William Castle in his usual
introduction like the one of Hitchcock says that after ghosts, monsters
and haunted houses is time for a normal story. Well ... normal, so to
speak, because this story is about people who commit murders,
diabolical plans and disconcerting secret.
More than a total change then, is a return to origins, to the first
independent movie, "Macabre". Here, however, Castle removes all the
features that could indicate a horror (see title and poster), to create
a work like Hitchcock
And here is the problem, in the friend's Castle, Sir Alfred, that just
one year before direct "Psycho". Because "Homicidal" without the story
of Norman Bates, would be one of the most exciting and tense thriller
of all time, with a sharp history and the incredible secret of the
Instead, the cinema history says that in 1960 was released "Psycho"
from which this film takes cues and with which inevitably confronts.
"Homicidal" is naturally defeated, not because it's a bad movie as
mentioned above, but because the other is even a bit 'annoyingly
perfect in every aspect.
Anyway Castle, with his faithful Robb White who wrote the script,
creates a square story, well-built and able to keep the tension high
until the end. Indeed, even in the closing credits there is a mystery.
All features for a good thriller are present as the cryptic beginning
to which are added characters well-structured and well interpreted by
The usual precise way to direct Castle, always capable to create
moments of tension and the style of the time creating once again a
Is very difficult to summarize the plot without discover some things
and then we wrote the synopsis and trivia under to the rows below the
word "spoiler" and we speak about the inevitable gimmicks.
This time the audience had the opportunity at the time of the "climax"
to leave in forty-five seconds the movie theater and get money back.
And not just this because the viewer afraid had to go through a "path"
marked in yellow. A path of cowards, receiving a certificate and a
blood pressure tested by a nurse.
Less spectacular then other, but still fun for a movie that tells the story of ...
Ok it's the time. From here on we go Spoiler. Stop here if you have too much scar ... if you have not seen "Homicidal".
A fascinating and icy blonde, Emily, under the false name of Miriam
Webster convinces, with sound of dollars, a bellboy of a hotel to
marrying her, with the obligation to cancel the wedding immediately
after. It’s late night and the celebrant, a rough justice of the
peace of a countryside welcomes the two, marries them and after he is
killed by Emily.
Miraculously escaped the police, the woman return home, where there is a mute and paraplegic woman a former nurse named Helga
The true Miriam Webster is a beautiful girl owns a flower shop and
whose Brother Warren is about to have birthday and receive the
inheritance of parents died in a car accident. Helga has raised the two
children and evidently to reciprocate the affection Warren has hired
the blonde Emily.
But between the two there is more than a working relationship, because there is love, indeed, perhaps are even married.
Emily has for Miriam (and to her boy), a strong hatred that raises some doubt in the head of the beautiful florist.
Miriam understands everything, because Emily is Warren. Dad Webster
wanted so much a boy fact that his wife has hidden for years the true
sex of Emily/Warren. The only ones who know the truth were the judge of
the Peace and Nurse Helga, both killed by Emily/Warren with the purpose
Concealing everything and get the inheritance.
The intrigue of this film of 1961 does not end there. That crazy Castle
accredits the actor Jean Arless as interpreter of Emily/Warren. But
Jean Arless not exist.
It's actually the actress Joan Marshall who in a long career has worked
in several TV series and here works with Patricia Breslin (Miriam) also
interpreter of other television series and Glenn Corbett an actor who
has alternated leading roles in supporting roles.
Technical Data Sheet
Original Title: Homicidal
Alternative titles: Plot diabolical (Brazil), Den mystiske knivstikker
(Denmark), Homicidio (Spain), Homicide (France), Eglima meta ta
mesanyhta (Greece), homicida (Mexico), Mörderisch (Germany)
Director: William Castle
Cast: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich, Alan Bunce, Richard Rust, James Westerfield, Gilbert Green
Duration: 87 '
Production Company: William Castle Productions