Theme Song: Violins that start and stop abruptly.
Interesting Dated References: Young people attending and having a wild time at jazz festivals. There are so many references to young people and their wild jazz festivals in this movie it had to be some type of on-set joke.
Best Line: In reference to the urgent need for a man being so sexually aroused by a woman he must ejaculate or be pushed to the brink of madness — “Penny, can you take care of me now? I’m going insane.”
Social Context: Tower of Evil (aka Horror on Snape Island) holds a unique distinction of being an English-made gothic-horror from the early 70s that has many plot similarities to films from the early 80s American slasher boom: Teens getting killed in remote locations, teens being naked, teens having sex, teens doing drugs, etc. That does not, however, make Tower of Evil all that interesting.
Summary: These old guys go to Snape Island to investigate some stuff. When they get there they find all these dead teens as well as a non-dead teen who’s totally having a freak-out trip and attacks them with a knife. Right away there are several boobs and male ass cheeks. Only two of the boobs are on a living person, the rest of the boobs and male ass cheeks are on corpses, which may or may not sweeten the deal for you. Two of the boobs are on a deceased and decapitated corpse, in the event that information helps titillate you further.
So then the girl who survived is admitted to a hospital and proceeds to have flashbacks about what happened on the island. While all that is going on, investigator-types look around the island trying to figure out what the fuck is going on and to try to find more fully-nude, decapitated teen corpses.
There is more talk of rowdy teens at jazz festivals, long-lost Phoenician settlers, the ancient Phoenician god Ba’al, and some other settler family that went insane. Then people die and the entire island catches fire.
– During the hospital sequence they use a series of bright flashing lights to help with memory recall and it’s totally fucking psychedelic.
– There are some genuinely disturbing clothing ensembles in this movie.
– A guy gets a blow job in this movie and you see the girl’s head go down (off camera), while we watch the guy smile and moan. Pretty risque for a British horror movie from 1972.
– Marketed in 1981 as “Beyond the Fog,” a sequel to The Fog.
– Directed by Jim O’Connolly, who directed The Valley of Gwangi (notable for featuring effects by Ray Harryhausen).
Poster and Box Art: The original poster for Tower of Evil looks like a lot of English-made gothic horrors. Duotone elements combined with type that curves, it was a good formula and works well.
The posters for Horror at Snape Island are a little more graphic and detailed.
Availability: Stream on Amazon. It also looks like there’s a Blu-ray around, but I’m too lazy to investigate further.