The Thrill Killers (1964)

Article 1949 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-16-2006
Posting Date: 12-13-2006
Directed by Ray Dennis Steckler
Featuring Ray Dennis Steckler, Liz Renay, Joseph Bardo

Three escapees from a mental institution are on the loose and terrorizing and killing people. There’s also a homicidal maniac on the loose terrorizing and killing people. As a result, many people are terrorized and killed.

I think Ray Dennis Steckler had some real talent, both as an actor and a director. There are moments in this movie where his handling of the attack scenes makes them genuinely creepy and quite unnerving. He also had some interesting ideas; having the final chase take place between a psycho-on-a-horse and a cop-on-a-motocycle shows a certain amount of creativity. Unfortunately, the better moments here are undercut by a weak story, the lack of convincing characters, and a propensity for campiness. It seems to want you to take itself seriously, but it’s very difficult to take the movie that way when it opens with The Amazing Ormond hypnotizing you so that you would see the maniacs in the audience, and most of the attack scenes feature the swirling hypnotic footage that’s supposed to allow you to see them. All in all, it’s a mixed bag with a split personality, which is rather fitting for a movie about psychos on the loose, I suppose.


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