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The Oblong Box (1969)

R  |   |  Horror  |  11 June 1969 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 1,763 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 35 critic

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



(screenplay), (additional dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Newhartt
Rupert Davies ...
Uta Levka ...
Sally Geeson ...
Alister Williamson ...
Peter Arne ...
Hilary Heath ...
Elizabeth (as Hilary Dwyer)
Maxwell Shaw ...
Carl Rigg ...
Harry Baird ...
Godfrey James ...
James Mellor ...
John Barrie ...
Ivor Dean ...


In the end of the Nineteenth Century, the aristocrat Edward Markham is disfigured by sorcery in Africa by the natives. His brother Julian Markham brings him back to the Markham Manor in England and keeps him prisoner in the attic. The mad Edward asks his lawyer Trench and his partner to bring the African sorcerer N'Galo in secret to heal him but Julian does not allow any contact with his brother. Trench and N'Galo simulate the death of Edward to remove him from the attic in a coffin. However, body snatchers bring his body to the unscrupulous Dr. Newhartt for his research. Edward offers a large amount to Dr. Newhartt to stay hidden in his house and wears a crimson hood to hide his face. When Edward goes to the town, his mask brings problem to him and he begins a series of murders. When he finally meets N'Galo, he finds why the natives have deformed him and he seeks revenge. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edgar Allan Poe's Classic Tale Of The Living Dead! See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and sexual content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 June 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dance, Mephisto  »

Box Office


$175,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Michael Reeves was originally chosen to direct this movie, but was replaced by Gordon Hessler during the pre-production. Shooting began November 18, and was completed in December, two months before Reeves died in February 1969. See more »


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 »


Trench: 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.
See more »


Featured in Fantastic Fantasy Fright-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (1996) See more »


Tales from the Vienna Woods
Music by Johann Strauß
Arranged by Harry Robertson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fantastic Gothic Horror
14 May 2007 | by (Salzburg, Austria) – See all my reviews

Gordon Hessler's "The Oblong Box" of 1969 starring the great Vincent Price is a creepy, and excellent Horror tale with a great atmosphere. The movie, whose cast also includes another great horror icon, Christopher Lee, is only loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name, a fact that, in my opinion, does not downsize the quality of this eerie and obscure film. "The Oblong Box" combines all kinds of elements a fan of Gothic Horror cinema could desire: Voodoo, disfigurement, premature burial, and of course a constant eerie atmosphere and a bunch of bloody murders.

In 18th century England, Sir Julian Markham (Vincent Price) keeps his brother Edward (Aliester Williamson) locked in a chamber in the tower of his mansion. Edward had been disfigured during a voodoo ceremony in Africa, and since gone completely insane. With some help, however, Edward manages to fake his own death in order to flee his prison, using methods which include a premature burial...

Vincent Price is my favorite actor of all-time and his performance is, as always, superb, and no other actor would have fit in his role as Price does. Christopher Lee also delivers a great performance as a body-snatching doctor, a role in which he once again proves that his reputation as a horror icon is more than justified. The cast furthermore includes the beautiful Hillary Dwyer, who had already starred besides Price in Michael Reeves' masterpiece "Witchfinder General" in 1968, and who would play besides Price again in 1970, in "Cry Of The Banshee", also directed by Gordon Hessler, in the female lead.

An excellently written and directed and superbly acted movie, "The Oblong Box" is a film which fans of Gothic Horror can't afford to miss. "Witchfinder General" director Michael Reeves was originally considered to direct the film, but died before the shooting began, and although I have utmost respect for this promising director, who sadly passed away at such a young age, I must say that I cannot imagine anyone to do a better job directing "The Oblong Box" than Hessler did. An excellent little tale of terror, "The Oblong Box" is a must-see for every Horror-fan. 9/10

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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