Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Homicidal (1961)

One in a long line of PSYCHO-imitators from the 60's, HOMICIDAL begins with Emily, an alluring young blond, seducing a bellboy into marrying her for a handsome fee. Before the ceremony is complete, she murders the Justice of the Peace and flees into the night. She returns to the household where she nurses the elderly Helga, but the family members quickly become suspicious of her frequent disappearances, especially after her likeness appears in the local papers. What follows is a twisted tale of greed and murder surrounding her husband Warren, his sister, and their father's enticing inheritance. HOMICIDAL may have broken free of its B-movie roots if it were not for Joan Marshall's wild-eyed expressions and hammy overacting that can never be taken seriously. She certainly acts crazy, but she appears to be completely detached from the character in a cold and emotionless performance. Most genre-enthusiasts will spot the obvious plot twist very early on in the script, when the audience is first introduced to the rat-like Warren. The "Fright Break" gimmick that occurs right at the climax also destroys what little suspense is left over in the end. Always the showman, William Castle still brings a refreshingly crisp cinematography and expert framing to the picture, which makes up for many of the sillier elements in the film. Even with its familiar structure and expected ending, HOMICIDAL is one of Castle's stronger thrillers, and a worthy nod to the PSYCHO legacy.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked HOMICIDAL, check out:
STRAIGHT-JACKET, SCREAM OF FEAR, DEMENTIA 13.

6 comments:

  1. I remember seeing this a year or so ago. More weird than scary, I think. But worth the time.

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  2. I still havn't seen this, will have to give this a go

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  3. Sounds interesting. I'll have to add it that ever growing pile of movies to watch.

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  4. As a silly PSYCHO, this one can definitely be fun, be sure to grab it in the William Castle box set for more ghoulish fun!

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  5. I saw this film when I was 18years old in 1962, and i was so scared that I was unable to sleep for 3 nights. The scene with the shadow on the staircase scared the **** out of me!
    During the "fright break" we were forbidden to tell anyone the end of the story on pain of something horrible happening, and i never dared!
    I watched it again for the first time this year and could not believe my previous naivety. Any 18year old watching the film today would immediately know what was going on but I did not.
    It's best to try not to judge the outdated "hammines" of the acting, and try to realise that in its time, it was a very very scarey film x

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  6. Thanks for sharing the story! See that is exactly the problem with rewatching these films now-a-days, I would give anything to have inventive gimmicks like that added to my theater-going experiences, but on video it just doesnt have the same effect.

    We have all had the benefit of seeing Psycho and so many other ripoffs that the ending just sticks out now, but I can only imagine how it must have seemed then!

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