How Awful About Allan (1970)

Article 2842 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-17-2009
Posting Date: 5-25-2009
Directed by Curtis Harrington
Featuring Anthony Perkins, Julie Harris, Joan Hackett
Country: USA

A young man is struck blind as a result of the guilt he feels concerning a fire that caused the death of his father and the scarring of his sister’s face. When he is released from a mental hospital with his vision only partially restored, he goes to live with his sister. However, when a mysterious student boarder moves into the premises with them, he begins to feel that this new resident means to kill him.

Storywise, this movie is no great shakes; I was able to get the gist of what was really going on very early in the proceedings. Nevertheless, the movie works all right anyway for two reasons. One is the presence of Anthony Perkins as the partially-blind man; he is quite effective at projecting that paranoia and sense of persecution (which adds to the horror atmosphere that makes this one at least marginally genre) that is vital for this story to work. The other is that the movie makes good use of the character’s half-blindness by giving us a number of point-of-view shots from his perspective; we never get a good look at the boarder’s face, and during the scenes where he’s terrorized, we never see who is doing the terrorizing. These factors help the movie to work on an emotional basis, which is quite helpful when the story falters. The rest of the cast is quite solid as well. It’s not a great TV-Movie, but I thought it was effective enough.


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