Written by: George Pacheco on July 16th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: UK, October, 1972
Director: Jim O’Connolly
Writers: Jim Baxt (story) Jim O’Connolly
Cast: Robin Askwith, Jill Haworth, Bryant Haliday, Anna Palk
DVD Release Date: July 23rd, 2013
Approximate Running Time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95
Tower of Evil—also known as Horror on Snape Island—is an early 70s British horror film which previously saw release via Elite Entertainment via their British Horror Collection box set alongside Horror Hospital, Inseminoid, and Curse of the Voodoo, now enjoying a new lease on life thanks to Scorpion Releasing, who are re-releasing the film on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Strange, then, that a film as relatively confounded and stilted as this would receive such double-duty treatment, for Tower of Evil is only semi-successful in its attempts at shock and horror. The film moves back and forth between a present day shock/visual therapy session of the only survivor of a group murder on a secluded island, and the flashback events of said massacre.
The film pre-dates the slasher genre by a number of years, yet embraces a number of the genre’s main tenets, not the least of which is a cast of young, attractive men and women being dispatched in a number of gory and unpleasant ways. These characters are all dressed to kill (read: for sex) despite their apparent careers as archaeologists (???) and Tower of Evil relishes in enhancing this fact via a number of lurid, close-up crotch camera angles for the men and gratuitous topless nudity for the ladies.
The affair as a whole is decidedly less than sleazy, however—especially when compared to the shamelessly voyeuristic Virgin Witch released the same year—and is hampered heavily by an unexciting and unoriginal plot which never moves as much as it needs to do, with even the sex and murder scenes struggling to elicit any strong responses from the audience. The British horror pedigree had already been well established by this point thanks to the classic, defining work of the Hammer and Amicus studios, which really leaves Tower of Evil as extraneous to need, at the end of the day.
Scorpion Releasing presents Tower of Evil in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Picture and sound are both in tip-top shape, resulting in what is probably the definitive presentation to date for the film. Extras include a revealing and enjoyable featurette with horror historian David Del Valle, whose enthusiasm for the film actually makes Tower of Evil seem a bit more enjoyable than it actually is, to be honest. Overall, Tower of Evil receives a respectful presentation from Scorpion Releasing.
Note: Scorpion Releasing are also releasing Tower of Evil on BluRay.