“They’re not going to start killing critics for giving bad notices, are they?”
With assistance from his loyal daughter (Diana Rigg), a vengeful actor (Vincent Price) systematically murders each of his critics while a hapless detective (Milo O’Shea) attempts to stay ahead of each Shakespearean-inspired crime.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Actors and Actresses
- Black Comedy
- Diana Rigg Films
- Harry Andrews Films
- Jack Hawkins Films
- Serial Killers
- Vincent Price Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “in what must have been his dream role, Vincent Price hit his horror-movie peak as Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor who is as hammy as Price himself”. He argues that while “some of the death scenes are a bit too gory” (I disagree; Shakespeare wrote some undeniably gory sequences!), “this is a suspenseful, witty, flamboyantly stylish film” with an “excellent all-star cast” — and “viewers should have as much fun as Price seems to be having”. Peary points out that the “writing by Anthony Greville-Bell and direction by Douglas Hickox” (who helmed Entertaining Mr. Sloane a few years earlier) “are imaginative”, and notes that “Diana Rigg makes one of her rare screen appearances as Price’s daughter, who isn’t as sweet as she appears to be.” There are many layers of satisfaction in this darkly comedic thriller: watching Price wreak skillful revenge on all who refused to name him best stage actor of the year; waiting to see how the next murder will faithfully (albeit with a twist) enact a Shakespearean scene; witnessing both Price and Rigg’s delightful array of disguises and costumes (none of which the snobbish critics ever cotton onto). This companion piece to The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) is well worth a visit, and likely return viewings as well.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Vincent Price in numerous “roles”
- Diana Rigg as Edwina
- Many effectively gruesome sequences
- Atmospheric sets and cinematography
Yes, as a most enjoyable suspense film, and for Price’s stand-out performance(s).