Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Blood Theatre (1984)

I wasn’t alarmed when I saw that Blood Theatre was written and directed by Rick Sloane. I wasn’t all that alarmed to see that he had also produced it. Then I saw that he was the main editor. And he did the score. And some of the visual effects. Uh oh. There may be a number of other people involved, but this is very much a Rick Sloane production.

The plot, and I am using that term in the loosest possible sense, revolves around a theatre that was once burnt down by a betrayed lover. When I say “burnt down”, however, I actually mean that it was filled with smoke and then sat empty for some time. A cinema chain buys the theatre, sending staff there to prepare it for business, and more smoke starts to appear, as well as a killer spirit.

First of all, you have to go into Blood Theatre knowing that it isn’t a straight horror. It is attempting to be a horror comedy. The comedy may not really work, but some moments come closer than others (and I did like the exasperated attitude of the cinema employees who feel harried when they have to deal with one or two customers). 

Second, you have to go into Blood Theatre knowing that it was made with what appears to be a budget so low that I would be surprised if they could even afford enough film for any second takes, which would explain a lot.

Third, and this is just an assumption, nobody onscreen here managed to use this as a starting point for a long and varied filmography. There’s a small role for Mary Woronov (an actress recognisable to genre fans), but nobody else was selected for their acting prowess. Joanna Morales, billed as Joanna Foxx, seems to have been cast for her lack of inhibition. And this is an approach that worked fairly well for Sloane in his later movies (particularly the Vice Academy movies).

If you can put up with the sheer ineptitude on display, you also get some disappointingly tame kills, some gratuitous nudity, an enjoyably daffy snippets of the films being screened in the cinema (one titled “Clown Whores Of Hollywood” - wow), an amusing turn from Rob-Roy Fletcher as Dean Murdock, the employer hoping to make a success of the new cinema purchase, and numerous bizarre audio cues, or lack thereof, that show the fast and loose approach to any actual film-making technique. There are also some cheerleaders, just to randomly . . . add some cheerleaders into the mix.

Terrible, but surprisingly entertaining. 


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