Tag Archive | Robert Bloch

Strait-Jacket (1964)

The Celluloid Zeroes mark the passing of legendary character actor George Kennedy with a roundtable of reviews his movies. Sadly, I found no evidence of his appearance in a spider-themed movie, but wanting to participate I selected a horror film that deserves more attention than it usually gets–just like Mr. Kennedy himself!
Making the title off-kilter is typical of the cheesy but effective approach of the film.

Making the title off-kilter is typical of the cheesy but effective approach of the film.

Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by William Castle
Starring Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, John Anthony Hayes, and George Kennedy

William Castle was a man who liked his gimmicks. He’d have theaters rigged with swooping skeletons or buzzers placed under seats. There were glowing coins and votes for how the film should end. But his greatest gimmick may have been casting Joan Crawford as an axe murderer who’s spent 20 years in an asylum. It’s not a glamorous role, but it’s a juicy one; and it’s far better than the usual parts for older actresses at the time (or even now, sadly). With a script by Robert Bloch (author of the novel Psycho was based on), Crawford may have even been optimistic about its reception. Sadly, it would not live up to the incredible What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which she’d made only a few years previously.

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