Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


TOWER OF EVIL (aka Horror on Snape Island aka Beyond the Fog /1972). Writer/director: Jim O'Connolly.

In a creepy, gruesome, and effective prologue, Hamp Gurney (Jack Watson) and his father (George Coulouris) discover several mutilated corpses in and around the lighthouse on the fog-enshrouded Snape Island. When the father is inadvertently killed by a panicking survivor, Hamp takes a party of archaeologists -- and a man investigating the murders -- back to the island. The archaeologists believe that a Phoenician trading ship landed on the island and left behind a treasure. It isn't long before more corpses start turning up, as someone unseen lashes out at members of the party. Tower of Evil has some suspense and a few tense moments, but all the marital infighting and infidelity between the couples on the expedition adds little to the picture, and despite some good moments the ultimate effect is rather unsatisfying. Has certain elements of the stalk-and-slash films that would come in a few short years, although it has a more involved plot and somewhat more dimensional characters. A mostly unimpressive cast.

NOTE: This was based on a novel by Brooklyn-born George Baxt, who created the first gay detective way back in 1966 and years later wrote a series of celebrity-oriented mysteries such as The Bette Davis Murder Case. He also wrote scripts for other British horror films.

Verdict: Severed heads tumbling down the stairs and all that can only do so much. **1/2.

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