The story centers around a murderous scheme to collect a rich inheritance. The object of murder is Miriam Webster, who is to share in the inheritance with her half brother Warren, who lives with his childhood guardian Helga in the mansion where Warren and Mariam grew up. Confined to a wheelchair after recently suffering a stroke, Helga is cared for by her nurse Emily, a strange young woman who has formed a close bond with Warren. Written by
The premiere was held at the Palace Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio with producer William Castle in attendance. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, the calendar in the hotel shows the date as September 5th. Emily tells the bellhop they must marry on September 6th (this is so they will be married by Warren's 21st birthday). But in a close-up of Warren's birth certificate, it shows August 7th, 1940 as his birth date. So they're gonna have to wait nearly a year to celebrate. See more »
I remember when we were kids, you took this doll away from me and I never saw it again.
You want it? Take it.
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At the end of the film Joan Marshall's characters Emily/Warren come out to face the audience, via split screen, and take a bow! See more »
William Castle "borrowed" rather liberally from Hitchcock's slightly earlier PSYCHO for this tale of a knife-wielding blonde beauty--but as usual, he gave it his famous showman's tacky spin. In theatrical release, the film featured a "fright break:" as the action approaches a climax, a clockface appears on the screen and Castle himself urges those too terrified to return to the lobby for a full refund. But there was, of course, a catch: you had to walk in yellow footsteps applied to the carpet past the jeering audience and agree to sit in "The Coward's Corner" until the movie was over and every one had filed out past you! Needless to say, few (if any) movie-goers ever took him up on it.
But the famous "Fright Break" isn't the only thing HOMICIDAL has going for it. The story itself is more sophisticated than that of most William Castle films, and the female leads are quite effective. Jean Arless, a surprising beauty, is quite startling as "The Homicidal Girl"--a blonde bombshell who has a way with a knife--while both Patricia Breslin and Eugenie Leontovich are quite convincing as two of those on her list of intended victims. And lastly, the film offers a surprise conclusion that can still blindside some less suspecting viewers even today.
That aside, HOMICIDAL has plenty of camp appeal, all of it resting on Jean Arless' WAY over the top performance as she entices, ices, and slices her way from one victim to the next--and as one reviewer has already remarked, you'll feel pretty sure that Annie Lennox borrowed Arless' look (and in some pretty unexpected ways, too) for several of her videos. I must admit that I don't consider HOMICIDAL in the same league with other William Castle schlock-favorites such as 13 GHOSTS, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, or STRAIT-JACKET--largely, I think, because it seems Castle really is making a bid for cinematic respectability here and that sorta detracts from the fun. But all the same, most fans of Castle's silly horror flicks should get a stab--I mean, a KICK--out of it!
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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