Vincent Price returns to his English manor from Africa with his mad, mutilated brother whom he keeps chained upstairs. Price buries his brother alive, glad to be rid of him, but the body is dug up by a local physician and the brother, still alive, begins a systematic search for vengeance.
If a movie called THE OBLONG BOX with Vinny Price and Chris Lee sounds good to you, well, this one is even better than it sounds. But it is very dark; maybe not quite as dark as WITCHFINDER GENERAL, but plenty dark enough. Not really light entertainment, but unusually well-made with fine performances. Don't show this one to little kids.
England 1865. Two brothers share the same house but one has the freedom to walk about, the other is confined to an upstairs room, shackled. He has “fits” which come and go. With the help of a disreputable barrister (Peter Arne as Trench), the fitful brother fakes his death and is soon confined to a coffin. Said coffin is quickly buried. Happy is the brother (Vincent Price as Julian) who can now marry a much younger woman (Hilary Dwyer as Elizabeth). He is finally free of the thankless duty of caring for his “disabled” brother (played by one actor, voiced by another). All was expected to end well for Julian and his new bride but for some pesky grave robbers who dug up the not quite dead brother, bringing him to a ghoulish doctor (Christopher Lee) for experiments. The poor doctor soon finds himself blackmailed into housing a homicidal maniac. This cantankerous plot also involves a certain amount of revenge murders and an inside/out voodoo curse.
The original script was written so that Vincent Price could play twins, making the curse aspect of the story more understandable. But, that was scrapped in favor of what ended up on the screen. Price’s role was scaled down in favor of the wronged brother. Poor Christopher Lee got stuck with a bit part that didn’t allow him to do much of anything. Still, it is a fun little thriller of sorts. I bought it for my Vincent Price collection.
Now this is a good-old horror movie in the classic tradition, not the laughable gore-fest that has become the norm now days, or the shaky camera "found footage" that is too stupid to watch. Excellent performances by Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, as well as all of the others in the cast. And while this probably won't raise the hackles like a creepy dude wearing a goalie's mask or a nightmare vision of a guy with long finger nails, this is an ancestor of said references, and as such should be viewed in that light. This is definitely well worth a watch.
A little long but an evening with Lee and Price is really never long enough! Gordon Hessler is like Freddie Francis an unsung hero of the horror genre. He worked miracle with very little. In this tale we have both actors in the movie but never sharing a scene. Too bad but you take what you can get. The story is convoluted and the revenge plot does not really play out well. But it moves at a good pace and you do have two of the best actors doing their what they did best which is to be above the material. The style of the film works and Price/Lee fans will not be disappointed. DVD has a good transfer and extras are good.
Under rated horror film classic. Inexplicably, some critics have panned what may be among Vincent Price and Christopher Lee's best films; with, Hammer Studios. Moreover, the respective villains that populate the story line are both sufficiently menacing and somewhat unpredictable. Furthermore, the film culminates with an unexpected plot twist and perfect down beat ending; with, Vincent Price's character becoming the victim of the zombie curse originally and inadvertently placed upon his brother. Also, the shock effect of the protagonist (i.e., Vincent Price's character) with a progressively decaying face and gradual, but obviously inescapable, descent into madness is unforgettable. While, the fiancee of Price's character reacts with horror and revulsion upon intially seeing him; after, Price's character has been bitten and infected by his zombified brother serves to graphically punctuates the film's perfect down beat ending. Essentially, there's no happy ending for any of the protagonists and retribution is the fate of both the just and the unjust. This film defies traditional cinematic horror film rules and both the good and the bad fail to escape the dark and evil forces that pervade the film. In essence, one of the pervasive themes of the movie is that evil an inescapable entity that is no respecter of persons; regardless, of the respective character of it's victims whether righteous or wicked.