The Oblong Box (1969)

R   |    |  Horror


The Oblong Box (1969) Poster

Aristocrat Julian Markham keeps his disfigured brother, Sir Edward, locked in a tower of his house. Sir Edward occasionally escapes and causes havoc around the town.


6.1/10
2,746

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  • Sally Geeson and Alister Williamson in The Oblong Box (1969)
  • Vincent Price and Peter Arne in The Oblong Box (1969)
  • Vincent Price and Hilary Heath in The Oblong Box (1969)
  • Vincent Price and Hilary Heath in The Oblong Box (1969)
  • The Oblong Box (1969)
  • Vincent Price in The Oblong Box (1969)

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23 July 2015 | Hey_Sweden
6
| Moderately enjoyable, but nothing special.
Edward Markham (Alister Williamson) is disfigured in Africa by vengeful natives; when he and his brother Julian (Vincent Price) return to London, Julian keeps Edward locked up. Edward escapes by faking his death, but in a twisted turn of events, his "dead" body is unearthed and taken to unscrupulous doctor Newhartt (Sir Christopher Lee). Donning a crimson mask to hide his visage, Edward goes about seeking his own revenge, occasionally slitting some unfortunate persons' throat, while demanding that Newhartt keep him hidden.

Based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe, this is certainly a decent horror flick, but it doesn't carry as much weight as one might like. The screenplay (credited to Lawrence Huntington, with additional dialogue written by Christopher Wicking and an uncredited Michael Reeves) is entertaining, but the film feels rather familiar overall. It's nicely made, with some fine period recreation. The opening is very striking, and there are restrained doses of blood, and provocative costumes on some of the ladies.

Price is solid as usual, but it's the Sir Christopher Lee portions of the story that worked more strongly for this viewer, with an interesting relationship developing between the crazed Edward and the "good" doctor. The supporting cast does some very fine work. Rupert Davies is a delight as an artist, as is Peter Arne as the sleazy lawyer Trench. Maxwell Shaw, Carl Rigg, Harry Baird, Godfrey James, and Ivor Dean likewise impress. Uta Levka, Sally Geeson, and Hilary Heath are all absolutely lovely.

Producer / director Gordon Hessler and company are wise to keep Edwards' supposedly hideous face hidden until the very end, but when we do finally see it, the makeup effects are underwhelming and the result is disappointment.

Fans of Price and Sir Christopher will want to see it for sure; they reunited the same year for "Scream and Scream Again", but after that, wouldn't work together again until "House of Long Shadows" in 1983.

Six out of 10.

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