Strait-Jacket (1964)

Article #646 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-21-2002
Posting Date: 5-16-2003

A woman is placed in an asylum after she kills her husband and his lover with an axe. She is released twenty years later, and soon the axe murders start up again.

Much as I love William Castle’s movies, there are some of them that don’t appeal to me at all. This is one of them. Part of the reason may be that I am simply not a Joan Crawford fan. In this movie, I sense that I’m supposed to feel sympathy for her plight, but in truth, I never do; this may be because she is so vehemently unpleasant when she’s not playing for sympathy. It’s no surprise she took the part, and in some ways she’s a good choice for someone with an unhealthy mother/daughter relationship (which goes a long way to explain this movie and BERSERK!). Another part of the problem is that subtlety is not Castle’s strong suit; it doesn’t bother me that neither THE TINGLER nor HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL aren’t subtle, but here it does; the movie is way too ham-fisted in the way it constantly reminds Crawford’s character of her past murders (two passing comments about animals being slaughtered in one minute is one comment too many). The movie also features a seedy-looking George Kennedy as a hired hand.


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