Near a small Utah town, visiting lawyer David Hewson finds the slashed body of party girl Marcia Morgan, his fellow tenant at Parry Lodge. Sheriff Jess Holmes considers everyone at the motel a suspect, even owner Edmund Parry, a woman hater who is quadriplegic...or is he? While Holmes investigates and the suspects try to hide mutual fears, the killer strikes again... —Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Surly whodunit set in Utah; camp with a clenched-jaw...
Unbelievable murder-mystery centering around an upscale lodge in Utah, wherein sheriff John Dehner (in a cowboy hat) investigates the gruesome slaying of a blonde actress, a "man-hating witch" who had plenty of enemies. Soon, more bodies start popping up, the main suspects being: Lex Barker as the local he-man (with his navel judiciously covered at the pool), Ron Randell as an anti-social quadriplegic, Anne Bancroft as his wet-nurse, Mamie Van Doren as a model, and Larry Chance as Indian Joe (Chance appears to believe his character is a Wooden Indian instead of a Drunken Indian). Low-budget adaptation of Peter Godfrey's short story "Wanton Murder", this B-flick might have been a hoot had it been directed with some flair. Unfortunately, Howard W. Koch (who later became a famous producer) sets up this whodunit like a plodding amateur, and most of the acting is atrocious (including La Bancroft). Van Doren has an oddly surreal tipsy scene that rates as pure camp and Dan Blocker is fun as a leering bartender (how come he isn't a suspect?), but the poor writing defeats Dehner and Randell. The title is mysteriously irrelevant, however the setting is unusual and the black-and-white cinematography isn't bad. Les Baxter's melodramatic score heightens the ridiculousness, but serious movie-lovers will only scoff. ** from ****
- Oct 13, 2008
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