REVIEW: The Oblong Box (1969)

REVIEW: The Oblong Box (1969)
Staff Writer

The Oblong Box

Buy The Oblong Box from Amazon
TITLE: The Oblong Box


DIRECTOR: Gordon Hessler

CAST: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Alister Williamson, Rupert Davies, Uta Levka and Sally Geeson

PLOT: Revenge, justice and murder served up at knife point in Hessler’s tale of brotherly love and Voodoo.

FUN FACT: This movie was respected supporting actor Alister Williamson’s only starring role. Unfortunately his voice was deemed unsuitable and he was dubbed by another actor.

140-CHARACTER MINI-REVIEW: Body snatching, murder and voodoo in this taught shocker, which is unrelated to the Poe story of the same name.


IMDB ENTRY: Click here



Sir Edward Markham (Alister Williamson) is cursed by a Voodoo Witch Doctor for an unidentified transgression.

Held captive by his brother, Julian (Price), he longs for freedom and so fakes his death to escape his brother’s control.

However, it all goes wrong when crooked family lawyer, Trench, leaves Sir Edward in the grave, expecting him to die.

Cue hapless grave robbers who, upon “resurrecting” Sir Edward, deliver the “corpse” to Dr Newhartt (Lee), where he revives.

Having first-hand knowledge of Lee’s illegal activities, Sir Edward blackmails the unlucky Doctor in to giving him shelter and a base of operations from which to plan and execute his bloody revenge.

This movie is a thickly cut slice of gothic horror coupled with post-Colonial guilt, boasting lush, Hammer-like sets and top notch directing.

Originally, The Oblong Box was intended to be directed by Michael Reeves but, owing to his untimely death at the age of 25 a substitute had to be found.

Hessler does a good job and would go on to distinguish himself in several modestly successful genre films, but one can’t help but imagine what this movie could have been with Reeve at the helm.

Ultimately, the main weakness of this tale is the make-up job used to realise Sir Edward’s “curse”. It looks like a bad case of acne.

Hessler does do a first rate job of gradually revealing Sir Julian’s crime for which he was cursed.

I won’t spoil it for you but the denouement does pack a bit of a punch. Poignant also is Price’s fate.

There are no winners in this movie and one is left with the inescapable conclusion that one’s sins will always find one out.

Guest writer CHARLIE ALBERTSON was born in Yorkshire but has lived in Northamptonshire for 24 year where he teaches Media Studies and English.  Married with two children, obsessed by horror movies, prog rock and PS3, Charlie’s own blog can be read here.

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Films

The Unkindness of Ravens

The Unkindness Of Ravens

MJ Steel Collins30th November 2015
Pride and Predjudice and Zombies

New trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! VIDEO

David Saunderson26th November 2015

Crimson Peak (2015) REVIEW

Ann O'Regan9th November 2015

An Evening with Boris Karloff and His Friends (1967) AUDIO

Richard Phillips-Jones25th October 2015
Harry Potter and Half Blood Prince Film Poster

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009) REVIEW

Sarah Blair-Dickinson20th October 2015

Uncovering 1970s Horror Memories

David Saunderson17th October 2015

One Way, coming this way in 2016

Richard Phillips-Jones16th October 2015

The Phantom Of The Opera (1989) REVIEW

Richard Phillips-Jones15th October 2015
The Redwood Massacre

The Redwood Massacre (2014) REVIEW

Andrew Garvey10th October 2015

The Fall Of The House Of Usher (1949) REVIEW

Richard Phillips-Jones7th October 2015

Corruption (1967) REVIEW

Richard Phillips-Jones1st October 2015

Fallen Soldiers (2015) REVIEW

Simon Ball16th September 2015