Tower of Evil (1972)

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Released 21-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 90:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jim O'Connolly
Studio
Distributor
Grenadier Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Bryant Haliday
Jill Haworth
Mark Edwards
Jack Watson
Anna Palk
Derek Fowlds
Dennis Price
Anthony Valentine
Gary Hamilton
George Coulouris
William Lucas
John Hamill
Candace Glendenning
Case PUSH-1 (Opaque)
RPI $24.95 Music Kenneth V. Jones


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, the odd joint
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In a heavy fog two fishermen land on Snape Island. They first find a headless naked male body, then later a naked, headless female body in a lighthouse but do not seem surprised. Then one is attacked by a blood spattered naked woman who lapses into a coma. She is Penelope (Candice Glendenning), the sole survivor of four young Americans who had gone across to the island after a jazz festival. Under drugs and psychedelic hypnotherapy her recall of events comes in fits and starts with grotesque, bloody images. Unconvinced, the Police intend to charge her with the murders of her companions when she is fit enough to stand trial.

     Recently a gold 3000 year old Phoenician ceremonial lance had been found on Snape Island. It is believed that there is a large gold treasure on the island and an expedition is outfitted to search for it. This group consists of married couple Nora (Anna Palk) and Dan (Derek Fowles), Phoenician expert Rose (Jill Haworth) and Adam (Mark Edwards). However, it is not the most harmonious group as Dan is sleeping with Rose and wants a divorce, while Adam is Rose’s ex-fiancé who enjoyed a one night stand with Nora, who is rather sexually promiscuous anyway. This volatile mixture is joined by Evan (Bryant Haliday), a private investigator hired by Penelope’s parents to try to establish her innocence. They are ferried to the island by Hamp (Jack Watson), one of the fishermen who originally found the headless corpses and who knows far more than he is letting on, and his young nephew Brom (Gary Hamilton). They set up in the lighthouse before dark but before long things start to go bump in the night and someone, or something, commences stalking the visitors. As the body count increases, what is the bloody secret of Snape Island?

     Tower of Evil (known also under a number of other titles including Horror on Snape Island) is fairly typical of early 1970s British horror. It has blood and nudity without anything too extreme, explicit or gory, the acting and dialogue are strictly B picture standard and most of the plot and shocks are telegraphed fairly obviously. The film however is tense in places in the usual silly way: with a maniac seemingly on the loose with a sharp instrument why do people separate and women open doors and go alone into dark corridors or down windy steps to investigate strange noises??? Just shut the door and stay put! The music also indicates when a shock is coming while the end fizzles a bit with too many plot threads needing to be resolved. On the other hand, none of this is to be taken too seriously and it is quite entertaining. And just watching the fashions, bell bottom trousers and big hair (on both men and women) is a hoot.

     Tower of Evil is typical of 1970s British horror with some shocks, some blood, some nudity, indifferent acting and 70s fashions. If you like your horror 70s and kitschy, Tower of Evil is well worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Tower of Evil is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original theatrical ratio but it is not 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is actually quite good. While there is softness in some scenes, close up detail is good, contrast very good. Much of the film takes place at night, in dark corridors or caves so it is just as well that blacks are solid and shadow detail very good. Colours, not surprisingly, are dull and muted, in keeping with the film. Skin tones are natural. There is obvious film grain, the occasional artefact (as at 23:17) and motion blur but on the whole this is a very good, clean print.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono encoded at a meagre 96 Kbps. The film was released with a mono mix. There is the occasional crack, and hiss in the quiet moments, but the dialogue is clear, the screams resonate, the creaks and bumps work fine and the explosions are good. There was no surround or subwoofer usage. I must say that the audio was far better than I was expecting and does add to the enjoyment of the film.

     Lip synchronisation was occasionally off.

     The score by Kenneth V Jones was suitably spooky when needed although did telegraph the shocks rather too obviously.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (2:12)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US edition sounds the same as ours: it is 1.85:1, non 16x9, the same mono sound and the theatrical trailer. On Amazon the Region 2 UK version is advertised as being 16x9 enhanced, but then again the site lists the Region 1 US as 16x9 enhanced as well, which it is not. The local release seems as good as any.

Summary

     Tower of Evil is typical of 1970s British horror with some shocks, some blood, some nudity, indifferent acting and 70s fashions. The video is not 16x9 enhanced, the audio mono, and a trailer is the only extra. However, both the video and audio are acceptable and there is not a better release of the film in any other region. If you like your horror 70s and kitschy, Tower of Evil is certainly worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, December 31, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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