Cast: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich, and Jean Arless
Director: William Castle
Synopsis: A Statuesque Hitchcockian Blonde with a murderous rage and a dark secret is spreading terror in a peaceful community.
The Wonderful William Castle reimagines Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho with profoundly entertaining results. The film falls somewhere in line with Psycho, and Dressed to Kill with its own interpretation and Castle, true to form, comes away with a rip roaringly fun ride with some seriously dodgy psychology lessons and equally questionable rationality. There is a tall, shapely but deadly blonde in the true Hitchcockian style driving around town running her dodgy errands looking very much like Janet Leigh at times; or rather trying to look very much like Janet Leigh. There are moments of suspense; it seems the woman is as immoral as she is outwardly beautiful in the style of Janet Leigh from Psycho and soon the worst suspicions are confirmed after she loses it completely with an attorney and stabs him viciously to death right in front of a startled new husband she has arranged to marry for about five minutes.
Here is a cool, striking immaculately coiffed blonde about town who has a mean streak and a rage that is literally murderous.
The film winds its way to a spectacularly amusing Psycho like showdown scene where all is revealed, even though you have probably guessed it from the first two minutes of the movies onset. William Castle tries his best to match Hitchcock’s innovation and style and fails miserably yet still manages to put together a film that is never less than entertaining if shamelessly and laughably derivative at times.
The “Fright Break” arrives not a moment too soon as our murderous blonde starts to disappear for periods of time and the body count rises. We are introduced to a rather effeminate sibling who appears refuses to accept that his sister Emily could harbor any murderous rage. Meanwhile there are lectures and ponderous moments of wisdom with discussions on what makes people “homicidal” interjected awkwardly mimicking the epilogue in Psycho. There are positives as well such as the beautiful camerawork and lighting and the performances especially of the two female leads are noticeably solid and there are some moments of tension along the way.
There was a reason Castle was known as the Poor Man’s Hitchcock but the fact is even the comparison itself is way too flattering. Castle directed some wonderfully enjoyable light hearted and light weight horror films with his gimmickry and flair for theatrics coming to the fore especially in the field of marketing his product. There were later tales of Castle being a total fraud who had somehow tricked his way into becoming a Hollywood producer-director but whatever the dubious connections may have been or dubious intentions even, never did William Castle direct a boring film and certainly Homicidal is a bit of a scream!