“Tell me — what really did happen in Africa?”
After being disfigured in an African voodoo ritual, a now-insane man (Alister Williamson)– whose guilt-ridden brother (Vincent Price), hoping to peacefully marry his fiancee (Hilary Dwyer), keeps him locked in the attic — seeks help from a crooked lawyer (Peter Arne) in receiving a potion from a witch-doctor (Harry Baird) that will put him into a death-like coma and allow him to escape. Complications ensue when a scientist (Christopher Lee) studying grave-robbed bodies opens Williamson’s oblong-coffin, and Williamson — wearing a red mask — begins a spree of revenge across the city.
- Christopher Lee Films
- Disfigured Faces
- Edgar Allan Poe Films
- Horror Films
- Vincent Price Films
Gordon Hessler directed this Edgar Allan Poe-“inspired” AIP flick, originally slated as a project for Michael Reeves — director of The She-Beast (1966), The Sorcerers (1967), and The Witchfinder General (1968) — before Reeves’ unexpected death at age 25. Unfortunately, everything here seems to have suffered as a result of this shift at the helm: while the film isn’t confusing, and the sets and cinematography are appropriately atmospheric, it never quite coheres or engages; not even Price can resurrect the overall mood. The most refreshing element of the film is Price’s admission about whites wreaking havoc on and taking advantage of the people of Africa, leading to mutual misery.
Note: Price and Lee appear together on-screen near the end, but only for a brief moment, and they don’t exchange dialogue.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Atmospheric cinematography and sets
No; feel free to skip this one.