Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Killing Kind (1973)

Director Curtis Harrington earned a decent reputation as a horror maven prior to transitioning into an unspectacular career helming episodic television, and watching The Killing Kind explains why his career trajectory makes sense. Though certain scenes have sadistic glee, the picture is so workmanlike that it could have been made by anyone; it’s as disposable as an episode of generic TV. John Savage, all Method-y shouting and twitching, stars as Terry, a troubled twentysomething just released from jail after a two-year stint for his role in a gang rape. From the moment we meet him, Terry comes across as an antisocial, sex-crazed voyeur prone to creepy intimacy with his mother (Ann Sothern) and erotic reverie when he kills animals. In other words, he’s such an obvious nutjob that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to spend time around him. Nonetheless, the movie installs Terry as the handyman at his mom’s boarding house, where stupid tenants like wannabe model Lori (Cindy Williams) remain in residence even after Terry tries to drown her in the pool one sunny afternoon. Savage’s id-gone-wild routine ends up being more tiresome than disturbing, and Sothern performs in the libidinous-gorgon style that kept Shelley Winters employed during this era, albeit with far less panache than the estimable Ms. Winters. So, even with some colorful kills, such as Terry forcing a woman to drink a paralyzing amount of liquor before setting her on fire, The Killing Kind is really just another crude Hitchcock rip-off, right down to the Rear Window­­-style shots of a neighbor spying on Terry with binoculars.

The Killing Kind: LAME

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