Homicidal (1961)

Homicidal
Directed by William Castle
Written by Robb White
1961/USA
William Castle Productions
First viewing/Netflix rental

Emily: [to Helga] If it wasn’t for me you would’ve been dead by now.

William Castle was no Alfred Hitchcock.  That does not prevent his thrillers from being a lot of campy fun.

Something is seriously wrong with Emily.  She has a thing about knives for one thing.  One of her first acts is to pay a bellboy $2,000 to marry her.  She then proceeds to savagely stab the justice of the peace that performs the ceremony.  Leaving two live witnesses, she proceeds home where she has fun threatening Helga, the wheelchair-bound old lady she cares for.

Helga was the nanny (?) to Warren, who stands to inherit $10 million dollars on his upcoming 21st birthday.  He and his sister Miriam are frequent visitors.  All are involved in the weird goings on that follow.  This is a thriller with a twist ending and I won’t reveal more.

The Castle gimmick in this film was a pulse rate monitor near the end.  Audience members whose heartbeat was too fast were advised to leave the theater and claim a refund.  The plot capitalizes on the success of Psycho, among other contemporary sensations.  I guessed the twist way too early but this is so bizarre that it is truly enjoyable.

Trailer