31 Days of Horror: And Now the Screaming Starts

Amicus Productions is giving Hammer a run for its money this year. As the “also ran” of British horror film houses of the 1960s and 1970s, Amicus is primarily known for their portmanteau films, but it’s not a one trick pony as it turns out. They might not have the quantity of films Hammer has, but they can make a good film when they put their minds to it. Case in point: tonight’s installment.

And Now the Screaming Starts (1973) is an unfortunate title for the film. It even surprised the movie’s stars, who thought they were making a movie called “Fengriffen,” based on the book of the same name by David Case. Clearly, producer Max Rosenberg was courting a specific audience with the rename.

Poor naming aside, Screaming is a fantastic film in the gothic vein. We’ve got a manor, a family curse, ghastly apparitions, howling out on the moors, people walking about in the dark with candelabras, and stormy nights with wind rattling the casements. We don’t get our heroine running across the moor in a nightgown as a single window glows alight in the manor’s tower, but that’s the only absence.

The plot involves the newly-married Catherine, who arrives at Fengriffen manor with her husband, Charles. For a few minutes, she’s happy with her new home and the life she’s about to begin with Charles. Then the movie hits her (and us) with a jump scare and it’s off to the gothic races! We get a lot of eyes cast pityingly in Catherine’s direction. We get a disembodied dismembered hand crawling across the carpeting. We get solicitors duty-bound to keep their employer’s secrets. We get Peter Cushing finally showing up after the movie is half over despite his star billing!

Screaming is unique among Amicus’ films as it’s the only period piece they made, but boy what a period piece. Despite its meager budget, Screaming is a textbook example of how to make a good gothic. I’m not sure if novelist David Case or screenwriter Roger Marshall is more deserving of praise, but I’d put Screaming up there with many of the other great gothic films. I think this one is a legitimate overlooked gem of a film. I have no hesitation in awarding the film 4 skulls out of 5 for being both an entertaining horror movie (I jumped, which doesn’t happen much) and a seriously good movie despite its humble origins.

31 Days of Horror: Satan’s Triangle

It’s probably obvious that I hold a special place in my heart for 1970s weirdness. That love met this year’s watch-fest in tonight’s film, Satan’s Triangle (1975). But can that love prevail over the stink of an ABC “Movie of the Week”? Let’s find out!

Satan’s Triangle was clearly an attempt to cash in on the zeitgeist of the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon that pervaded pop culture during the 1970s. The plot concerns a US Coast Guard rescue helicopter dispatched to investigate an SOS call put out by a ship “smack dab in the middle of Satan’s Triangle.” When the copter arrives, Haig (Doug, not Troy, McClure) descends down to the ship and discovers a number of dead bodies, including a priest hanging from the main mast and a corpse floating in mid-air in a forward compartment. Haig also finds Eva (Kim Novak), alive but in a state of shock. When he tries to get them both back on the chopper, an accident leaves them stranded aboard the ship. Eva, now recovered, begins regaling Haig with the story of what happened in the days before the SOS went out. The rest of the movie proceeds as flashback detailing the curious behavior of Satan’s Triangle. Is it supernatural? Is it all hogwash? Is the helicopter pilot Earnest Borgnine?

I had an eerie premonition this was a made-for-TV movie in the opening moments of Satan’s Triangle. It had that quality from the start and once the first fade-to-black for a commercial interstitial appeared, I knew what I was in for. That being said, for a cheesy TV movie, Satan’s Triangle isn’t an utter failure. The film weaves back and forth across the border of the supernatural and the rational as first Eva tells her tale, and then Haig debunks the causes behind the strange events. The film could have ended 10 minutes sooner and I would have been much happier with it. Instead, it proceeds to barrel on with a coda that undoes all the effort it put into skirting that line between the plausible and the preternatural.

Unfortunately, playing with audience expectations somewhat deftly was the only thing the movie had going for it (although I do suspect US Coast Guard applications went up a notch in the week after the film aired. It’s not Top Gun, but it was made with the USCG cooperation and does its job as a recruitment ad). Once that’s taken off the table, all you have left is a mediocre-acted, no-budget TV movie. I award it 2 skulls out of 5 for at least trying to do something interesting and the fact is clocks in at a lean 74 minutes.

31 Days of Horror: Asylum

After enjoying The House that Dripped Blood so thoroughly the other night, I decided to dive into another of Amicus Productions’ portmanteau films. This one was Asylum (1972)

Like THtDB, Asylum features four(ish) short films wrapped inside a framing story: a young doctor arrives for a job interview at a mental asylum only to find the administrator has been admitted as a patient for attacking his colleague, Dr. Rutherford. Rutherford is now running the asylum and challenges the young doctor to interview the four patients in the upstairs wing and deduce which was is the former administrator. If he chooses correctly, the job is his. The patients include a woman whose plan to murder her lover’s wife went horribly askew; the tailor who was hired to make an extremely unusual suit; a woman whose brother and nurse were killed by her friend, “Lucy”; and lastly a surgeon who’s making tiny robotic homunculi resembling himself and his professional acquaintances. I say four(ish) stories because three are contained short films, while the fourth bleeds directly into the framing story.

The cast is again composed of B-list British actors, and not nearly as interesting as the performers in The House that Dripped Blood. Peter Cushing returns (bringing this year’s Lee to Cushing ratio to 3:2), along with Patrick Magee (who played the victimized writer in A Clockwork Orange), Charlotte Rampling (Zardoz, Orca, and The Verdict), and Britt Ekland (The Wicker Man) making up the remaining most recognizable stars.

The individual films aren’t as entertaining as those in House, although again Robert Block returns as writer. They’re all largely in the EC comics vein of horror and anyone whose read an issue of Eerie or watched Tales from the Crypt will likely see where things are headed long before the plot train leaves the station. Only the second story, with Peter Cushing, had me wondering how things were going to play out and wrapped up in a way I didn’t expect.

While not as solid a film as The House that Dripped Blood, Asylum was still entertaining enough to score 3 out of 5 skulls. I’m not likely to rewatch it again anytime soon, but it did wonders to wash the taste of Blood Bath out of my mouth.

31 Days of Horror: Blood Bath

Vampires in the big city! Beatniks! Sid Haig! Yesireebob, this movie has everything but actual entertainment value.

I had my suspicions of what I was about to get myself into when I saw the American International Pictures logo appear in the opening credits of Blood Bath (1965). The 62 minute run-time also strongly suggested I was in for a stinker, and, boy, was I.

Blood Bath is the tale of a modern vampire prowling the streets of Venice, but which Venice? You know you’re in trouble when the movie’s description and its contents can’t seem to agree. The description says it’s Venice, CA, but the plot involved an 11th century artist and his bell tower abode, so I’m guessing we’re supposed to be in Italy.

A little digging into the film’s production explains the conflict, which, if your know AIP, you can probably guess involved the penny-pinching hand of Roger Corman. It turns out ol’ Rog had a bunch of footage lying around from a movie called “Operation Titan,” shot by Francis Ford Coppola in then Yugoslavia. The movie was deemed unworthy of a US release, so Roger hired writer and director Jack Hill to come up with a movie that could use that footage. Hill shot that movie, whose plot involved a murderous sculptor, but Roger didn’t like that one either. So he shelved that movie for a year before hiring Stephanie Rothman to revise the movie, change the sculptor to a vampire, and shoot additional footage. Thus, Blood Bath was born.

This is one bath that should have been thrown out with the baby.

The movie concerns a bunch of people you’ll never care if you ever see again living the Bohemian life in either Venice, Italy or Venice, CA. All of the female leads are brunettes with names that start with “D,” so you’ll probably forget who’s who in the hour it takes you to get through the movie. A mysterious painter named “Sordi” is the current hot commodity and his paintings of nude, dead women are selling like hot cakes, much to the displeasure of artist, Max, who considers Sordi to be a sellout. Max, the ringleader of a small cadre of beatnik artists, is trying to push Art’s boundaries with such techniques as “quantum painting” (a technique that literally involves shooting a paintball gun at a partially completed canvas). When Max’s girlfriend/model Daisy goes missing after posing for Sordi, Daisy’s roommate and her sister (Dorean and Donna, respectively—see I told you!) become concerned and try to discover what happened to her. Complicating matters is the fact that Dorean is dating a dreamy new artist—Sordi, himself.

A bunch more stuff happens, including dream sequences and a witch/vampire lover of Sordi from the 11th century. Then the dead walk, somebody screams, and the movie ends. You now know everything you ever need to know about Blood Bath. Go do something productive with the 62 minutes of your life I just saved you from squandering.

Blood Bath earns 1 skull out of 5 and that’s only because I found Sid Haig and the rest of the beatnik artists moderately amusing.

31 Days of Horror: The House that Dripped Blood

Oh, Amicus Productions, how I love thee. Why film just one movie on a standing set when you can film four? You’re the British answer to American International Pictures.

The House that Dripped Blood (1970) is one of Amicus’ classic portmanteau films, an anthology of four or five movie shorts wrapped up inside a framing story. As the title suggests, the four films in this picture are all centered on a lonely country house and its inhabitants. Each occupant moves into the home only to find themselves confronted with the supernatural: a writer finds his villainous creation seemingly come to life; a lonely bachelor discovers a figure in the local wax museum is identical to the woman he loved and lost; a widower is far too strict in the raising of his young daughter for good reason; and a declining horror actor acquires an opera cloak which possesses unfortunate properties. All these stories are revealed by a Scotland Yard detective’s investigation of a missing person.

The film has a stellar cast of B-list British actors, many slumming from Hammer Productions. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing turn up (unfortunately in separate stories), as does Denholm Elliot (last seen as the Antichrist’s uncooperative father), Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor Who), Geoffery Bayldon (Catweazle), and Hammer bombshell, Ingrid Pitt. The stories are the work of Pyscho author Robert Bloch, so they have a solid horror pedigree, even if they’re a little predictable to modern sensibilities.

Of the four, “Waxworks” with Peter Cushing is my favorite. The wav museum as the setting for a horror story is old hat and this tale brings nothing new to the table. Cushing’s performance, however, as a retired bachelor whose plans to “read, listen to music, and do some gardening” are upended by a trip to the museum and the unexpected arrival of an old friend is wonderful. Cushing brings a humanity to the role, and I identified strongly with his character in many ways.

“The Cloak” with Pertwee and Pitt is more comedic than the rest, making it a bit off-key from the rest of the shorts, but Pertwee is enjoyable as the pretentious horror actor, Paul Henderson. Whovian fans will enjoy his vampire costume, as it’s almost identical to his Doctor Who outfit. And he’s not above throwing a little shade in a co-star when Henderson declares “That’s what’s wrong with the present day horror films. There’s no realism. Not like the old ones, the great ones. Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula – the one with Bela Lugosi of course, not this new fellow.” The new fellow in 1970, being, of course, Christopher Lee.

“Sweets for the Sweet,” which features Lee, while being a fine story, also includes a treat for Tolkien fans. Christopher Lee famously read The Lord of the Rings every year, and the film contains a brief scene with his character sitting before the fire, reading from a copy of Tolkien’s masterpiece, which appears well-worn for a movie prop. Perhaps it’s Lee’s own copy taken from his dressing room?

I watch a lot a terrible movies each October, but it is movies like The House that Dripped Blood which make it all worthwhile. I occasionally discover one of these long-overlooked (by me) gems that provides 90 minutes of pure enjoyment. While not the greatest film ever made, The House that Dripped Blood earns a solid 4 skulls out of 5 for being a wonderful example of early 1970s British horror film-making.  

31 Days of Horror: The Devil Rides Out

When we last saw Christopher Lee, he was leading a satanic cult. Now, 24 hours later, he’s out to thwart one. What a difference a day makes!

The film in question is the classic The Devil Rides Out (1968) based upon the Dennis Wheatley book of the same name. Lee plays the film’s protagonist, Nicholas, the Duc de Richleau, a scholar of—but by no means a proponent of—the occult. Nicholas and his friend Rex are old war buddies, having served in the Great War with a third friend. When their comrade was slain, Nicholas and Rex swore to look after his son, Simon, who has now come of age. When Nicholas and Rex get together for their regular reunion, they pay a visit to Simon, interrupting a “astronomical society” gathering held at his home. Nicholas is suspicious of this clique, given that there are 13 of them and they all possess names with occult resonance. When a quick search of Simon’s observatory turns up magical trappings and a pair of chickens in a hamper ready for sacrifice, Nicholas’ fears are confirmed. He and Rex immediately kidnap Simon to get him away from the coven he is about to join.

Back of the home of the Duc de Richleau, we learn that Simon was about to undergo his satanic baptism into the coven led by Mocata (played by Charles Gray, undoubtedly best known for his roles as Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever and as the Criminologist in The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Nicholas knows that Mocata will not rest until Simon, along with another young member, Tanith (played by Nike Arrighi) undergo their unholy initiation into the world of black magic. Can he and Rex thwart Mocata’s scheme before the Simon and Tanith succumb to his hypnotic commands?

The Devil Rides Out has a good reputation in horror movie circles and it’s a well-deserved one. Lee cites it as his favorite film that he performed in and, for a lower budget Hammer movie, it certainly delivers. Wheatley based the character of Mocata on Aleister Crowley, and Charles Gray does a tremendous job of channeling the public image of Crowley into the role if not the actual man, himself.

The movie’s MVP in my opinion, however, is Leon Greene as Rex. In most modern occult horror films, we get a lot of mumbo jumbo about curse breaking and undoing rituals, with the occasional supernatural conflict thrown in. While there is that in The Devil Rides Out, we also get Rex dashing into the thick of things, throwing haymakers at Satanists and exorcising the Devil, himself, by trying to run it down in a 1920s roadster and yeeting a crucifix at the Prince of Darkness. I don’t recall Father Merrin trying that in The Exorcist! This is two-fisted hexploitation at its best, very much in the vein of “The Guardians” books. Having not read the Wheatley novel, I’m not sure how close this adheres to the literary version, but I won’t complain if it’s a liberty taken by the screenwriters.

Some of the special effects might be on the hokier side (the Angel of Death looks like an escaped Nazgul from Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings), but you’ll probably be having too much fun watching Christopher Lee play the rare good guy and cheering on Rex throwing uppercuts at black magic dabblers to care. For punching Satanists alone, The Devil Rides Out gets four out of five skulls and a date on the rewatch list.

31 Days of Horror: To the Devil a Daughter

I had an eye issue plague me for a few days that made it impossible to work at a computer, but didn’t prevent me from watching the TV from across the room. Here’s the first in a few entries about the watch-fest to bring me current for the month.

I somehow made it a week into this year’s plan to watch mostly British films from the 1960s and 1970s without managing to encounter Christopher Lee. I had to correct that immediately with a hefty dose of the one-and-only Mr. Lee. We begin with To the Devil a Daughter (1976), a film which features both a hefty cast of recognizable faces, but perhaps the greatest ratio of on-screen phone calls to running time in cinema history.

The plot involves Catherine Beddows, a young nun raised by a churchfrom childhood, played by a 14 year-old Nastassja Kinsky. Catherine is on her way to London to see her father, Henry (played by Denholm Elliot, perhaps best known among viewers in my age group as Marcus Brody from the Indiana Jones films). The trip has all been arranged by Father Michael Raynor (Christopher Lee), who, when we last saw him, was in the process of being excommunicated by the Church. Surely, that must have been reconciled since we see him still parading about in his vestments and collar and leading the church that young Catherine was raised by.

As Catherine flies to London, we meet American occult novelist John Verney at a book signing organized by his agent Anna (played by Pussy Galore, herself, Honor Blackman). A desperate-looking Henry crashes the signing, looking to speak with John, and a hushed conversation later, Verney is on his way to the airport to pick up Catherine in Henry’s place. He takes the naïve novice back to his apartment, where Henry is supposed to come for her, but a phone call from him reveals its best if Catherine lay low at Verney’s place for a while. It turns out there’s some angry Satanists after John—or so he claims. The truth might be they’re actually after Catherine.

 Suffice to say, with a title like “To the Devil a Daughter,” you know there’s some sketchy progeny involved in the plot. It’s the most convoluted case of birthing the Antichrist I’ve ever encountered. No, really. I’ve watched the movie and apparently the means to manifest the Devil on Earth involved a whole lot of steps, including giving birth to a Guild Navigator from Lynch’s Dune. The birth of the Beast in Good Omens is a cakewalk comparatively.

Despite this, which if you just go with a “ah, whatever” attitude and let things unfold, the movie is entertaining. It’s always good to see Chris Lee as the heavy, and, man do his eyebrows deserve a supporting role credit in this film. Kinsky does OK in her role as Catherine, mostly because Catherine is utterly naïve and unacquainted with the world at large. “Slack-jawed” isn’t always a great adjective to be associated with, by Kinsky makes it work. I will say this about the movie, though: there are a lot of phone calls in this film. Characters calling characters calling characters, and even Raynor and Verney’s initial faceoff is done thanks to British Telecom. It takes a lot to make a phone call dramatic in film and unfortunately, To the Devil a Daughter can’t quite pull that off.

To the Devil a Daughter would be Christopher Lee’s final film for Hammer until 2011. For the man who helped build the studio, it would have been kinder is he’d left on a stronger note. To the Devil a Daughter isn’t a bad film, but it’s not Hammer (or Lee’s) best work, earning it a rating of 2.5 skulls out of 5.

31 Days of Horror: Satan’s Slave

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a member of the British aristocracy is involved in a satanic cabal up to nefarious schemes involving black magic rituals and necromancy. Sound familiar? But now what if I told you the aristocrat was…Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred!!!

The fifth film in this year’s watch-fest is Satan’s Slave (1976). I picked this one up on Blu-ray some months back after reading a write-up about it the Wyrd Britain website, one of my go-to places for 1970s weirdness across the Atlantic. The name Michael Gough caught my eye, and, sure enough, that’s the same Michael Gough who played Alfred in the 1990s Batman movies. That, plus the fact that it was a British film from the Satanic Panic period of the ‘70s, made it a must-see.

The film concerns Catherine Yorke, a 19 year old woman who tragically loses both her parents when they visit her estranged uncle Alexander. In the days after her parents’ death, she becomes a guest of Uncle Alex (played by Michael Gough), her nephew, Stephen, and Alex’s secretary, Frances. Catherine is prone to premonitions and starts picking up some weird visions in the woods behind the estate: images of a woman, clearly a witch, being tortured and burned at the stake. She seeks comfort in the company of Stephen, who has previously displayed some murderous tendencies during the film’s opening. Complicating matters is the fact that Frances is in love with Stephen and that Alexander has plans for Catherine on her 20th birthday. These plans involve raising the murdered witch from the grave and he need a young woman’s body to do so. Oh, lookie over there…

Satan’s Slave is pure exploitation, or “hexploitation” as we call it around these parts. There’s plenty of naked female flesh on display (did you know that medieval witches had bikini tan lines?) and the violence towards said women is rather shocking. I’m pretty alright with pretend movie violence, but this film pushed my limits—especially Stephen’s antics in the film’s opening. Sensitive viewers may want to skip this one. If one didn’t know better, you might think it was an American film. In addition to the nudity and violence, you get some old fashion ‘70s satanic set dressing, including hooded robes, cups and daggers, snakes, and spiders.

This makes Satan’s Slave a difficult film to evaluate. The acting is solid, but the pacing is slow. You can tell this is a film cribbing from the Hammer and Amicus playbooks, but the violence is more over the top than you’d find in even a late period Hammer film. Considering all those factors, I give the film 2.5 skulls out of five. Add another half a skull if you’ve got a stronger stomach for pretend misogynistic violence and pass on the film entirely if you’ve got no place for it.

31 Days of Horror: Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

Me being me, if you told me you had a movie about Connecticut vampires, I’d think you were about to show me the story of the Great New England Vampire Panic. That’s just who I am. Instead, I get a movie about white flight, back to the land commune life, and the fragile sanity of the titular woman. The story of Mercy Brown, this is not.

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) is the tale of Jessica and her husband, Duncan, who, along with their friend Woody, decide to put New York City behind them for a life of apple farming on an old Connecticut orchard. Jessica has been institutionalized for the previous six months and the escape to calm country living will hopefully do her well. Jessica, Duncan, and Woody are quirky; these personality traits demonstrated by the fact they drive an old hearse instead of a station wagon and that Jessica has a love for doing grave rubbings. In fact, while doing one, she glimpses a young woman dressed in white, who swiftly vanishes from sight in the cemetery. This leaves Jessica questioning her own delicate sanity, laying the groundwork for a theme that runs throughout the film.

Upon reaching the farm, the trio discovers it’s not empty. Emily, a young drifter, is squatting in the house and, although they initially intend to evict her (after she stays for dinner, of course), they soon open up their home to her in communal fashion. Like a lot of communes, this turns out to be a poor idea for several reasons.

When Jessica and Duncan bring some old antiques they find to a secondhand dealer, they learn they’re in the “Old Bishop Place,” where tragedy struck years ago. The Bishop’s daughter, Abigail, drowned in the lake by the house before she could be married and legend has it that she still roams the area as a vampire or a ghost. It’s about this time we start noticing that all the very unfriendly locals sport a lot of bandages for some reason…

Before too long, Jessica observes that Emily and Duncan are getting a little too friendly, that the photograph of the Abigail Bishop has an unsettling resemblance to Emily, and that people start turning up dead around them. Is this her madness creeping back in or is there something more supernatural at play here?

I wanted to like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death more, but it was a tough go. Zhora Lampert, who plays Jessica, is not the strongest actress to hang the role of protagonist on. Or maybe it’s just that the script wasn’t meaty enough for her to work with. The locals are all clearly that, and there’s nothing less terrifying than a seventy year old man in a VFW windbreaker as one of your sinister vampire minions. The fact that Woody shares an unfortunate resemblance to Ron Jeremy doesn’t help the movie much either.

I’ve read that Stephen King loves this film and that some scholars compare it to Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla. I can’t say anything is Steve’s defense, but I can say I’d rather reread Carmilla. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death isn’t particularly bad, but it’s neither particularly good in my opinion either. And for a vampire film, there’s a stunning lack of vampire tropes. All in all, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death earns a modest two skulls out of five, making it an average 31 Days of Horror movie.

31 Days of Horror: Tower of Evil

Day Three takes us to a craggy island (but not Craggy Island) off the coast of England, the site of a derelict lighthouse and horrible murders. The film is Tower of Evil (1972) and it contains a ton of stuff that’s right in my wheelhouse.

“It’s just a model.”

The story begins with the discovery of a triple murder on the island, the so-called Snape Island, which is going to elicit chuckles from Harry Potter fans. The three dead are touring Americans, and the sole survivor has been driven mad by what she witnessed. She kills one of her rescuers in her insane state, which gets her committed to a mental hospital while the police decide what to do with the case.

Curiously, one of the murdered Americans was slain with a ceremonial spear made of solid gold, a type of spear found only at Phoenician burial sites (although closed captioning kept render this as “Venetian,” so I was wondering why he wasn’t strangled by a set of blinds). This piques the interest of a British museum—maybe the British Museum, but it’s unclear—who puts together a team of professional archeologists to explore the island and find evidence of Phoenician visitors to England in the dim past. It goes without saying that these professional archeologists are all in their mid-to-late-twenties, are engaged in adulterous affairs with one another, and don’t seem particularly good at what they do. You know: movie archeologists. Coming along for the ride is an American private investigator hired by the insane girl’s family to clear her of the three murders. The team picks up some additional future body count—I mean help—in the guise of a local fisherman and his nephew, who looks like he’s at least Mick Jagger’s second cousin.

Once on the island, it’s clear that just about everyone has something to hide and soon everyone is up to something shady. Some vanish for a time, while others are just trying to get another team member into the sack. Strange flute playing and ghastly laughter suggest that the group may not be alone on Snape Island, a fact that’s confirmed when the first murder happens. There’s somebody out there in the dark, and that somebody has sharp implements.

Tower of Evil crept onto my Amazon watchlist and I frankly have no idea how it got there. I’m nevertheless grateful it did as I found it surprisingly entertaining. The movie ticked off a number of my “Yes, please” boxes, including but not limited to: maritime themes, ancient cults, Baal worship, C-grade British film studios, Chekov’s paraffin tank, and many, many dubbed actors for a movie filmed in English. All that was missing was some good ol’ Sawney Bean cannibalism and the film would have hit all the sweet spots. It does though feature the goofiest demonic idol I’ve ever seen. I’m truly not sure if it’s just being friendly or flipping me off.

“How many fingers am I holding up?”

For a movie I had no memory of choosing and no reason to expect anything good of, Tower of Evil was a pleasant surprise and is the best film I’ve seen so far this month (he says on Day Three). It even begins with a credit sequence filmed over an old school miniature model as a practical effect, and I love me a good movie model. The movie appears to have gained an underground following and the plot would make for a good role-playing game scenario if you’re into investigative horror. Likely, your players will be unfamiliar with is so you can use it “as is” just as easily as inspiration for another story. All this means I’m giving Tower of Evil a solid four out of five skulls. Deduct ½ a skull if you’re not into model lighthouses.