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Retro review: The Oblong Box - double trouble

BY David Parkinson

1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

Retro review: The Oblong Box - double trouble
There may be precious little Edgar Allan Poe beside the title, but this is still an intriguing addition to the celebrated AIP cycle.
Inheriting the project from an indisposed Michael Reeves, Gordon Hessler makes brisk work of a screenplay set in 1865 and replete with conniving siblings, voodoo witchdoctors, reckless resurrectionists, crooked lawyers, grasping prostitutes, deceived wives and amorous maids. But aficionados might wish for less Alister Williamson in a red hood and more Vincent Price, as the brother hiding the scarred monster away from the world after he is cursed in Africa.
A bit more Christopher Lee (in his first teaming with Price) might not have gone amiss, either, as the doctor discovering that the corpse he plans to dissect is not entirely dead. But the colonial guilt subtext is fascinating, as are the acerbic asides on class and gender, tradition and progress. And Price, of course, is mesmerising.
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