The London mass murderer

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German title The London mass murderer
Original title Tower of London
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1962
length 80 minutes
Age rating FSK 18
Director Roger Corman
script Leo Gordon
F. Amos Powell
Robert E. Kent
production Gene Corman
Edward Small
music Michael Anderson
camera Arch R. Dalzell
cut Ronald Sinclair

The London Mass Murderer is an American horror film- drama from 1962 directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price . The film is based in parts on William Shakespeare's royal dramas Richard III. and Macbeth .


The English royal court in 1483. After the death of Edward IV of England, his ruthless and power-obsessed brother Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, undertakes to usurp the crown of the country. However, the late father has appointed another brother, George, the Duke of Clarence, as protector of his young son and heir to the throne, Prince Edward. Richard desperately wants to take over George's position in order to become the alleged “protector” of the still underage king himself after his death. Richard stabs George with a dagger and now takes over the patronage of the underage Edward. Richard's wife Anne not only approves of Richard's murder, she even encourages her nefarious husband to take control of the throne herself. To get closer to his goal, Richard urges the widowed Queen's lady-in-waiting, Mistress Shore, to swear that Prince Edward could not be the son of the late king, but rather a bastard. When the maid of honor refuses, Richard tortures her. When the girl dies on the rack, Richard spreads the rumor that the lady-in-waiting had to die because she had spread the rumor that the underage king was of illegitimate origin.

So close to the goal, Richard the Spirits of the Dead, Edward IV, Brother George and Mistress Shore appear and haunt him like a curse. They prophesy that he will have to atone for his misdeeds and that one day, at “Bosworth”, he would be killed by a dead man himself. When the mind of Lady-in-waiting Shore merges with Anne's body for a moment, Richard is so confused that, mistaking Anne for the returning lady-in-waiting, he strangles his own wife in a frenzy of madness. Richard now consults the Moorish doctor and magician Tire, who predicts that he will one day be king. Tire soon finds out that the villainous Richard is in danger of falling into insanity. Worried about the safety of Prince Edward and his brother, he informs Sir Jasper, a young aristocrat who is looking after the young king and his brother. Jasper therefore consults with his girlfriend Lady Margaret and develops a plan to save the royal offspring. He manages to get the young Duke of York and his mother free, but he is captured as well as the underage King Edward V. Also Lady Margaret, who wanted to seek the help of her father Thomas Stanley, the Earl of Derby , falls into Richard's clutches.

Richard spares the imprisoned Jasper because he needs him to negotiate with the Earl, who plays an important role in the kingdom. Thomas Stanley's support for Richard in his role as protector of the minor king is essential, but the Earl has so far refused it. The archbishop has meanwhile given protection to the young king brother, the Duke of York, and his mother at Westminster Abbey. Richard puts massive pressure on the prince of the church to deliver the royal offspring to him. Sir Richard Ratcliffe, as ruthless as his namesake and sidekick, helps him with this. The Protector thinks he is about to reach his destination and now murders both princes in their beds. Now finally the way is free to become King of England yourself. Now, however, the ghosts of the two youngest youthful murder victims also haunt him. They lure him onto the battlements of the Tower of London in order to let him fall down from there. At the last moment the Duke of Buckingham rescues him there, but he himself has doubts about the new king's mental health. The Duke talks to Richard Ratcliffe and says that both should join Thomas Stanley to overthrow the king. But Ratcliffe reveals Buckingham's plan to King Richard, who then arrests the duke and has him tortured to death.

Meanwhile, Tire helps Jasper rescue Princess Lady Margaret, but is fatally injured while trying to escape. Jasper and Margaret join Stanley in encouraging him to finally overthrow Richard from the throne. Meanwhile, King Richard is crowned, but he still has to struggle with delusional fears. He has not forgotten the prophecy of yore. Richard Ratcliffe informs the monarch that Stanley has entered the village of Bosworth with an army. The king declares that he will fight him. When Ratcliffe learns that Stanley is being supported by the Earl of Richond's men in the campaign to overthrow Richard, Ratcliffe advises his friend to flee immediately. In the battle of Bosworth Field, King Richard, whose army has suffered a major defeat, is left alone. The ghosts of his victims emerge one last time and he tries to fight them. Jasper, Stanley and Richmond watch as Richard waves his sword through the air against an imaginary opponent they cannot see. The king tries to mount a horse, but falls to the ground, falls into the battle ax of a fallen soldier and dies.

Production notes

The film, shot in just 15 days in early 1962, premiered on October 24, 1962 in the United States. The German premiere took place on May 1, 1964.

The film is a slightly ironic remake of the US film of the same name (Tower of London) from 1939, which was released in Germany in 1952 under the title Der Henker von London . Vincent Price also starred in the first version, but at that time still had to be content with the supporting role of George von Clarence.

Daniel Haller designed the film structures , Marjorie Corso designed the costumes. The very young Francis Ford Coppola directed the dialogue.


Corman was very dissatisfied with the finished product due to the behavior of the main producer Edward Small (only black and white production, tiny budget, constant script changes, etc.) and called his own production "the stupidest thing I have ever shot".

Further assessments:

"Flat, paper mache-like production."

- Leonard Maltin : Movie & Video Guide, 1996 edition, p. 1363

"Roger Corman this time on the trail of Shakespeare and the British royal dramas - a horror film with a dash of self-irony."

"All pretty cheap, but sometimes lively melodrama."

- Leslie Halliwell : Halliwell's Film Guide, Seventh Edition, New York 1989, p. 1045

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Constantine Nasr: Roger Corman: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers Series). University Press of Mississippi. P. 17.
  2. The London Mass Murderer. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed November 15, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 

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