Homicidal (1961) / 13 Ghosts (1960)

Spanish La Casa del Cine Para Todos DVD edition

Meny

Text below written 2020-03-05


Homicidal (1960) direction: William Castle

William Castle, king of the trashy B films is famous for his use of Gimmicks to lure the paying audience to his movies. In Homicidal
Five minutes before the end the audiences were given a Fright Break were they could follow a yellow line to the Coward's Corner
and they could leave the cinema instead of dying from fright.

William Castle Gimmicks:

In his 1958 "House on Haunted Hill" a luminous skeleton was drawn on a pulley over the heads of the audience. 1958 Macabre
offered 1 000 USD insurance against death by fright, 1961 Mr. Sardonicus had fluorescent thumb cards for the Punishment Poll and
2 different endings, should the villain die or not? Straight-Jacket in 1964 had cardboard bloody axes handed out to the audiences,
1960 Thirteen Ghosts had Ghost Viewers, in 1965 seat belts were installed to keep the audience in place, and his 1959 The Tingler
with Vincent Price is the most famous of all his Gimmick films with i.a. certain seats wired to give mild electric shocks.

Homicidal must surely be William Castle's best film, OK it's still B with many second grade actors but Joan Marshall (Jean Arless)
in the main role as the fucked up Emily with a penchant for surgical knives, she's GREAT!

I remember having this on an old VHS tape 30 years ago and i liked it then and i liked it now, it's a B psycho horror classic.

Joan Marshall



The film starts with an intro in 1948 when a boy, Warren takes a doll from his sister Miriam. In Ventura, California today (that is 1960?)
the siblings Warren and Miriam (Patricia Breslin) lives in a big house by themselves .... and, with their old and handicapped nanny
the now paralyzed and dumb Helga (Eugenie Leontovich), who's bound to a wheelchair plus her nurse, Emily (Joan Marshall).
Emily surprises everyone by telling that she's married to Warren (something which supposedly happened during a trip to Denmark)
and for some reason the old crippled lady seems to be deadly afraid of Emily. What's going on?


The Good things:

The opening Justice of Peace marriage scene was truly shocking and very strong stuff for it's time, and even gory. Hey, this was 1961!
The scenes with the terrified old lady alone with the psycho were unpleasant and horrifying (and much thanks to Leontovich's fine
acting, and Marshall's). Yes, i've become a Softie when getting older, but nastiness against defenceless people disturbs me.
That knife was unpleasant indeed, and the "Shock" ending may not be shocking today, but funny and as no surprise..

The Bad things: Dull scenes whenever Joan Marshall weren't in it. B grade acting from all except Marshall and Leontovich.

Joan Marshall should've been a big star, but somehow that wasn't happening.

The film was presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1, black & white with english audio DD 1.0 (spanish subs), region all

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Thirteen Ghosts (1960) direction: William Castle

Trashy haunted house thriller with a broke all-American family, the Zorba's inheriting an old house from an uncle, Plato Zorba.
Old man Plato experimented with ghosts and the house is supposedly full of them. They've to accept also that the old
housekeeper Elaine is a part of the deal, and she's played by the one and only - Margaret Hamilton (the scariest witch ever on
film, in The Wizard of Oz). With an William Castle intro and a Ghost Viewer gimmick (red and blue tinted color).

The film was presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1, black & white with english audio DD 1.0 (spanish subs), region all

 

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