Tower Of London is a Shakespeare mash-up woven through the horror genre. This 1962 Roger Corman film takes elements of Richard III, Hamlet and Macbeth and crafts the tale of Richard of Gloucester (Vincent Price), the brother of a dying king who will stop at nothing to reach the throne. It’s a tale of lust, madness and horror told in the fashion of Corman and Price’s Edgar Allan Poe films.
Roger Corman is often seen a schlock-meister, but his films had a surprising amount of depth. Sure, they were cheap to make and shot at a ridiculously fast rate but when you look at something like Tower Of London you see an interesting historical drama that uses the work of Shakespeare as a stepping-off point. That’s an interesting concept for any film, but especially one seen as a low budget fright pic. With more money, this could have been a prestige picture, but instead we get a curious little horror with a lot of interesting elements.
Vincent Price delivers another great performance as the man playing his very own game of thrones. This flawed villain is the type of role Price excelled at and he doesn’t disappoint as the machiavellian ruler who kills friends and family to become king. This might not be Shakespeare, but it’s close.
Tower Of London is a fascinating film. It’s not for gore hounds, but it’s a very interesting historical horror for fans of Roger Corman and Vincent Price. It might be one of the duo’s lesser known films but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeking out.
Tower of London is given an impressive release by Arrow Films. First-up, you get a nifty High Definition transfer from the original film elements. There’s an interesting audio commentary by Vincent Price’s biographer David Del Valle and Tara Gordon, the daughter of Leo Gordon the film’s screenwriter. The disc also comes with an interview with Roger Corman and one with his brother Gene Corman, who produced the film. All are informative and you learn that the battle-scene at the end of the film is stock footage used to add scope and save time/money.