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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Homicidal (1961)

A young woman (Joan Marshall) offers a bellboy (Richard Rust) $2,000 to marry her with the provision that the marriage be annulled immediately after the ceremony. However, immediately after they are pronounced man and wife by the Justice of the Peace (James Westerfield), it becomes clear that she is a psychotic murderess! Directed by William Castle (HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL), this film is seriously indebted to Hitchcock's PSYCHO. The unkind may call it a rip-off but the more charitable are inclined to call it a homage. But as far as imitations that PSYCHO spawned, this one is actually very good. Castle was more a showman than a film artist but he gives HOMICIDAL a nice sheen of artistry by his Oscar winning collaborators like cinematographer Burnett Guffey (BONNIE AND CLYDE) and composer Hugo Friedhofer (BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES) and an excellent central performance by Marshall (who's billed under a fictitious name). Ever the showman, Castle inserts a "fright break" in the film's last 10 minutes to allow the faint of heart to leave. Contemporary LGBT audiences may find the film's correlation of gender politics with psychopathic behavior disturbing but to be fair, the film places the blame squarely on the manipulation of cisgender adults. With Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin and Eugenie Leontovich. 

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