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The Killing Kind



In 1973, director Curtis Harrington assembled a small cast that included Hollywood legend Ann Sothern, his two "Night Tide" costars Luana Anders and Marjorie Eaton, 1966 Playboy Playmate Sue Bernard, Ruth Roman and then-virtual unknowns named Cindy Williams and John Savage to star in his movie "The Killing Kind." A plodding, gritty character study of a killer's oedipal relationship with his mother, many consider "The Killing Kind" to be Harrington's finest film and, taking into consideration the type of films that were popular in the early '70s, it certainly had the potential to be an enormous hit and garner award nominations for its two leads (Sothern and Savage).



After being released from prison for unwillingly participating in the gang rape of a teenage girl, John Savage returns home to his mother (Ann Sothern), whom he has a very unhealthy, nearly incestuous relationship with. Soon his inner demons become to much to bear and he's driven to begin murdering.  In addition to having great actors, the movie oozes with director Curtis Harrington's style and visual flair. However, it's slowly paced, technically a dramatic thriller.... and one of the sleaziest films it's ever been my pleasure to watch. Man, they couldn't make a movie like this nowadays! Any film that can make me feel like I need a shower after viewing it has my personal stamp of approval....

...but then again, I'd hate for my mother to burst in with a camera in tow.





Unfortunately, the investors handed off the film to a dubious wannabe distributor who made grandiose promises of making their money back and securing wide theatrical distribution. He was full of hot air. Furthermore, this distributor demanded the cut of a pivotal sequence in which Terry visits the zoo and spies Tina making out with her boyfriend. A producer agreed to this cut, which enraged Harrington, who called the sequence "very important psychologically."  The film ultimately did get distributed in a few American cities (there are reports that it was screened in California and Florida), but no records were kept of where it played, so Harrington was never able to secure any further theatrical distribution.

Well, this artwork couldn't be any more '80s...

The film got a small release on VHS (under the title "The Psychopath" in the UK) and was barely seen again until 2007, when it legitimately turned up on DVD. Another version sourced from a rough VHS has turned up before and since on a few $5 DVD multi-movie packs, but the official widescreen release by Dark Skies is the one to get.


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Vinnie Rattolle,
May 27, 2012, 1:07 AM
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