TWO ON A GUILLOTINE (1965)
Article 2672 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-21-2008
Posting Date: 12-6-2008
Directed by William Conrad
Featuring Connie Stevens, Dean Jones, Cesar Romero
When a famous magician dies, he is buried with instructions that imply that he will return from the dead. His daughter, who he hasn’t seen in years, will inherit his entire fortune if she agrees to spend seven nights in his old mansion. However, all is not what it seems…
The John Stanley “Creature Features” book describes this movie as William Conrad’s failed attempt to make a William Castle movie, and I can see his point; there are moments here where I can definitely sense Castle’s influence, especially in comparison to HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. However, I also agree that the attempt is not really a success; though it does start out promisingly, and it has a few good touches, it misses the mark. For one thing, the attempt at a light touch misfires, as it causes the scariness to dissipate rather than to provide a contrast to it. The movie also is too long; much of the overextended romantic subplot could have been pared out. Furthermore, the actual scares are mostly lame, and having the actresses scream their lungs out at every opportunity doesn’t really cover this up. On the other hand, it is kind of fun to see Dean Jones in one of his movies before he started his string of Disney shopping cart films. Cesar Romero is also quite fun as the magician, though he doesn’t have enough screen time. In short, it just doesn’t deliver the shocks you’d expect from one of Castle’s better movies. By the way, if you keep your eyes open during the hall of mirrors sequence, you’ll see Conrad give us a cameo appearance. Billy Curtis and Richard Kiel also make appearances.