The Oblong Box

  • 1969
  • Movie
  • M
  • Horror

After being captured and horribly mutilated by natives in Africa, Williamson goes mad, forcing his brother, Price, to lock him in an upstairs room on their return to England. Desperate to escape, Williamson concocts a scheme to that end. With the help of an African witch doctor and several other confederates, Williamson takes a pill whose effects simulate...read more

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After being captured and horribly mutilated by natives in Africa, Williamson goes mad, forcing his brother, Price, to lock him in an upstairs room on their return to England. Desperate to escape, Williamson concocts a scheme to that end. With the help of an African witch doctor and several

other confederates, Williamson takes a pill whose effects simulate death. Once the coffin is removed from the house, his cohort will release him. Unfortunately, Williamson's partners double-cross him and allow him to be buried alive. Luckily, two grave robbers who supply fresh bodies for anatomist

Lee dig up Williamson and deliver him to the doctor. When the "corpse" revives, he blackmails the grave-robbing Lee into giving him sanctuary. Donning a crimson mask, the insane man prowls the area by night, cutting the throats of those who betrayed him. This movie was to have been directed by

Michael Reeves (THE CONQUEROR WORM), who began production but then died of a barbiturate overdose. Hessler stepped in, and (although one can only wonder what Reeves would have done with the material) the resultant film is a fairly effective chiller. Purportedly based on Poe's "The Premature

Burial," the plot--with its evil specter of British colonialism driving the narrative--follows even more closely Rudyard Kipling's short story "The Mark of the Beast." Price and Lee are billed prominently, but the film really belongs to Williamson, who cuts a rather menacing figure with his

crimson mask. Indeed, the film's biggest disappointment is the much-anticipated PHANTOM OF THE OPERA-like unmasking scene, which reveals Williamson's visage--not nearly as horrible as might have been imagined. Lee later claimed he took the small supporting role merely for the opportunity to work

with Price. Unfortunately, the two have only one fleeting scene together when Lee lies on the floor with his throat cut.

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  • Rating: M
  • Review: After being captured and horribly mutilated by natives in Africa, Williamson goes mad, forcing his brother, Price, to lock him in an upstairs room on their return to England. Desperate to escape, Williamson concocts a scheme to that end. With the help of a… (more)

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