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5.0 out of 5 stars Tower Of Evil REGION FREE Blu ray review, 21 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Tower of Evil [Blu-ray] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Just to put the record straight before I get into the review proper, this American import Blu ray from Scorpion is completely region free and playable on all BD players worldwide unlike what one of the other reviewers believed so order in confidence.
Tower Of Evil was made at a time when relaxed censorship allowed filmakers the opportunity to inject heavy doses of sex and violence into movies making the horror pictures of the 50s and 60s almost quaint in comparison. Often thought of as a forerunner to the slasher films that would take the horror genre by storm throughout the 70s and 80, Tower Of Evil also predates Bob Clarkes Black Christmas and John Carpenters iconic Halloween. Originally released as The Horror On Snape Island in America(a title I actually prefer), Tower Of Evil starts out with a bang as we are introduced to the foreboding and seemingly uninhabited Snape Island, a lifeless fog enshrouded lump of rock jutting out of an unnamed sea. Enter a fisherman and his son Hamp(Jack Watson of Peeping Tom and Wild Geese) who for reasons unknown land on Snape only to be confronted by a murder scene with mutilated bodies littering the rocky surfaces of the island. What is also strange is that the victims appear to have been bumped off by a killer who uses a valuable Phoenician sword. The fisherman manage to find a survivor of the atrocity only for the naked and totally delerious young girl to kill the father believing her would-be rescuers to be the protagonist who offed her friends. Enter a team of archaeologists who are rightly impressed by the murder weapon used in the massacre. They travel to Snape Island along with Hamp and his young horny hired help Brom believing there to be more untold treasures in the caves beneath the desolate Snape. As to be expected though the new visitors to the island just become victims for the monstrous force that lurks in the shadows and caves picking off the characters one by one until the fiery climax in the bowels of the island.
More of a mood piece than an outright horror movie, Tower Of Evil does lose some of its momentum after the wonderful opening sequence and slows to a crawl mid way through. Thats not to say it is a complete bore and once the gang start to realise that they are quite obviously not alone on the island the tension and atmosphere start to hot up. Tower Of Evil does have a great deal going for it. Quite obviously a set, the island itself does look very convincing in a theatrical kind of way and the bleakness permeates every frame. The cast too are strong with a collection of Bristish horror pros including Dennis Price, Bryant Halliday and Jill Haworth. Also look out for future Confessions star Robin Askwith as one of the murdered teens. Ok so this maybe a little slow moving especially to fans of more modern fare but Tower Of Evil remains atmospheric to the core with abit of a twist ending and some suprisingly strong crowd pleasing gore. This comes highly recommended to fans of vintage British horror.
I had seen this previously on TV and more recently via the now out of print US DVD from Elite Entertainment. Thankfully the old DVD is totally blown out of the water by Scorpions new Blu ray. Presented in a 1080p full HD transfer with AVC encoding this looks remarkably strong. Framed at 1.85:1 and not 1.78 as it says on the sleeve I cant imagine this looking any better than it does here. The image is solid and filmic with good details and nice textures in the close ups perfect for the gore shots. The island sets also show healthy amounts detail and depth from the rocks to the interior of the lighthouse. Colours are mostly strong and black levels are good enough with plenty of shadow detail which is essential for a film like this. Natural levels of film grain are also left in place lending the image a smooth realistic 70s horror feel. My only real gripe with the transfer is some minor spotting print damage which is visable throughout the feature but this never becomes overly distracting. Hardly a demo piece this looks good enough for the upgrade from standard def to HD for fans.
Scorpion have also included an HD lossless soundtrack for Tower Of Evil delivered via the DTS-HD Master codec. Presented in its original mono, this uncompressed track is not as satisfying as the visuals here. The sound does show some wear with hiss and crackles prevalent for the most part. There isnt alot of detail and at times it can sound a little murky and soft, lacking dynamics and punch. Recording levels also seem lower to other BDs so you may find yourself increasing the volume past the usual reference level. The music sounds ok in lossless if a little on the tiny side and dialogue and atmospheric effects are all decernable in the mix.

I must admit that i was expecting a little more in the extras department but I suppose for a movie such as this anything is a bonus. You get a 5min instalment of Katrina's Nightmare Theatre, a 13 minute interview ith genre historian David Del Valle and theatrical trailers as both Tower of Evil and Horror On Snape Island.
Hardly a classic this is still a solid, atmospheric and engaging vintage British horror film. The region free BD from Scorpion looks better than i have ever seen this flick look and is well worth an import consideration with no news on a UK release any time soon.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Sep 2013 02:03:07 BDT
M. Stewart says:
Great review thanks.

Posted on 22 Sep 2013 10:20:58 BDT
Hey no probs. Only wrote it yesterday morning. Always try review both the film and disc quality as best i can especially imports as information can sometimes be incorrect. I hope you enjoy the disc if you decide to order it.
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