Darwin H. (movienut) from BLOOMINGTON, MN Reviewed on 2/8/2015...
Campy 70's British "horror". Ridiculous premise, low budget, horrible acting, nudity, copious violence (but such horribly bad special effects it's laughable), infidelity angle between all four lead characters, etc. Check out the obvious use of a small model for the lighthouse scene at the start - lol. Where's the kitchen sink? How can I rate a movie that is so laughably bad it's...good?
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The early seventies-what a great era
R. L Templeton | 07/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another terrific early seventies creep-fest. With me it's always about mood and atmosphere. This one also has some good gore and of course great bell-bottoms. There is just something about watching this one late at night with the lights off and a beer in your hand. Somehow it just seems perfect."
A great piece of 70's schlock/exploitation...
firstname.lastname@example.org | Leominster, MA | 01/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tower of Evil is no masterpiece, but an interesting predecessor to the modern slasher film. It often comes across as a poorer version of Mario Bava's Twitch of the Death Nerve in terms of exploitation and gore, not in terms of story at all. Fans of Friday the 13th and the like will probably find much to savor here, sex and nudity, brutal murders and a final twist at the end, just for good measure. The disc, by the way, looks wonderful, makes you worship the power of DVD, horror fans should pick this one up."
Trash classic from UK's exploitation heyday
Libretio | 04/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
TOWER OF EVIL
(UK - 1972)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Mono
A group of archaeologists travel to a lighthouse-island off the coast of England where evidence of ancient treasure has recently been unearthed, alongside the corpses of several American teenagers, all of whom were slaughtered by person or persons unknown. Once on the island, the team becomes isolated from the mainland and is stalked by an elusive 'presence' which picks them off one by one.
A trash classic from the heyday of British exploitation, TOWER OF EVIL was helmed by Jim O'Connolly, a talented journeyman whose career had peaked several years earlier with THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1968), one of Ray Harryhausen's best films. Thrown together on a microscopic budget, and fashioned by O'Connolly from an early script by novelist George Baxt (responsible for such memorable British thrillers as CIRCUS OF HORRORS, THE CITY OF THE DEAD and NIGHT OF THE EAGLE), 'Tower' hedges its commercial bets by emphasizing a couple of high profile cameos (Dennis Price and Anthony Valentine), and foregrounding liberal doses of self-conscious nudity and gore.
The opening scenes - in which crusty sea dogs Jack Watson and George Coulouris visit the titular lighthouse and stumble on a series of mutilated corpses - sets the tone for much of what follows, and while the main cast are pretty colorless, their mutual antagonism (borne from a convoluted history of infidelity, too complicated to explain here) demonstrates a rudimentary attempt at characterisation.
Mounted with economical grace on sparse but effective studio sets (designed by Disley Jones [THE ITALIAN JOB]), and photographed by veteran cinematographer Desmond Dickinson (a major player in the glory days of British cinema, whose resumé includes everything from Olivier's HAMLET  to THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST , HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM  and A STUDY IN TERROR ), the film is cheapened at every turn by amateurish dialogue and threadbare visual effects (get a load of the hilarious back-projection during the archaeologists' boat trip to the island!), but it's these very same elements which contribute most to the film's enduring appeal, and the fogbound settings conceal a multitude of budgetary sins. Besides, this unassuming potboiler makes few pretensions to 'Art', and O'Connolly stages the major set-pieces with real technical savvy, culminating in a 'twist' ending which seems to have inspired a similar plot development in Tom De Simone's superior HELL NIGHT (1981).
An ultra-professional cast is toplined by Bryant Haliday (a favorite of producer Richard Gordon), former Broadway actress Jill Haworth (THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR), Mark Edwards (BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB) and Derek Fowlds (TV's "Yes Minister"), while the younger players include Robin Askwith (several years before he found fame in the 'Confessions' films), former physique model John Hamill (a familiar face in UK exploitation movies of the 1970's, and later a co-writer on Bob Clark's TURK 182!), Candace Glendenning (SATAN'S SLAVE) and the late Anna Palk (in her last screen appearance), all of whom are featured in various stages of undress. The film was originally screened in the US as HORROR ON SNAPE ISLAND, and later reissued as BEYOND THE FOG. Interested viewers should check out Simon Hunter's LIGHTHOUSE (1999), an outstanding British shocker which employs a similar lighthouse setting to much greater effect (it's available in the US in a less-than-optimum DVD presentation under the title DEAD OF NIGHT). "
Scooby Doo for adults
Samuel V. Stevens IV | Durham, N.C. United States | 02/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay: (1) The acting *is* wank (except for Dennis Price); (2) the script is hilarious (One classic exchange: "If Penny didn't kill those kids, then who did?" "Someone else, obviously."); and (3) the "twist" ending is absurd (although it predates by one year the strangely similar finale in _Don't Look Now_).But: This movie is lots of fun. AND it can still generate a couple of screams!! Imagine a live-action, British version of Scooby Doo for adults. This movie is the product of the same time and mindset as the cartoon. It has everything the horror movie fanatic could want: gory murders (even the old severed head rolling down the stairs), secret tunnels, buried treasure, a hint of evil spirits, madness, a monster, sexual intrigue, gratuitous nudity, and lots of creepy atmosphere. That island is the most foreboding piece of land I've ever seen.Check it out."
"Hello? Anybody home?"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/20/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The year 1972 brought with it an interesting crop of horror films including the good (The Other, Blacula, Tales from the Crypt), the ridiculously bad (Invasion of the Blood Farmers, Al Adamson's Blood of Ghastly Horror), and the absolutely goofy (Night of the Lepus, The Thing with Two Heads). Somewhere in the middle was Tower of Evil (1972) aka Beyond the Fog aka Horror of Snape Island, written and directed by Jim O'Connolly (Berserk!, The Valley of Gwangi). Appearing in the film is Bryant Haliday (Devil Doll), Jill Haworth (It!), Mark Edwards (Blood from the Mummy's Tomb), Anna Palk (The Nightcomers), Derek Fowlds (School for Unclaimed Girls), and Jack Watson (Schizo). Also appearing is Gary Hamilton, John Hamill (Trog), Candace Glendenning (The Flesh and Blood Show), Seretta Wilson (Psychomania), and Robin Askwith (Horror Hospital), probably best known for his character Timothy Lea in the British `Confessions of ...' comedy/softcore films (Confessions of a Window Cleaner, Confessions of a Pop Performer, etc.).
As the film begins we learn there's been an incident at Snape Island, a lonely, dinky, rocky tract of land whose only structures seems to consist of a dilapidated lighthouse and a funky storage shed. Apparently four young Americans (two guys, two girls), on holiday in Europe, ran into a spot of trouble there as three of them ended up butchered, while the fourth, a brunette named Penny (Glendenning), was found nekkid, in a catatonic stupor (the authorities believe Penny, in a crazed fit, killed her friends, but she ain't talking). Anyway, among the remains is found a 3,000 year old, golden Phoenician ceremonial spear, which sets up an expedition party to find out if there are any more treasures on the island. Members of the party include Dan (Fowlds) and his harpy of a wife Nora (Palk), Adam (Edwards), and Rose (Haworth), all of whom are supposedly archeological experts of sorts. Also thrown into the mix is an American named Brent (Haliday), a private investigator hired by Penny's family to determine what really happened that fateful night, along with a stoic fisherman named Hamp (Watson), and his ne'er do well nephew Brom (Hamilton). Upon arriving at the lighthouse there's an ominous sense of gloom and doom, soon followed by the feeling they're not alone on the island (it's suspected by those present there's a network of caves beneath the island, and also someone may be living in them). After a while various misfortunes occur (the boat is destroyed, the shortwave radio gets trashed), and people start turning up dead due to unnatural causes.
While I thought this an fairly entertaining (albeit sleazy and predictable) feature, it sure wasn't without some seriously obvious flaws. I did feel the sets were fun and atmospherically spooky, and I was surprised, given the large number of characters present, how well director O'Connolly managed to keep things relatively in check, but I felt the main weaknesses in both the script and the characters took something away from the production. The script was full of obvious statements, one example being near the beginning as the expedition is traveling by boat towards the island. Once they're about 100 yards from the island, we hear Hemp, who's driving the boat, state `There's the island, straight ahead.'...oh, are you talking about that small mass of land we can all see with perfect clarity, the only bit of land around with the lighthouse that we're headed directly towards? Thanks for the update, Captain...later on in the film we see Hemp and Brom looking for an entrance to the caves beneath the lighthouse and Brom puts his platform shoe through a humongous, gaping crevice in the ground to which afterwards he states, `Hey, we found an entrance to those caves.' Gee, you think so genius? Another thing that really annoyed me was the continuous acts of stupidity on the part of the characters. Often they'd go off alone, or decide to split up from a larger group, just begging to get killed. In one scene, about three quarters in, the two women are left alone in the locked lighthouse while the men go off to do something or other, and one of the women decides to go upstairs to get some rest. Meanwhile, the other female, upon hearing a noise outside, unlocks the door and proceeds to investigate...alone. She discovers something horrifying (the killer doing something in the shed), which causes her to run off and hide. The killer, hearing a noise, comes out to investigate, finds the door to the lighthouse wide open, and proceeds inside and up the stairs finding the other woman in the bedroom...hey, thanks for taking off and leaving the once locked door wide open so that the killer could get inside and attack me you moron! Anyway, the mystery element really isn't all that big of a mystery, but it's still fun to see it unfold. One positive aspect is there's a decent amount of skin, if that's your bag (Jill Haworth is about the only female in the film who doesn't appear sans her clothes at some point). My favorite scene comes early on, as two fishermen, including Hemp, are investigating the island. At one point they go upstairs and find the body of one girl and discover, well, you'll just have to watch to find out the rest. I did learn a lot from this film, including the following...
1. There are no seagulls on Snape Island...never has been, and never will. 2. Fishing folk are used to tragedy. 3. Fishing folk are none too good at hiding the fact they know more than they do. 4. Robin Askwith sounds really funny with dubbed, American voice. 5. Crabs sure do love dead bodies. 6. The lovin' was free and easy, for the most part, in the 1970s. 7. Jazz festivals were the `in' thing for young people in Europe in the 1970s. 8. Nora's a hard b***h who enjoys the rough stuff. 9. Bravery ain't Brom's bag, man. 10. It's probably best not to chuck ignited lamps about when there's flammable paraffin all over the floor.
The picture on this Elite Entertainment DVD, presented in non-anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), looks very clean, exhibiting only very minor, barely noticeable signs of age, while the audio comes through very clearly. The only extra provided is an original, and effectively entertaining, theatrical trailer for the film. If you're interested in getting this film on DVD, I might suggest checking out a DVD set entitled The British Horror Collection, which contains this film, along with Horror Hospital (1973), Inseminoid (Inseminoid), and Curse of the Voodoo (1965). The first three are fun, but the `Voodoo' one is a real dog.