Saturday, October 29, 2011


I had a very fun argument with a friend about the merits of William Castle and Alfred Hitchcock.  My contention is that Castle is like the American Hitchcock, only less good and more fun.  I would probably pick other films as supporting evidence for this before STRAIT-JACKET.  Not that it's bad, it just doesn't hit the highs of 13 GHOSTS and HOMICIDAL.

Part of the problem is that STRAIT-JACKET sort of lacks the humorous, playful touches of those earlier films.  Derived from a script by Robert (PSYCHO) Bloch, it's a way more straitforward mystery/thriller.  William Castle doesn't even show up to intro the film while chain-smoking!  On the debit side, the acting is perhaps a little more memorable than normal, largely thanks to Joan Crawford as released-asylum-mom Lucy, who was put away twenty years ago for axe-murdering her unfaithful husband and his girlfriend.

Lucy's released into the care of her daughter Carol, who plans to wed rich boy Michael, perhaps over the objections of his rich parents.  Deaths by axe start happening.  If you have seen a horror movie before, you will probably be able to predict the assorted twists in this one.  It's not particularly rich in dialogue or excellent in execution, but it's all right.  Opt for older Castle first if you're just diving into his body of work, though.  

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