A COFFIN FOR THE BRIDE (1974)
aka Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill
Article 5008 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by John Sichel
Featuring Michael Jayston, Helen Mirren, Michael Gwynn
What it is: Episode of UK TV Series “Thriller”
A modern-day Bluebeard (a man who marries and kills rich women for their money) is on the loose, and a lawyer, who suspects the truth but can’t prove it, vows to catch him.
The whole “Bluebeard” plot is only marginal horror; though they are serial killers of a sort, they have a clear motivation for their actions, which to me tends to deemphasize the horror elements. This particular version of the story certainly plays more like a crime/mystery thriller than a horror movie.
That being said, I can nevertheless attest to the fact that this is easily one of the best episodes I’ve seen from that somewhat uneven TV series from which it comes. The script is solid and never quite shakes out the way you think it’s going to; my only problem is that sporadically it gives the serial killer those “meaningful to the audience but ambiguous to everyone else” lines that strike me as self-conscious and phony. Still, what really anchors this one is an excellent performance by Helen Mirren, though it may take you until the end of the movie to fully appreciate it. Michael Gwynn is also memorable as the lawyer; I only wish he were in the story more often than he is. Michael Jayston is solid as well; in fact, the whole cast excels. Anybody who wishes to catch this series at its best would do well to start with this one.