Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 31st, 2015
BluRay released: Novmeber 2nd, 2015
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Blu-Ray Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £14.99 (UK)
Tower of Evil was co-written and directed by Jim O’Connolly whose other notable films include, The Valley of Gwangi and Mistress Pamela. Key collaborators on Tower of Evil include, cinematographer Desmond Dickinson (The Importance of Being Earnest, Horrors of the Black Museum), screenwriter George Baxt (Circus of Horrors, The City of the Dead) and composer Kenneth V. Jones (The Tomb of Ligeia). Other alternate titles that Tower of Evil include, Horror on Snape Island and Beyond the Fog.
When watching a Horror film there is always that brief window where they have to deliver the hook that will draw you in and keep you engaged. Fortunately this film starts off on solid ground with a strong opening sequence which firmly sets the bar for what is yet to come. And to strengthen its narrative this film incorporates a little bit of psychology into the mix. With these moments are told via a traumatized character who is the sole survivor and prime suspect in handful of deaths. Also these flashback moments give the viewer insight in what had previously happened and what is about to happen to the Archaeologists who arrive shortly after the initial killings occurred.
From a production stand point the film’s visuals and set design create a tremendous amount of atmosphere. And when it comes to the kills sequences there are well executed and provide an ample amount of bloodshed. Also there are no issues with pacing as things move along at a good momentum.
Wanting the film to have a more American feel the producer of the film insisted that several of the cast have their voices overdubbed. So it should not the come as a surprise that many of these performances are weakened by this choice. With that being said, the performance that leaves the strongest lasting impression is Candace Glendenning (The Flesh and Blood Show, Satan’s Slave) in the role of Penelope Read, the young woman who survives the initial murders and who through flashback’s offers insight into what happened to her friends.
Tower of Evil comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used of this transfer is in very good shape as colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels look consistently strong and details look crisp. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression and grain looks natural. And though this release only lists region B compatibility. It should be noted that this release played in my Blu-Ray player that is locked to only play region A content.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English. There are no issues with distortion or background noise, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Range wise things sounds good for a film where the bulk of the audio was created in post-production.
Extras for this release include, an image gallery, the film’s original trailer (2 minutes 17 seconds) and a second trailer for the film under the alternate title ‘Horror on Snape Island’ (1 minute 52 seconds), an interview with actress Seretta Wilson (11 minutes 47 seconds), a featurette about the film titled ‘Inside the Tower’ (24 minutes 56 seconds) with comments from film historian Jonathan Rigby and an audio commentary with producer Richard Gordon and moderator Tom Weaver.
Topics discussed in the interview with Seretta Wilson include, how the majority of the cast had their voices overdubbed and her involvement in providing screams in post-production, filming nudity, the cast and what is was like working with them, her death scene and various other films that she has appeared in.
Topics discussed in the extra titled ‘Inside the Tower’ include, producer Richard Gordon’s role in the making of Tower of Evil, screenwriter George Baxt who supplied the premise for the film, co-screenwriter / director Jim O’Connolly and how he had to extensively revise Goerge Baxt’s original screenplay, how the majority film was shot on a sound-stage, the cast and Tower of Evil’s various theatrical and home video releases. Other topics this extra covers include various other films that cast & crew appeared in.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary track include, the screenplay and its evolution, the process of finding the right director, the cast and his thoughts on their performances, working with director Jim O’Connolly and critical reaction to the film. Other topics this extra covers include various other films that cast & crew appeared in.
Overall a solid release from Odeon Entertainment who give Tower of Evil its best home video release to date.
Note: Odeon Entertainment are also releasing this film on DVD.