rubber spiders abound) and poorly written scripts just a little past their day.

Theatre of Blood on the other hand takes a nice cue from the Dr. Phibes movies in both it's overall plot structure and tone, though it feels more in tune with the turning tide of the realistic horror output of the day (whereas the Phibes films feel more like his Corman Poe work from earlier, more theatrical.)

Price plays Richard Lionheart, a dedicated Shakespearean thespian who decides to extract revenge against the critics who had slammed his beloved performances time and time again.

Overall this is a nice selection that showcases Price at his best and worst towards the end of his career. This double bill is also available in a nice set put out by by MGM a year or so ago called the Vincent Price: MGM Scream Legends Collection (The Abominable Dr. Phibes / Tales of Terror / Theater of Blood / Madhouse / Witchfinder General / Dr. Phibes Rises Again / Twice Told Tales).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price's magnum opus plus one 30 Dec 2006
By M2 - Published on
If "Theatre of Blood" were the only film on this DVD it would still be worth the price. Make that the Price. Made more than a decade before the legendary actor's graceful last act, which began with "The Whales of August" and culminated in "Edward Scissorhands," this was by far Vincent Price's best film. Playing the demented (and supposedly dead) dreadful classical actor Edward Lionheart, Price gets a chance to strut his stuff like never before in a host of Shakespearean snippets (and his Shylock and Richard III are gems). In addition, he gets to gruesomely murder the critics who have assailed him over the years -- dead critics...what's not to love? Even more fun is the fact that the smarmy critics are played by a host of some of the best supporting actors Britain then had to offer.

"Madhouse," made only a year later, doesn't exactly try to copy the format of "Theatre of Blood," but it has certain elements of it in its story of horror film actor Paul Toombes (Price) who may or may not delve too deeply into his signature character "Dr. Death" and kill young women. "Madhouse" is basically a murder mystery disguised as a horror film, and not a bad one, but it suffers from a few too many ingredients. The character of Dr. Death (Price in rather simple, but very effective skull-face makeup) is clearly patterned after "Dr. Phibes," the two-film series that had been hugely successful a few years earlier, while Paul Toombes (who is nothing like the character from the source novel, "Devilday," by Angus Hall) is slightly reminiscent of the character Jon Pertwee played in "The House That Dripped Blood" -- a role for which Price had been sought. In structure, the film is also a bit reminiscent of the 1969 oddball film "Scream and Scream Again," which involed a serial killer stalking young girls in London, and there is a very peculiar subplot with Adrienne Corri as a burn-scarred and crazy former actress hiding in Peter Cushing's cellar, which seems like something out of a mid-1960s Italian horror film. It's quite a stew. Where the picture really drops the ball, though, is as a conscious effort to do for Price what Peter Bogdanovich's "Targets" did for Boris Karloff: present him with a canny career summation role in which he more or less plays himself. Price does more or less play himself -- an affable, good natured man who has managed to retain his professional integrity even after years of questionable films, which he gamely continues to make even as he believes himself to be unfairly exploited -- but the use of old film clips from past AIP epics (including "House of Usher," "Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Raven") does not have the resonance that "Targets"' employment of old clips from "The Terror" did. A prolonged sequence of Toombes appearing on Michael Parkinson's chat show is more dull than illuminating. "Madhouse" does at least offer Peter Cushing a decent role, after years of wasteful cameos in AIP's British productions, and a good one for Robert Quarry, who AIP was then grooming as a horror man for the 70s, as a shady producer. Director Jim Clark stages some very effective, atmospheric scenes of Dr. Death stalking the countryside, but it must be said that the identity of the killer is not a big shock to anyone paying attention. "Madhouse" was not widely released in the US and for years was something of an "unknown" Price movie, which makes its availability doubly attractive. It's no "Theatre of Blood," but it's fun.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madhouse is Funhouse! 1 Nov 2007
By Bela - Published on
Madhouse is one of Vincent Price's forgotten
films. I think it's one of his best and a true
horror classic. Well written and directed and
has Peter Cushing playing his writing partner
for Dr.Death series as well as his friend who
brings him out of retirement after his fiance
is murdered years ago. Everyone suspects Price
and when the murders start again the finger
points to him but a surprise ending makes this
a winner. Also Theatre of Blood is a Price film
that very good and very well done.
These are both must have Price films.
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