Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Point of Terror (1971)

With apologies for the crudeness of this remark, I suggest that ’70s-cinema fans adopt the following policy when considering which movies to watch: If it’s Crown, flush it down. The misbegotten sprawl of the Crown International Pictures release Point of Terror explains why. Firstly, the movie isn’t a horror film, despite the misleading poster and title. Rather, it’s a soapy melodrama about a wannabe pop singer who falls into the web of a murderess. Secondly, the movie suffers flaws that are common to the myriad low-budget clunkers bearing the Crown brand—the acting is inconsistent, but mostly awful; the direction occasionally rises from incompetent to perfunctory; and the script is a big, oozing blob of nothing, peppered with a few nuggets of trashy stimulation. Peter Carpenter, a blank-faced stud also credited (or blamed) with creating the film’s story, stars as lounge singer Tony Trelos. One day, he meets rich dame Andrea Hilliard (Dyanne Thorne), the sex-starved wife of a paralyzed record executive. Despite the fact that he has a girlfriend, Tony sleeps with Andrea in exchange for a recording contract. Complications ensue, including a murder and the arrival of Andrea’s hot daughter, Helayne (Lory Hansen). Most of this crap unfolds like an episode of some Aaron Spelling series, all histrionic acting and overwrought dialogue, punctuated with campy sex and violence. About the only novel element is cinematographer Robert Maxwell’s addiction to color gels, since some scenes are as multichromatic as a harlequin convention. It should also be said that Thorne’s performance reaches a special peak of atrociousness—we’re talking full-on screeching harpy—during the final showdown between Andrea and Tony.

Point of Terror: LAME

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