Tower of Evil (1972 film)
Tower of Evil (1972), AKA Horror on Snape Island, Beyond the Fog, Devil's Tower: Terror of the Zombies
"A night of pleasure becomes a night of terror...." A group of experienced archeologists are searching the Snape Island lighthouse tower for an old and mystic Phoenician treasure when they are surprised by a series of mysterious murders....
- Release Date: 1972
- Country/Language: UK/US, English
- Genres/Technical: Horror
- Setting: 1960s UK(?)
- Runtime: 1 hr 29 min
- Starring: Bryant Haliday, Jill Haworth, Mark Edwards
- Director: Jim O'Connolly
- Writer: George Baxt (original story), Jim O'Connolly
- Producer/Production Co: Joe Solomon, Richard Gordon, Grenadier Films
- View Trailer: (link)
- IMDB Page: (link)
- Rated: R (Violence, Nudity, Adult Content, Profanity)
The movie was originally dismissed by critics as pure exploitation fodder, and for good reason. Still, there's a fun Gothic horror story buried somewhere under the heap of naked teens and goopy corpses....
A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:
- Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone)
The gloomy lighthouse sea-side location, hints of out-of-place secret Phoenician devil-cults, and the story's obvious Gothic ancestry all suggest a kinship with Lovecraft's stories, without ever quite crossing over into definite "Lovecraftian" pastiche.
Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.
- And You Call Yourself A Scientist! (link) - "I can't really recommend this film to anyone other than connoisseurs of appalling seventies fashion...."
- Graeme Clark at The Spinning Image (link) - (5/10 Stars) "...At its most diverting when it tried to be as lurid as possible, which luckily for the thrill-seeker was often, though that did not necessarily make for an accomplished work in general...."
- Burl Cummings at Ha ha, it's Burl! (link) - (2.5/5) "...The thing about [the characters] is that they're ready-made victims who may as well have been groomed in some behavioralist's operant chamber to act in just exactly the way that would best guarantee a domino-like mass demise...."
- Mark Hodgson at Black Hole Reviews (link) - "...fast-paced entertainment, sincere performances leavened by scathing sarcasm and fruity language. The shocks alternate with many cheesy moments that undermine the grisly atmosphere...."
- Mitch Lovell at The Video Vacuum (link) - (2 Stars) "... the stuff involving the partying teens on the island getting picked off is way cooler than the scenes involving the stuffy Brits wandering around looking for treasure...."
- Dennis Schwartz at Ozus' World Movie Reviews (link) - (C-) "...I would think only lovers of really appalling low-budget 1970s Brit slasher/horror flicks will dare find this putrid one to their liking.... None of it made sense. But if you're in the mood for an absurd film that is ready-made for laughs at its inept execution and oddball mixture of sex and gore, you've struck the mother lode. The characters say the oddest and most vulgar things, the potboiler becomes more ludicrous the more the mysteries are explained, and the incompetent filmmaker leaves it so addled that he never decides whether to attribute all these killings to inherited insanity, devil worship or to the supernatural powers of the devil himself...."
- George Pacheco at 10,000 Bullets (link) "...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...."
- Chris Wood at British Horror Films (link) - "...It's just not camp enough to be funny, and not serious enough to be frightening...."
Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
Three stories intertwine: The lighthouse keeper's family arrive at the island to find a group of massacred naked teens who had sailed to the island for a night of wild sex and drugs, with one knife-wielding survivor driven quite mad by her night of terror. A group of bickering archaeologists - all in 'complicated' romantic relationships with each other - are pulled into the police investigation of the massacre when it's discovered that one of the teens was killed by a "spear" that appears to have originated in a Phoenician devil cult, and rush to the island with the remnants of the lighthouse keeper's family to find the treasure they believe to be hidden on the island. The lighthouse Keeper's family reluctantly reveal that the keeper, his wife, and their deformed son have fled to the isolation of the island to protect the family from the outside world, because of their history of madness and deformity. Meanwhile, the archaeological team are killed off one by one by a hidden menace from the shadows as they discover a hidden cavern and treasure-laden temple to Baal below the lighthouse, and the identity of the killers: the maniac lighthouse keeper and his deformed son, who have been living in the caverns with the decaying corpse of the keeper's wife. The film ends with the obligatory explosion of the lighthouse, and the final girl and designated hero just barely escaping the island with their lives....
Comments, Trivia, Dedication
Associated Mythos Elements
- deity: Baal
- The investigators are called in as consultants to the police and/or coastguard in their investigation of a massacre of visitors to a remote and abandoned lighthouse left empty for years after the disappearance of the lighthouse keeper and his family; the object one victim was killed with proves to be an archaeological curiosity relating to the worship of an obscure deity (Baal in the original story, though Dagon would work just as well....); the other clues pile up in the form of an insane survivor of the massacre, hints of a secret ancient hidden vault of treasure under the lighthouse, a group of shifty locals related to the lighthouse keeper, and evidence that the lighthouse keeper was hiding a sinister family secret when he moved his family to the island....