Friday, September 4, 2009

More William Castle

Director William Castle was known for putting gimmicks in his movies to try to draw people in; Homicidal, which TCM is showing overnight at 4:00 AM ET, is no exception.

The movie kicks off at a hotel. A woman walks into the lobby, and asks one of the bellboys if he'd like to make some quick money. All he has to do is go with her to a justice of the peace for a quickie wedding which will be quickly annulled. The bellhop goes along, but quickly finds he should have, as his wife-to-be murders the JP!

Thus is the stage set for a lot of schlocky fun. The scene shifts quickly to a coastal mansion, where the killer is nurse to an old lady who had been the governess to the children of the house's late owner, who left a large trust fun to his one son. The dead man's sister, however, begins to have reason to believe that this nurse is the murderous thing we already know her to be, and that the governess is in grave danger.

Where's the gimmick in all this? Producer/director Castle promised viewers a shocking twist at the end. In fact, he claimed that the twist was so shocking that some people might not be able to handle it. For those, just before that shocking ending was revealed, there was a one-minute pause (complete with clock ticking down on-screen!) allowing people to get up and exit the theater. The truth, of course, is that the ending isn't that shocking, certainly not by today's standards, and probably not even by early 1960s standards. (Not that I'm about to give it away, of course.)

All that said, Homicidal is a fun movie, even if it isn't very good.

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