The Killing Kind (1973)

Article #1553 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-15-2005
Posting Date: 11-12-2005
Directed by Curtis Harrington
Featuring Ann Sothern, John Savage, Ruth Roman

A disturbed young man is released from prison after having served time for taking part in a gang rape. He returns home to his possessive mother and finds himself haunted by the desire for revenge and his own repressed sexuality.

Director Curtis Harrington’s output is variable, but there’s always a little more dimension to his movies than you might expect. This one is no exception. Sexually repressed psychos were nothing new at this point, but the characters here are so well-developed and the relationships are so striking that it holds the attention. In particular, Ann Sothern gives a wonderful performance as the mother, whose possessive and improper behavior play a big role in driving her son around the bend, but whose love for him is very real indeed. Luana Anders and Peter Brocco are also excellent as a repressed librarian and her dictatorial father; these characters were so memorable that the writers recycled them when they wrote the script for THE ATTIC. John Savage also does well as the psychotic son. Some of the scenes fall flat, especially a dream sequence involving a crib that is so totally lacking in psychological subtlety that it ends up laughable and embarrassing. Nonetheless, these scenes are in the minority, and overall the movie is very good, with a strong, memorable ending.

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