A 1959 movie
This article is about the film directed by Gordon Hessler. For the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, see The Oblong Box (short story). The Oblong Box Directed by Gordon Hessler Produced by Gordon Hessler Written by Screenwriters: Lawrence … see full wiki
This is an interesting, entertaining and somewhat disappointing double feature from amazing ghoulish Vincent Price (and Christopher Lee). The former statement might befuddle some readers so please allow me to elaborate on each film.
The first movie is “The Oblong Box”, based off a story of Edgar Allan Poe. I am familiar with Poe’s work, but not this tale, as strange as that might sound. Nevertheless, Vincent Price plays noble man named Julian who has his brother Edward locked in a room due to some unfortunate event that transpired in Africa. It appears that Edward is under an African voodoo curse and has been left with a disfigured face.
Well to paraphrase, Edward plans an escape which ends up having him being mistaken for dead. Until he is discovered by Dr. Neuhartt (Christopher Lee) who is in the grave robbing business in order to study human anatomy. Edward ends up black mailing Dr. Neuhartt and starts a murderous spree that leaves his brother Julian scratching his head.
There is a bit more to it, but this is basically it. The movie is a period piece taking place near the turn of the century. As a matter of fact, it looks a lot like a Hammer Horror movie.
The second movie is “Scream and Scream Again”. This movie is a bit more challenging for me to describe. This is due to the fact the multiple storylines never really seem to gel.
There is this militant fascist group who is taking various body parts and is creating pseudo people. Meanwhile there is a vampire like killer running around accosting young women. The police are investigating these murders, while a young medical doctor aids in the search, Vincent Price also plays another medical doctor who might be linked to both the killings and “make a person project”. Christopher Lee plays a business man and Peter Cushing plays a general.
The major problem I have with "Scream and Scream Again" is the lack of the marquee stars. Vincent Price is in the movie maybe fifteen minutes, Christopher Lee present for six minutes and Peter Cushing is in a scene that lasts maybe two and half minutes, isn't that disgusting? I was also very disappointed with the lack of interaction between the three stars. Price & Lee share a scene; Cushing is on an island alone.
However once I got pass the lack of the “big 3” and confusing story, this was one entertaining movie. There was plenty of action and the pathos of the 1970s is extremely apparent, right down to the theme song that shares the name of the film. In other words I never felt like I was bored. There is one scene where a pseudo man ripped his hand off from a hand cuff, interesting stuff. I truly wish that “Scream and Scream Again” didn’t even mention that Peter Cushing was in the movie. A surprise cameo would have been cooler, if one can’t tell I am a Cushing fan.
I personally felt that “The Oblong Box” is the stronger movie out of the two. The performances are better, the mood is more eerie, and the film is leveled yet not schizophrenic. I didn’t find the pace of this movie slow or languid, rather it allowed for quite a nice zenith. Christopher Lee was sporting a gray wig in this movie, great stuff. It was also cool to see Mr. Lee call his housekeeper a slut, priceless. It is unfortunate that Lee and Price only share one small scene. However, in this movie Christopher Lee is listed as a “special guest star” yet has a much larger role than in “Scream and Scream Again”.
The DVD is a flipper disc, one movie on each side. As for special features, the movies have options for subtitles and the original trailer/preview is included. One footnote about the trailer for “Scream and Scream Again”, when Peter Cushing’s name is displayed it is over another actor. Huh? I digress, these movies are presented in letterbox and the picture is very clear. I would say these movies are a nice way to pass a couple of hours. I much rather watch them then mow the lawn.
What did you think of this review?