Written by George Baxt and Jim O'Connolly
Rated R for bloody violence and lots of nudity.
"Tower of Evil" is part of a British Horror 4-Film Box Set I recently purchased. Other films in the set include "Curse of the Voodoo", "Horror Hospital", and "Inseminoid" (review still to come).
I've read a few other reviews of "Tower of Evil" while looking for good screenshots, and found a wide divergence of reactions to the film. People either love it or hate it. I fell somewhere in between. I feel like there are some promising elements in "Tower of Evil" that were never fully fleshed out. Perhaps it's due for a re-make?
"Tower of Evil" is what John Carpenter's "The Fog" would have been if it had been made by pervy British hippies on a shoestring budget. During the opening credits, the "helicopter shot" of a lighthouse is clearly just a camera tracking around a shoddily-constructed model of a lighthouse. I'm not against using models, but if you're going to try and con a theater-full of people into believing your model is a real building, it had better be a damned good model.
Through the fog, we see two fishermen sailing towards the lighthouse. They have a brief, cryptic conversation about how they need to do something about the island, and it's long overdue. Upon arriving, they are shocked to find a nude male body lying facedown in a puddle being fed on by carrion crab. They proceed to the main building and discover a man in a butterfly shirt impaled on the wall with a large, golden scepter of some sort. You may recognize this actor (Robin Askwith) as Jason Jones from "Horror Hospital".
Meanwhile, an expedition to the island has been mounted by some archeological folks who are looking for a hidden Phoenecian treasure trove. They believe the golden scepter that they found is one of many treasures buried in a tomb somewhere on the island. A private detective, Evan Brent (played by Bryant Haliday of "Curse of the Voodoo" and "Devil Doll") accompanies them to find out who was responsible for the killings.
Bryant Haliday as "The Great Vorelli" in "Devil Doll" (1964).Now Bryant is normally a pretty good b-movie actor. The previous movies I'd seen of his were both black and white, and I was saddened to see that he didn't transition to color very gracefully. His face, which is pock-marked and blotchy, looked great in black and white. In color, Haliday looks like an overcooked sausage. His role in this movie is too small to really offer much opportunity to amaze us with his acting skills. For Haliday at his strongest and most intense, check out "Devil Doll".
And so the stage is set for what can only be a very silly finale. I won't give away too much about the ending, but the film stays fairly true to the classic slasher film formula. What it lacks in coherence and quality writing, "Tower of Evil" makes up in bloody horror and gratuitous nudity.
The Satanic Rites of Dracula" or "Horror Hospital" instead. If you're a brit-horror nut, it may be time to take your own trip to the "Tower of Evil".
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