Monday, July 24, 2017

portland bill.

As is the usual when chatting to top design type guy (and fellow Midlands boy) Master Jamie during our monthly phone chinwags it's not long before the conversation turns to the films of Brit shag-superstar Sir Robin of Askwith and, after re-evaluating his camptastic Horror Hospital recently it wasn't long before we turned our attentions to this beauty.

Tower Of Evil (AKA Beyond the Fog, Horror of Snape Island 1972)
Dir: Jim O'Connolly
Cast: Bryant Haliday, Jill Haworth, George Coulouris, Dennis Price, Jack Watson, Candace Glendenning, Anthony Valentine, William Lucas, Anna Palk, Robin Askwith and (Mister) Derek Fowlds.


Wayne Hussey beware!

Sometime in the early seventies in a mist enshrouded studio somewhere near Shepperton, two gruff fisherman types, Hamp Gurney (Brit movie legend Watson) and his Steptoe like father, John (Coulouris), are 'sailing' - Well, swaying about whilst some poor sod throws buckets of water at them like a kids panto version of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds The Weeping Song -  towards the notorious Snape Island.

Mooring their boat on the craggy rocks, our duo begin a search of the islands nooks and crannies, soon coming across the naked (and very dead) body of a young man.

With incredibly tight buttocks.

"Put it in me!"


Venturing inside the island’s crumbling lighthouse, they discover another - naked - corpse, this time of a headless young woman.

Don't worry tho' as they soon find her blonde bobbed head lying at the bottom of the stairs.

Unfortunately she's lying on her front so we never know if her hair was dyed or not.

Look, some of us find these things important.

John reckons that all this is a wee bit odd, so decides to head off to explore the outside toilet, leaving Hamp to stand and stare uncomfortably at the nubile dead girl sprawled across the landing.

Opening the loo door he's very surprised to find 'Confessions' star and all round cheeky chappie Robin Askwith impaled on a big spear in the corner of the room next to the toilet rolls and copy of Razzle.

Looks like Bernie Winters finally caught up with him.

His shock is short lived tho' as he's almost immediately attacked by a shit covered - and naked - Candace Glendenning wielding a huge knife.

Which if I'm honest is a fantasy I've had since I was about 14, the lucky guy.

Jumping on John's back before biting his nose she manages to stab the poor sod to death before Hamp beats her into submission with a lead pipe.

Well, it was filmed before women's lib became a thing.

"Excuse me but I have a woman's period!"


Rushed (well I assume they rush her, not leave her lying about, occasionally bonking her on the head if she wakes up, but I digress) to the mainland hospital, the girl - whose name we discover is Penelope - falls almost immediately into a coma.

With the police desperate to pin all the murders (well, not every murder ever, just the ones on the island) on her so they can all go home for tea, eminent know all and specialist in mentalism induce catatonia, Doctor Simpson (Seventies sex God, ex Raffles and the spooky voice of Dr X on the Queensryche album Operation Mindcrime, Valentine) injects Penny with a strange drug whilst flashing disco lights at her in order to discover the truth.

Slowly but surely, she begins to recall (in groovy hypnovision) the terrible events that led up to the killings, screaming hysterically as giant images of her dead pals heads fill the screen.

Meanwhile in the plush swinging London (probably) office of professional rich man and part-time cake maker Laurence Bakewell (suave superstar Price) has become obsessed by the case.

Which is unusual for Price at this point in his career seeing as he's usually obsessing over young cock but hey-ho.

But why? I hear you ask.

Well it seems that the golden spear used to pin poor Robin Askwith to the toilet door shouldn't really be on the island at all (they do give a reason but frankly I couldn't be arsed paying attention) and this fact has attracted the attention of a group of groovy archaeologists.

Who, judging by their on-screen banter are actually more interested in shagging each other senseless than digging up old stuff.

But not being an archaeologist - or a welder - who am I to judge?

So who are this motley band that will be our heroes for the remainder of the movie?

Well it consists of Antiquities experts Ben and Nora - greatest line: "Masturbation’s so boring!" - Winthrop (Ex Basil Brush sidekick Fowlds and the frighteningly large breasted Palk), along with the bubbly Rose Mason (Haworth - The original stage Sally Bowles and star of the Tom Baker travesty The Mutations) and hunk o' burning lurve Adam Martin (Aussie beefcake and star of Wild Honey Edwards) are they've decided to take a wee break from wife-swapping to investigate the case.

And, in order to placate the US market they're taking a fast talking Yank private investigator (hired by Penelope's folks) named Brent (Halliday, star of such classics as Devil Doll, Curse of the Voodoo and The Projected Man) along for the ride alongside dear old Hamp and his horny young 'nephew' Brom (the big haired and seemingly horse cocked Hamilton).

Trinny and Susannah: The Pikey years.


To make the journey go quicker (and to prevent the film having too many scenes of folk staring uncomfortably at a badly projected seascape) Brent tries to get Hamp to talk about the dark history of the island but to no avail, so decides to try his American magic on Brom.

And by magic I mean seduction skills if what transpires as a conversation is anything to go by seeing as it consists of a dozen or so muttered 'Ooh Arrs' from Brom whilst he stands legs akimbo rubbing his trouser area.

Which if I'm honest was fairly relaxing.

Finally arriving at the island (portrayed by a fairly competently constructed Lego model), the party sets up camp in the outside loo before heading out to explore the lighthouse in particular the area in which the murders took place.

Brent steadfastly believes that poor ickle Penelope couldn’t possibly have pinned a star of Askwith's girth to a door, but Ben, always the pessimist reckons that madness may have given her super strength.

After a wee chat and some bitching the party come to the conclusion that there may be a mad man loose on the island but Hamp just shrugs his shoulders and mutters 'Dunno' before heading off for a sneaky fag.

He's saved from any more embarrassing questions tho' when his boat blows up.

Whilst most of the group run outside to see if anything can be salvaged, Brom and Nora are left alone in the lighthouse where they spend an uncomfortable couple of minutes making small talk before deciding to have 'the sex'.

Roughly.

And with a bit of biting.

Just like your dad and your sisters pal in the back of the car last week.

Returning to the lighthouse to find Nora all ruddy faced and a rotting corpse stuck in the rocking chair, Brent confronts Hamp with the fact that his brother was once the lighthouse keeper.

This in itself may seem inconsequential but Brent goes on to tell how Hamp's bro' went mad and killed his wife and child!

On the island!

And they never found his body!

Back at the hospital, Penelope is being given even more drugs and bigger flashing lights and as a result her shattered memory begins to piece itself back together, beginning with her recounting the horrible facts regarding the deaths of her friends....

And it's not pleasant.

Somewhere to hang your coat at least.




What can I possibly say about Tower Of Evil that hasn't been said a thousand times before on blogs that people actually read?

I mean, if there's a better example of such a way ahead of it's time horror flick then I'd like to see it because Tower Of Evil has everything you could want from a slasher movie, nearly ten years earlier than everybody else.

Coming at a time when censorship in Britain was becoming more lax (imagine that, the UK with lenient censors), writer/director Jim (Valley of Gwanji, Vendetta for The Saint) O’Connolly fills the screen with copious amounts of nudity, sex and violence filmed in an almost tabloid, in yer face manner almost unheard of at the time.

Scream from mah mooth!


And all the well worn rules of the genre are present and correct, anyone having sex is bound to die (the teens and adults), male characters show off their buff naked arses whilst the pretty female cast members are forever thrusting their breasts towards the camera and it's the virginal good girl Penelope (the only woman in Europe who doesn’t want to get laid comments her beau) that survives.

The archaeological experts fare no better, being as they are a bunch of bed hopping sex maniacs who count a bag of spliffs and a crate of cheap red wine amongst the essentials for their expedition, splitting up at the first sign of trouble to wander around the island dressed in mini skirts, breast revealing tops and sprayed on action-slacks.


"Aye son!"



Simply put, Tower of Evil is quite honestly a work of utter genius which needs, nay demands to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.

So there.

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