Sunday, February 05, 2017
Tower Of Evil (1972)
DIRECTOR: Jim O'Connolly
WRITER: Jim O'Connolly
When two young couples take a trip to Snape Island, three members of the group are murdered. The only survivor of the group, a young woman, is left in a catatonic state. Two inspectors and a group of doctors run a series of tests to find out what happened to the victims. In the meantime, a group of archeologists are sent to Snape Island to locate a mystic Phoenician treasure but run into problems when the group also start being brutally murdered.
Going into Tower Of Evil (aka Horrors At Snape Island). I wasn' even sure that it was a slasher movie at first. The original poster for the film has this ladies head on it that almost looks like a vampire. Her eyes are completely white, and it appears that she's got one sharp fang. I was a little worried going into the film as I'm currently trying to review the seventies and eighties slasher genre. So when I saw this, I had started to panic that I may be straying off course with this film but lucky for me, the movie does have elements of the slasher.
The movie opens rather impressively. We see two men heading to Snape Island, and when they arrive, they find several dead bodies. We see a naked man lying in a pool of blood. It appears that he's been slashed and had his hand cut off. As they start to venture toward the lighthouse, they find a naked woman who is lying in the stairwell. Trying to identify her, her decapitated head rolls down the stairs, and both of the men are left horrified. It was a rather impressive and pretty gruesome opening sequence for the film. I expected this to be light on the red stuff.
As these two men look around Snape Island and try and find answers, one of them is stabbed a few times by the only survivor. She has apparently gone mad while being in hiding from the killer. The movie has this exquisite shot of the naked woman running through the fog before she is knocked out by the other man. I thought it was a very frantic and well-done shot. With an opening like this, the rest of the film doesn't quite live up to that strong opening scene, but it sure tries though, and I can't hate on it for at least giving it a solid go.
What I enjoyed about this film is that after the opening, the movie focuses quite a bit on the young survivor. She is now in a catatonic state, and the doctors are now doing tests on her. They want to try and make her remember all of the horrors that she may have witnessed in hopes of finding out who the killer is. I thought this was a nice little touch. It added something more to the plot than just your run of the mill slasher. I'm glad they didn't just abandon this subplot in favour of the next group of victims who head to the island. I thought the flashbacks being intercut with the new group was a pretty neat idea.
The flashback sequences that happen in the film lend the movie it's goriest moments outside of the opening scene. They are basically a continuation that reveals the true extent of what had happened with her three friends. I thought the kill scenes and the gore while looking very fake still gave this film a bit of a camp quality. The blood and gore are that extreme red, almost pink, thick, paint-like blood. I thought that for a movie that was shot in the early seventies, it had a lot of fantastic setups and some excellent cinematography that added to the more horrific scenes.
Once our archaeologists make their way to the island, this is where Tower Of Evil starts getting a little more silly and over the top. The group of archaeologists are all interconnected by way of being ex-husbands and ex-wives. It's a whole lot of nasty bitching between partners. All of the latest group have clearly swapped fluids with one another. This is where they start dropping sassy one-liners. The females of the group are also gossip-spreading bitches and try to shame the men. It's all very melodramatic.
This is where Tower Of Evil turns from a weird slasher into a fantastical supernatural horror. While the movie never goes so far as to actually switch gears, but the entire discovery of all these relics and treasures give this film a glimpse into what could've been an entirely different film. It doesn't help that the killer in the movie looks like a caveman or neanderthal of sorts. He's all hairy and messed up. Doesn't really speak but gargles his words. It's a very bizarre choice for a knife-wielding killer in what is mostly a slasher, but I think the mystic elements play to the killer being something more than human. It's never really explained, though.
The blood and gore in Tower Of Evil are pretty grisly. It never looks real, but for a film that was released in the early seventies, this delivers on the deaths, blood, and gore. The production deserves a round of applause for merely pushing the buttons of what I assume would've been censors back in those days. We have severed body parts, lots of slashings, stabbings, impalements, and even a decapitation. A few moments are clearly mannequin or dummy parts, but it's all in good fun. I'd prefer to watch this over poorly done CGI.
Lastly, the acting from the cast is incredibly over the top. Half the cast looks to be dubbed. The rest all have these posh British accents. It's a little all over the place when it comes to the cast. It's all very high-camp in delivery when the killer isn't slashing or stabbing his victims to death. The film also heavily relies on the actors and actresses to show a lot of nudity. This is where we get a lot of cheesy one-liners and sexual innuendo. I think the primary female survivor is the best actor in this film.
DEATH TOLL: 10
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A severed hand.
- A man's naked body in a pool of blood is shown.
- A woman's bloody naked body is shown in a stairwell.
- A decapitated head rolls down the stairs.
- A boat captain is stabbed in the chest.
- Flashbacks of bloody stabbings and slashings.
- Someone is impaled by a large sword.
- A rotting corpse is shown.
- A woman falls off a lighthouse and lands on a rock.
- Someone gets a cleaver in the head.
- Someone's neck is broken.
- Someone is shot to death.
- Someone is shown bleeding from the chest and dies.
- Someone is set on fire.
Tower Of Evil (aka Horrors At Snape Island) is one of those movies that deserves the watch if only once. The movie is far from perfect and has its fair share of issues that range from the cheesy dialogue, cheap gore effects, and lousy dubbing. But among all the silliness and campiness of this production, this still feels like it may have pushed the boundaries during its original release. This is full of blood, violence, and nudity with some over the top performances. I can see this becoming a guilty pleasure of mine. Give this one a gander.