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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
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 »
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Sir Julian Markham (Vincent Price) is an aristocrat of the late 19th century that keeps his disturbed brother Edward locked up in a tower of his manor; the man has been disfigured by natives in Africa when blamed for the accidental killing of a child. But Edward manages to escape and seeks revenge against Julian.
Director Gordon Hessler -not a top one at all if you see his filmography- gets a sort of morbid and languid atmosphere and settings that help the picture; but too many turns and items in the plot (voo-doo, madness, revenge, killings, treason, body snatching, romance and else- sort of disperse the focus in the main events -to put it somehow- and the final product comes out just standard.
Vincent Price and Cristopher Lee as a doctor that steals corpses for experiments are at their usual level and in some way save the picture (without them "The Oblong Box" would have been a complete failure).
Perhaps the main flaw is the character of Edward that appears too light for a villain or monster and even lacks impact when his ruined face is shown at the end; in fact you feel sorry for the guy since he's not scary at all.
Fans of Price, Lee and Gothic horror won't probably be disappointed but even then just one watch is enough. You always have the feeling that keeping the basic story and making it much more simpler would have made a good product in the genre; but it didn't come out that way.
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