The bard meets the boogeyman

Suspense silenced the dark room as the man on-screen slowly reached for the box.

Inside: a fresh human heart. 

In it’s first community event of the school year, Shakesfear!, Emerson Shakespeare Society hosted a screening of the 1973 horror film Theatre of Blood on Saturday, Oct. 26. Room 233 of the Walker Building served as the intimate setting to watch the gruesome, yet humorous, film of revenge, best served Shakespearian-style.

Paul McGlew, a junior performing arts major and the director of programming of Emerson Shakespeare Society, described Shakesfear! as the organization’s first step towards greater community outreach.

“We have the mission statement of delivering classical texts to our company members and to those on campus,” he said. “We feel that by putting a creepy twist with this movie we are serving the holiday, as well.”

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Edward Lionheart, played by Vincent Price, believes himself to be the greatest Shakespearean actor of his time. Upon losing the Critic’s Circle Award for Best Actor and realizing that critics have been making fun of him his entire career, Lionheart attempts suicide by falling hundreds of feet into a river. He survives, however, and vows to kill each critic who “deliberately withheld” the accolades he felt he deserved.

The different ways in which the critics are murdered are inspired by the deaths of characters in the Shakespearean performances of Lionheart’s final season.

The first critic is butchered to death by a mob of drunks (Julius Caesar); the next is stabbed and then dragged by a galloping horse (Troilus and Cressida). Another murder involves the decapitation of a critic as his wife sleeps soundly next to him (Cymbeline).

Lionheart is at the heart of each murder, reciting lines from the play which the slaying was inspired.

Freshman  performing arts major Carrie Shannon said she enjoyed the screening, noting the nostalgic feeling of the film.

“The cheesy ‘70s humor reminded me a lot of movies my dad likes,” said Shannon. “I can imagine the movie being scary when it first came out, but now it’s fun to just laugh at it.”

Guests enjoyed complimentary donuts and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, plus different varieties of chips. Homemade pumpkin pie was also served, adding to the seasonal atmosphere of the event.

Nicky Maggio, a senior performing arts major and vice president of Emerson Shakespeare Society, said the Emerson community has more to see from the organization in the future.

“We are very excited to have more outreach programs, starting off with more film screenings and more readings,” he said.  

The next event sponsored by ESS is a screening of Christopher Plummer’s The Tempest on Nov. 10 in the Tufte Performance and Production Center.