Sunday, October 2, 2016

Strait-Jacket (1964)

Director: William Castle

Writer: Robert Bloch

Composer: Van Alexander

Starring: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John, John Anthony Hayes, Rochelle Hudson, George Kennedy, Edith Atwater, Mitchel Cox

More info: IMDb


Plot: After a twenty-year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.


There was a time in the mid-60s where aging Hollywood former starlets were all getting re-introduced to the younger set by starring in psychological thriller/horror pictures.  Well, it seems like it.  It's easy to call Crawford's performance campy...because it's campy, only I'm sure that's not what she was going for.  She was from the old school of acting and by the time this picture rolled around, that style was out the door.  She's got her moments where she's fun as shit like when she's whoring it up, drinking lots of liquor sauce.

Now that's a broad lookin' for a good time, right?  My favorite performance is from George Kennedy.  I love this guy's work.  He's fantastic.  His acting is more modern in a picture that feels like (for the most part) it was filmed ten years earlier.  There are some cool kills (a few beheadings!) and a neat twist or two that's got you guessing for that last half of the film.  It's not surprising to learn that it was written by Rober "PSYCHO (1960)" Bloch.  Look fast in the beginning to see Lee Majors in his first movie!

The Columbia DVD sports a nice anamorphic widescreen print with extras in a modern making of featurette (14 minutes), Joan Crawford make up and costume tests (less than 3 minutes), axe-swinging screen test (1 minute) and trailers for this film (fullscreen), 13 GHOSTS and MR. SARDONICUS (both anamorphic wide).

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