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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Blood Theatre (1984)




This is one of those movies that I found while browsing the stuff available online. I passed it over a couple of times but eventually noticed Mary Woronov was in it. She did a lot of artsy stuff but was also in some real gems back in the seventies and eighties. Which one of these would Blood Theater turn out to be? Well Crap…

The story kicks off with a play being put on in an old theater. We find out that this is their last performance as it is going to start showing movies instead of live entertainment. That combined with his lady friend canoodling with another man makes the owner loose his mind and set a fire that I think kills a bunch of people. I don’t know for sure because it doesn’t appear they had the budget to show us much more than a smoke machine running for a few seconds. Years later the theater is opened again, and hauntings/murders start.

This movie is a mess. There is kind of a story about reopening the theater and the new crew sent to accomplish this but there isn’t much to it. Instead we get a plot that keeps shifting away from the ghost story to at various times show us random cheerleaders, the owner of the theater chain that purchased the place getting mugged, some random movie bootlegging, and comedy bits from Mary Woronov. All of these things eventually connect to the main plot of the theater reopening but barely. For example, we get an extended bit with cheerleaders so they can show up and get killed offscreen. This destroys any chance at a decent story.

The cast is okay, but not great. They manage to deliver their lines without too much difficulty, though it feels uninspired and falls a bit flat. The exception to this is of course Mary Woronov. She chews some scenery, has a couple funny bits, and is the highlight of the proceedings. Though it looks like most of her role was shot in an office over the course of a day or two. The movie is much better when she is on screen, but sadly that isn’t much.

Ghost or Serial Killer? Either way lame.
There aren’t any special effects to speak of. The kills are tame, and all take place off screen. There is a bit with a typewriter that was fun but that is about it. Our killer may or may not be a ghost. I mean do ghosts age? Live or dead it is just a guy sneaking around. The killer is just not that interesting.

This is a bad movie. Cheaply made with little effort put into having a script that was worth shooting. The story is muddled and filled with detours that never allows the ghost story to get rolling. Hell, I’m not even sure this is a ghost story. The story never explains anything as it just sort of ends, though not soon enough. Even at seventy-five minutes Blood Theater felt painfully long. I can’t recommend this one and hope that everyone takes my advice and avoids it.


edit: I just discovered this is from the director of Hobgoblins. Suddenly it all makes sense.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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