Saturday, 23 July 2011

Where Vile Things Crawl

'The Oblong Box' was originally to be directed by Michael Reeves, but he chucked a spanner in the works by dying of a drugs overdose in the pre-production stages. The film re-united (the Reeves directed) 'Witchfinder General' star Vincent Price with his co-stars Rupert Davies and Hilary Dwyer and, like that production (in the US at least), attempted to link the film to American International Picture's highly successful Edgar Allen Poe cycle. 'The Oblong Box' is the title of a Poe story, true, but this is not that story.

A sort of bizarre take on 'Jane Eyre', it concerns Julian Markham (Price), a rich man with a young fiancee and a dark secret gained in the Colonies: a crazed and disfigured older brother who he keeps chained up in an attic - but, as crazed and disfigured elder brothers chained up in attics are prone to do, keeps getting out and causing mayhem. The problem is exacerbated by catalepsy, body snatching and a Voodoo curse. Thinking about it, what problem wouldn't be?

Not entirely successful, but very entertaining, AIP liked the film enough to immediately fling Hessler, Price and most of the supporting cast into Elizabethan horror 'Cry Of The Banshee', which just so happens to be the featured film on this very weblog tomorrow. We don't always just throw this shit together, you know.  

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