After years in a mental institution, Ethel is taken in by her aunt. Many people including the head nurse of the institution and a local detective believe letting Ethel leave that hospital was a huge mistake.
William Allen Nugent
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John King III,
While trying to understand a frightening reoccurring nightmare, a pledge is coaxed into breaking into her father's department store by her sorority sisters, where a deranged killer targets the girls and their boyfriends.
After her doctors declare her ready to return to society, Ethel leaves the psychiatric hospital and goes to live with her grandmother. She soon develops a few odd habits, in particular a insatiable compulsion to eat massive amounts of food. When grandma locks away the food supply out of fear for her granddaughter's health, Ethel kills her for the keys to the pantry. Left to her own devices, she now indulges her hunger non-stop, murdering anyone who dares to stand in her way. Will anyone be able to put a stop to her?Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Made in 1973 but not released until a couple of years later, CRIMINALLY INSANE is probably the most famous movie made and released by IRMI Films of Pacifica, California. The film stars Bay Area actress Priscilla Alden as Ethel Janowski, an immensely obese misanthrope who is prematurely released from a mental institution and sent to live with her grandmother. Ethel's insatiable appetite for food causes problems for her grandmother, who promptly restricts her granddaughter's feeding habits. Big mistake! Ethel does away with granny and any other visitor that enters the house. Unforgettable ending.
This is probably the cheapest film I've ever seen (and believe me, I know cheap): the entire film has a grainy "home movie" quality, the music sounds like two musicians constantly tuning their instruments, negative printing is used for a dream sequence, and the acting is pitiful, except Alden, who gives a wonderfully demented and memorable performance as Ethel. This picture is extremely pathetic and even though I've never had the nerve to tell anyone else that I own the film (much less played it for anyone), I still find it very compelling viewing. There's some "other worldly" quality to it that makes it quite unique (and satisfying, if you've got really low standards like me). Don't say you weren't warned!
The exact same cast and crew returned for CRAZY FAT ETHEL II, and a loosely related film called DEATH NURSE (both released in 1987 and both starring Alden).
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