In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »
Rowland V. Lee
Three horror stories based on the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the first story titled "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", Heidegger attempts to restore the youth of himself, his fiancee ... See full summary »
In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to ... See full summary »
On the death of his brother King Edward IV, Richard of Gloucester conspires to get the throne for himself. The late King had two young sons, his heir, Edward V and the younger Prince Richard, but they are not of age and so names his other brother, Clarence as Lord Protector of the Realm. Gloucester soon kills his younger brother but is haunted by his ghost and what he has done. As he continues to kill those around him, Gloucester is haunted by those he has betrayed hearing voices and slowly descending into madness. He spreads rumors that the late King's two sons are illegitimate and therefore not eligible to ascend to the throne. He assassinates the young princes and is crowned King Richard III. The ghosts from his past have the final say however.Written by
When Richard pushes the freshly murdered Clarence into the vat, you can see Clarence take a deep breath and hold it, just prior to being submerged. See more »
You have executed a most trusted woman of this court without trial. You say that your motives are honorable? Those that suspect treason in others, should first look into their own hearts for loyalty.
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Feels limp and hurried compared to the Corman-Poe cycle
Tower of London represented the first time Roger Corman and star Vincent Price had worked outside of the American International Pictures studio, and likely soon regretted the decision shortly into the shooting process. Producer Edward Small had approached Corman with the idea of making a film based on Richard III, and the thought of tackling Shakespeare clearly appealed to the B-movie auteur. Knowing that audiences were tiring of his still-popular Edgar Allen Poe cycle, Corman could stick to his Gothic, cobweb-laden style, only this time under the guise of the Bard. Tensions began to simmer almost straight away, as Small only informed Corman that the film would be shot in black-and-white days before filming was to commence. Price had a legion of fans anyway, but the box-office receipts quickly started to dwindle as word-of-mouth got around that the film was not in colour.
The result is a mixed bag. Part a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III and part remake of Rowland V. Lee's superior 1939 effort of the same name, Tower of London still has plenty to offer to fans of these low-budget spook stories, and Price has so much fun that his performance would be more digestible if served with mayonnaise and bread. He plays the sneering, hunchbacked eldest brother of the dying King Edward IV (Justice Watson), and is shocked and angered when his younger brother George, the Duke of Clarence (Charles Macaulay), is named Protector of the Realm instead of him. It isn't long before George finds himself in a vat of wine with a knife in his back, and Richard sets about turning family against family in his bloodthirsty quest for the throne. Price actually played the Duke of Clarence in Lee's previous film, and it almost feels like Price takes great pleasure in stealing the lead role and disposing of his replacement.
Although Corman was working away from home, the aesthetic is certainly recognisable. The sets are small but detailed, but there aren't many of them. Price schemes and snarls in only a handful of locations, but Corman counteracts this by focusing more on the supernatural elements. The ghosts of those Richard kills frequently haunt him, driving him to a paranoid madness that results in the death of his beloved wife. Price goes way over-the-top in these moments, even for an actor who was well-known for delighting in ham, but watching him engulf the screen never gets old. The budget restrictions set in place by Small were even too much for Corman, and he insisted their three-picture contract be torn up after the film was released. The result is a laughable climax that has ended before you even realise it has begun, and the great Battle of Bosworth Field is reduced to a few silly close-ups and re-used stock footage from the 1939 version. It doesn't demand much at 79 minutes, but Tower of London feels limp and hurried when compared to the lushness of Corman and Price's Poe adaptations.
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