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Author Topic: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)  (Read 18218 times)

ecc

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Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« on: 09 Jul 2008 - 11:35 »

Where's the love for this one?  I first saw it on tape in a cut version years ago and was shocked by the amount of gore and nudity when I got ahold of the beautiful still-collectible Gorgon Video release.  I've since upgraded to Elite's now OOP DVD which was non-anamorphic but had a beautiful transfer.


Hamp (Jack Watson, SCHIZO) and his father John (George Colouris, BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB) row to the fogbound Snape Island for as yet unexplained reasons.  They find the dismembered corpse of a man outside and a decapitated woman in the lighthouse itself.  When John investigates one of the outbuildings he is stabbed by hysterical nude Penny (Candace Glendenning, SATAN'S SLAVE) who is then knocked out by Hamp.  While a psychologist in London (Anthony Valentine) tries to unlock her mind, a group of archaeologists are planning a trip to Snape Island because the spear that thankfully pinned Robin Askwith before he could do much acting in this film turns out to be Phoenician suggesting that there may be a tomb hidden somewhere on the island and they are joined by private detective Brent (Bryant Halliday who did a couple films for producer Richard Gordon and was later the co-founder of Janus Films which acquired the US rights to several art films including several of Bergman's) who has been hired by Penny's family who believe that she was frightened out of her mind by the real killer of her friends.  The group travel to Snape Island (cue lots of sexual tension and caustic dialogue courtesy of bitchy Anna Palk and Jill Haworth) along with Hamp's layabout nephew Brom (Gary Hamilton).  Hamp tells the group that he and his father had come to the island because they had not heard from his sister-in-law (who lived there isolated with her crazy husband) for a couple weeks and discovered the dead kids.  As night falls, the men (including Mark Edwards of BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB and YES, MINISTER's Derek Fowlds) set about investigating the usual strange noises while Brom beds Nora (Palk).  Brent goes missing and the boat explodes and it becomes apparent that Hamp's brother is somewhere on the island.

The Phoenician tomb and treasure are of course a red herring (the Italian title translates as WHY DOES THE PHOENICIAN GOD CONTINUE KILLING?) but the film is an enjoyable stalk-and-slash prototype (other reviews mention that it may have influenced Joe D'Amato's ANTHROPOPHAGUS/THE GRIM REAPER [1980]) with some good gore (and more sex and nudity than you would see in many of the eighties slashers).  Haworth and Palk play off each nicely and Fowlds is more interesting as the weak-willed husband of Palk than the heroic Edwards.  Hamilton is Askwith-level annoying and Halliday is the same in every movie but it works here.  Watson is the only actor whose character is given much depth and does well with the role (he wasn't particularly sinister in Pete Walker's SCHIZO).  Desmond Dickinson's cinematography is excellent (the film was shot mostly in studio with the lighthouse as a rather obvious miniature which is perhaps why it lacks the grittier feel of similarly horror/slasher films shot on location and making due with what's available).  There's a PSYCHO-influenced bit with a corpse in a rocking chair and the killer's fleeting appearances are creepy (though the script manages in a scene with Haworth and Palk to rustle up some sympathy for the killer).

Elite's DVD is letterboxed at around 1.85:1 and looks fine for a non-anamorphic disc but its now OOP.  I was hoping that the British DVD from DD Entertainment would have extras and a new transfer but I've heard its also non-anamorphic and missing footage so I'll stick with my R1 disc.  I doubt the film will be revisited any time soon but its an enjoyable British horror film.

Jonny

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Re: Tower of Evil (1972, Jim O' Connolly)
« Reply #1 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 11:52 »

I've got the old R1 release of this too and was thinking about whether there was another release just the other day, funnily enough. Always liked this one, great for viewing late on a weekend night, makes me nostalgic for the late 70's when I used to stay up and watch the horror films on the BBC.

I haven't seen it for while though, am I right in thinking Anthony Valentine's hypnosis machine - that he uses on Penny - gives off a multi-coloured light show?
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ecc

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Re: Tower of Evil (1972, Jim O' Connolly)
« Reply #2 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 12:00 »

I haven't seen it for while though, am I right in thinking Anthony Valentine's hypnosis machine - that he uses on Penny - gives off a multi-coloured light show?

Yep (looks to have been a day's work for Valentine - Dennis Price, too).

fdsmedia

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #3 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 13:20 »

I own the R2 released by DD Home Entertainment, it's not anamorphic either but it's a solid presentation of a cool film.  :P
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ecc

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #4 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 13:27 »

I read that the UK DVD (was there more than one) had cut footage inserted back into it but lost some other stuff due to print damage.

fdsmedia

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #5 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 13:46 »

Where did you read that and what's supposed to be missing?
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fdsmedia

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #6 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 13:52 »

There's also an Australian release, which probably is a port of the DD release:

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ecc

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #7 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 13:56 »

Where did you read that and what's supposed to be missing?

I'm not sure.  I read the info at imdb.com (I know its frequently inaccurate) but the BBFC list DD's version as a re-edited version running 90m 2s.  Vipco's 1993 tape ran 90m 7s so it might be a matter of seconds (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/167E19A733F072D680257007003445DD?OpenDocument)

fdsmedia

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #8 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 14:16 »

Ok thanks.. and exactly how long is the Elite version? Most online sources say 89 minutes, but I doubt that it's true unless they've kept the PAL speed.
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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #9 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 14:23 »

I'll get back to you later with the runtime.

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #10 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 19:18 »

The Elite disc runs 90m 32s.

fdsmedia

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #11 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 19:35 »

So if it's a proper NTSC disc it would be equivalent to approximately 87m 22s in PAL, right?
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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #12 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 19:38 »

Yes.  I'd say its more likely a PAL-NTSC conversion than the UK disc being an NTSC-PAL (that usually only happens with Tartan UK's Asian releases).

fdsmedia

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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #13 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 19:47 »

Sorry my calculations weren't entirely correct... 90m 32s NTSC is about 86m 50s PAL. If that's the case, doesn't the UK disc contain 3 minutes more footage? Or am I confusing things...?  :-*
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Re: Tower of Evil (Jim O' Connolly, 1972)
« Reply #14 on: 09 Jul 2008 - 20:10 »

I'm pretty sure the US disc is uncut.  Could the UK disc be NTSC-PAL?  According to the BBFC, when the work was submitted for its original certificate it ran 88m 53s (that would be film speed, right?) but the three PAL video releases have run longer than this submitted time.
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