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Oct 26 07 2:28 PM
The recent SIDEWAYS...although it was definitely not a horror film.
Oct 26 07 7:13 PM
PS: Did someone say "Dirch Passer"?
Oct 27 07 10:08 AM
Ted Newsom wrote:
The old gal who plays the old gal may've been Russian-born, but her character is named "Swenson," which sounds like a good old Solvang name. To
bad they couldn't find a role for Dirk Passer. THEN they'd have had a movie! ("No-vun's a frayed uff HOM-ee-CIII-dull, he's just a
Oct 28 07 4:41 PM
My take on this amazing film:
HOMICIDAL (Warning: major spoilers and gender confusion)
Now let me get this
In William Castle's
HOMICIDAL, actress Jean Arless plays Warren, a man who impersonates Emily, a woman who's a homicidal maniac.
(We'll leave out the fact Warren and Emily are married.) At the end of the movie, it is revealed Warren is actually
a female, and that his, uh, HER mother raised her as a boy while keeping Warren's true gender a secret from her wealthy father, who desperately wanted a
son to leave his fortune to.
Okay, I think I've got
it: Arless was not a woman playing a man who impersonates a woman. She was a
woman playing a woman masquerading as a man, who impersonates a woman who's killing anyone standing in the way of her inheritance--all because SHE
wasn't born a HE! (My head hurts.) To really throw a wrench into this mess,
Castle hinted in interviews that Arless was, in real life, not a woman but a man…
For the record, Jean Arless was a
woman, whose real name was Joan Marshall and who appeared in a number of films besides HOMICIDAL, including TAMMY AND THE DOCTOR and THE HAPPIEST
MILLIONAIRE. (She was also in the Twilight Zone episode "Dead Man's Shoes.") She was married to director Hal Ashby, who based his film SHAMPOO (in which she had a cameo) on her real-life personal
experiences, which she related to Ashby--on his insistence--in their first months of marriage. (I've also heard
SHAMPOO was based on the life of hairstylist-turned-producer Jon Peters [BATMAN, RAIN MAN]. Maybe the film draws from
the lives of both; I'm not sure.)
I don't know if I could
convincingly argue that HOMICIDAL is Castle's best horror film (though it may very well be), but it's probably fair to say Arless helps make it his most
twisted. Her facial expressions of hysterical anguish (during the murders), her tacky blonde wig, the awkward, jerky
way she thrusts her knife--all push her portrayal of a psychotic killer (and the film itself) into the realm of bizarre camp.
Her acting comes off so forced that it becomes ludicrous (not to mention delicious fun!), and her childishly nasty delivery of line after line of
choice dialogue just adds to the insanity:
[Calmly, to her
"sister-in-law"]: "If you stay in this house one more minute, Miriam, I'm going to kill
[At a fever pitch, as she's
about to behead wheelchair-ridden old Helga]: "Helga! NOW!!!"
[A favorite line, as she taunts
Helga in the kitchen]: "Justice Adrims died last night… [in a harsh, shrill whisper] SCREAMING!!!…
As if Arless wasn't weird
enough, Castle set HOMICIDAL in Solvang, a picturesque little town located on the Southern California coast, known for its Danish-style buildings and
shops. (I knew of Solvang before I'd ever seen HOMICIDAL, as my mother and her friends would sometimes go there for
a weekend getaway.) I guess Castle used the odd locale because of its connection to Denmark--many of Solvang's
population are Danish--where people go for "those" operations. (Am I confusing Denmark and Sweden?) The
setting makes it all the more bizarre for me, when I think about HOMICIDAL's madness unfolding in this sweet little town where my mom would go to relax,
sip tea, and shop for trinkets with her friends!
Then there's the fright
break. It may have helped sell tickets, but any suspense Castle manages to build in the movie just stops DEAD in its
tracks when the clock appears onscreen at the end. Castle counts…and the whole movie sits there like a lead
weight. And btw, anyone agree that the child actor who plays Warren as a boy in the beginning is one homely-looking kid
who's in bad need of some major dental work?
Joan Marshall died of cancer in
1992, in Jamaica. Dare I even try to touch the strange claim (mentioned on the IMDb) by her and writer/director Dirk
Summers that they were twin brother and sister? They were the same age, attended the same high school, looked
"remarkably alike" and... Aw, now just STOP IT, would ya?
One last thing: In the "making-of" featurette on Columbia's HOMICIDAL DVD, David del Valle says he thinks Warren and Emily were
actually played by two different people…
That's it, gimme the
knife! It's enough to drive anybody BONKERS!!!
SOLVANG OR BUST?
Oct 28 07 8:01 PM
Oct 28 07 8:26 PM
Oct 28 07 8:32 PM
Oct 28 07 8:37 PM
Oct 28 07 9:26 PM
...and Hitch is nodding politely -- even though it's scenes from HOMICIDAL that Little Richard is describing! (Or was it James Brown? Anyway, SOMEbody
Oct 28 07 9:28 PM
Oct 29 07 10:12 PM
I also had never heard of the Marshall-SHAMPOO connection, but maybe it's no coincidence that William Castle appears in a memorable scene in
Oct 31 07 9:53 AM
Nov 1 07 6:03 PM
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