6.0/10
3,135
51 user 55 critic

The Oblong Box (1969)

R | | Horror | 11 June 1969 (USA)
Aristocrat Julian Markham keeps his disfigured brother, Sir Edward, locked in a tower of his house. Sir Edward occasionally escapes and causes havoc around the town.

Director:

Gordon Hessler

Writers:

Edgar Allan Poe (short story), Lawrence Huntington (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Price ... Julian
Christopher Lee ... Dr. J. Neuhartt
Rupert Davies ... Kemp
Uta Levka ... Heidi
Sally Geeson Sally Geeson ... Sally
Alister Williamson ... Edward
Peter Arne ... Trench
Hilary Heath ... Elizabeth (as Hilary Dwyer)
Maxwell Shaw Maxwell Shaw ... Hackett
Carl Rigg ... Norton
Harry Baird ... N'Galo
Godfrey James Godfrey James ... Weller
James Mellor James Mellor ... Holt
John Barrie ... Franklin
Ivor Dean ... Hawthorne
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Deep beneath the dank ground where vile things crawl among the slime a pale hand twitches and a beatless heart still hungers for revenge. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was originally supposed to film in Dublin, Ireland. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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.
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Alternate Versions

The Thorn-EMI Video version and some TV prints slightly trim the murder scene of the prostitute, in which Edward gropes at her chest and slits her throat. Originally, her breast is briefly visible and the cutting of her throat are both longer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in House of the Long Shadows (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Tales from the Vienna Woods
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Arranged by Harry Robertson
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User Reviews

 
A very versatile tale of terror
23 December 2004 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

We have all kind of barbarities featuring in this dark and moody tale. Only the wicked pen of Edgar Allen Poe could have come up with a tale that blends voodoo, body snatching, medical experiments, brotherly betrayal and a taste of what most likely is the worst imaginable nightmare: being buried alive! Set in the second half of the 19th century, Vincent Price (oh, how I love this man) stars as a wealthy landlord who returned from Africa severely traumatized. His brother got cursed by the aboriginals there and now lives locked up in his room, heavily deformed. But he's still clever enough to plan an escape and pays some small crooks to have him appear dead. Due to several unfortunate events, the plan goes wrong and Sir Edward's supposedly dead body ends up in the laboratory of morbid scientist Christopher Lee (another man I love!)

The entire film carries some sort of unnameable eeriness. The depressing set pieces and colorless locations add a great deal to the sublime horrific atmosphere. All this, together with an intriguing and complex screenplay makes this movie yet another highlight in the careers of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. Both icons of horror give away amazing performances and it's actually a damn shame they don't share many sequences together. This is a marvelous film from the time that horror still was the greatest genre in cinema. They simply can't deliver movies as good as this anymore. Maybe I'm giving it a little too much praise but you can't but agree with me that at least this kind of horror oldies demand a much wider attention span than the nowadays gore-junk. For that aspect alone, I feel obliged to give it a high rating.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Oblong Box See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP70,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (UK)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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