Sir Edward Markham is the victim of a voodoo curse which has caused his face to become horribly disfigured. He is kept captive in the attic of his house by his brother Julian. Sir Edward escapes, moves in with an unscrupulous doctor who hires grave robbers to steal bodies for his research, wears a red hood over his face, and kills a good number of townspeople before the surprise ending. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
When Sir Edward murders Heidi the prostitute, the special effects knife clearly sprays blood onto the actresses' neck well before it actually touches her. See more »
Sir Edward. I thought you've been-
Sir Edward Markham:
Buried. Yes. Waking up in that horrible oblong box, no air to breathe, trapped and no escape. Earth raining down on the lid, every shovel full burying you more deeply.
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This 1969 film heralded the first on-screen teaming of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee - shamefully, they only get one scene together (why couldn't the film-makers of the time put the horror masters together in a film successfully?).
Despite being beseiged by production problems - the writer Lawrence Huntington died shortly after completing the script and the original director, Michael Reeves was replaced by Gordon Hesler, due to his dependence on drugs and suicidal tendencies (he actually committed suicide in February 1969) - the film has a very eerie and atmospheric feel to it.
The plot is guilty of becoming too involved for its own good, but given there is always a general understanding of what is going on, the film does not suffer. Indeed, the period atmosphere is well-maintained and is supplemented by plenty of suspense and shock, not least due to the large content of scenes taking place during nightfall.
We are also cleverly kept guessing as to what Edward Markham's face is really like under the scarlet hood, and since this naturally becomes a preoccupation with the viewer, one is entitled to expect a horrific revelation at the end. It does come and depending on what you pre-judge his face to look like, I was not particularly disappointed!
Vincent Price and Christopher Lee's characterisations are not that pivotal and their performances tend to be just enough to carry the film through - they are really secondary, in a film stolen by Alister Williamson as the revenge killer.
Nevertheless, this film is well-worth a look, mainly due to it's originality and ambition.
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