Also known as Horror on Snape Island. When a local fisherman (Jack Watson) discovers the bodies of three murdered teenagers, private detective Evan Brent (Bryant Haliday) is sent to the remote island to investigate; with him on the island is a group of archeologists searching for an ancient treasure. After the group‘s leader Adam (Mark Edwards), hires a guide to take him, his former girlfriend (Jill Haworth) and another couple across the island, they realize the killer is still on the loose. Also starring: Derek Fowlds, Robin Askwith, Gary Hamilton, John Hamill, Candace Glendenning and Seretta Wilson.
When the fisherman arrive on the island, both of which look like they should be Scooby Doo villains, which is not an insult because it actually works quite well, they find body after body, surprisingly the first naked body to be seen is a man, quite the departure from usual 70s film. It’s a perfect mix of deaths to start off a horror film: a severed hand, a sword through the chest and a head the wrong way round but oh wait no that’s severed too and off it rolls down the staircase. Don’t worry, you’ll find out how their deaths came about later on, for now you meet the new group of people headed to the island, because who doesn’t want to go visit a place where a bunch of people just mysteriously died? The logic of horror film characters is as delightfully flawed as per usual in this one. The acting however is better than you’d expect, it wasn’t going to win any awards but despite the awfulness of a lot of horrors, it’s decently passable and even features an American accent from Robin Askwith that isn’t entirely terrible, quite the shocker.
The suspicion does not end there, although surprisingly one of the more curious moments involves the characters hearing someone playing a flute, not many killers in film that try to draw victims with flute playing or perhaps just enjoy it in their down time. Though a lot of 70s horror does feel cheesy, over the top and almost a parody and yet Tower of Evil feels like a genuine horror film, it may not be extremely scary, only slightly but it works. The story moves more than well enough to keep your attention and it’s unexpectedly absorbing. It basically gives you a 2 for 1, you’ve got the story happening in the present as well as the explanation of what happened to the people who were killed there, both of which are good stories. There is of course an aspect of predictability to it but then that is a norm with horror films, we all know they shouldn’t open that door or look behind that curtain or go out alone and yet when it goes badly we’re still pleasantly surprised. It’s a shame there couldn’t have been more real or convincing cinematography of the island but that wasn’t really abundant in the 1970s; it would have called for a much bigger budget and a higher degree of difficulty which the film doesn’t really warrant but would have just made it more enjoyable visually.
Tower of Evil is entertaining, slightly scary with a little gore and an amount of sex and nudity that isn’t actually completely excessive, which is a pleasant surprise. It’s got a simple but effective story that’s enjoyable to watch and although it’s not entirely new or unique it still arrives at a satisfying conclusion, all within an easy 88 minutes.
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