Thursday, January 20, 2011

Straight-Jacket (1964)

Joan Crawford stars as a scorned housewife who murders her cheating husband and his lover in a fit of rage right before the eyes of their young daughter. Years later, she is released into her daughter's custody, but it isn't long before she slips back into her own psychosis and bodies begin to turn up all around her. STRAIGHT-JACKET served as the first collaboration between PSYCHO writer Robert Bloch and director William Castle. The two patterned the film after the popular psycho-biddy sub-genre that was established two years earlier in WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, where a deranged older woman is pushed over the edge through jealousy or rage. Crawford is wickedly over-the-top in another one of her signature performances. Diane Baker also puts in a winning performance as Lucy's seemingly calm and collected daughter. Like HOMICIDAL and DEMENTIA 13 before it, STRAIGHT-JACKET features a surprising amount of on-screen violence and early gore that ramps up the shock value. While the twist ending comes as little surprise, the high level of camp and surprising ax murders make this a wild ride!

Rating: 7/10.
Gore: 6/10.

If you liked STRAIGHT-JACKET, check out:
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, FRIGHTMARE, HUSH... HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE.

9 comments:

  1. One of my faves.

    Best scene is when Joan starts dancing in front of the old phonograph and then lights a match on the record (right before she hit's on her daughter's boyfriend).

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  2. LOL! I actually enjoy this film quite a lot. Joan Crawford is pretty awesome in this. And I agree with Pax - that scene is pretty funny.

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  3. Definitely the best scene in the film, although I do like the claustrophobic closet scene as well. Only discovered this one for the first time guys!

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  4. Crawford did another one like this called BERSERK from '67 co-starring Ty Hardin, Michael Gough and Judy Geeson. It was another carnival set horror tale with Crazy Crawford persona built around it. It pops up on TCM occasionally. No DVD for it yet, I think.

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  5. Nice, Michael Gough and Crawford wrapped up in a CARNIVAL setting? That sounds like a winning combination to me V! Hey that reminds me, should I grab CARNIVAL OF HORRORS since I am such a fan of CITY OF THE DEAD?

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  6. Does CARNIVAL OF HORRORS have an aka, Carl? That name doesn't ring a bell.

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  7. I totally misspoke on that one, just looked it up and it was CIRCUS OF TERROR (aka PSYCHO-CIRCUS) starring Christopher Lee

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  8. Okay, you confused me there momentarily, Carl. CIRCUS OF TERROR is an aka for BERSERK, lol. The one you're referring to is that CIRCUS OF FEAR movie which seems to have that same aka as well. I have the BU dvd and never finished it. It bored me. It was more of a crime thriller type thing than horror. I got one of the defective discs that got out. You couldn't access any of the special features but the movie played fine. I didn't like it enough to send it back. I should probably watch it all the way through at some point, though.

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  9. Yeah that sounds about right, it only intrigued me because of Moxey and Lee, but I will pass and maybe Netflix down the road instead of making the buy

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