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Tower of London

USA 1962
produced by
Gene Corman, Edward Small (executive) for Admiral Pictures
directed by Roger Corman
starring Vincent Price, Michael Pate, Joan Freeman, Robert Brown, Bruce Gordon, Joan Camden, Richard Hale, Sandra Knight, Charles Macauly, Justice Watson, Sarah Selby, Donald Losby, Sara Taft, Eugene Martin, Morris Ankrum, Gene Roth
story by Leo Gordon, F.Amos Powell, screenplay by Leo Gordon, F.Amos Powell, James B.Gordon (= Robert E.Kent), music by Michael Anderson

Richard III

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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England, 1483: On his death bed, King Edward IV (Justice Watson) makes his brother Clarence (Charles Macauly) protector of his two sons (Donald Losby, Eugene Martin), much to the dismay of his other brother, hunchbacked and malformed Richard III (Vincent Price), who wants nothing more than rule England (modest chap, isn't he?). So Richard murders his brother Clarence to become protector of the boys in his stead, then puts the blame of Clarence's death on Edward IV's wife's family. Not content yet though, Richard has the midwife (Sandra Knight) present at the birth of Edward's sons tortured so she claims the boys were not really Edward's children - but she refuses and he tortures her to death. Thing is, all those he has killed come back to haunt him, driving him to the brink of madness - so much so that in a fit of rage he eventually strangles his wife (Joan Camden) to death, the one woman who always stood by his side.

Haunted or not though, in his quest for power, Richard gets more and more ruthless, so much so that his own mother, the Queen (Sarah Selby) opposes him - to no avail though, eventually, Richard even kills the sons of Edward IV with his own hands ... but they too come to haunt him, and at one instant even try to lure him to jump off his castle walls. He is saved though and soon proclaims himself King.

Eventually, those loyal to the late Edward IV and to the Queen mother start a rebellion, and in the all-decisive battle at Bosworth, Richard is again haunted by those he has killed, and ultimately falls into the battle axe of a deceased soldier, fulfilling a prophecy to be killed by the hands of a dead man.

 

Squeezed in between his Edgar Allen Poe adaptations and made with largely the same cast (and maybe even on the same sets), Roger Corman made this little a period drama reminiscent of Shakespeare (not in language but in topic, after all Shakespeare wrote his own version of the story in Richard III), but with strong macabre overtones. The outcome is an obviously cheap but surprisingly effective piece of horror cinema in period settings, that might not at all be historically accurate, but it's extremely haunting and atmospheric. And while an older version of the story, Tower of London from 1939 (which also featured Vincent Price and from which the battle scenes were borrowed for this film), is a rather conventional historical on a reasonable large scale, this low budget version of the story limited in sets and cast of characters comes off as way more atmospheric and convincing (even if it lacks in accuracy, as mentioned above). And of course, Vincent Price's self-consciously hammy performance really carries the whole thing. Really worth a watch.

 

By the way, the film wasn't supposed to be in black and white originally, but executive producer Edward Small decided on it (for cost-cutting measures, presumably) and told Corman about it only days before shooting.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD