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Category Archives: Movie Reviews 1965

Still from I Saw What You Did, 1965.

From the DVD case: When two teenagers make prank phone calls to strangers, they become the target for terror when they whisper, “I saw what you did” to a psychopath (John Ireland) who has just murdered his wife. I Saw What You Did features a cavalcade of Castle-style shocks, plus a gloriously over-the-top performance by Joan Crawford as the killer’s desperately amorous neighbor. (1965, b&w)

Mark says: I Saw What You Did is a cross between The Patty Duke Show and Hitchcock’s Psycho. Unfortunately, the emphasis rests primarily on the Patty Duke aspect of the story. Of course, when William Castle (House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler) is listed as producer and director, you know to expect a fair amount of kitsch.

The premise of the story, based on the novel Out of the Dark, by Ursula Curtiss, sounds intriguing enough: Three girls (two teenagers and a little sister), spend the night alone in a secluded country home. To relieve their boredom they make crank phone calls. One of their routine calls consists of whispering, “I know what you did, and I know who you are,” to the person on the other end of the line.

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Peter Cushing stars in Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

From the video box: On a train ride to oblivion, Dr. Terror joins five other men in their private compartment. Using a deck of Tarot cards, his “House of Horrors,” he predicts grotesque deaths for each one. And Dr. Terror is never wrong. Not ever. The only escape is no escape at all. The only escape is death! (1965, color)

Mark says: It is hard not to compare this Amicus production to a Hammer film. It features mostly British actors and settings, is of the horror genre, and stars two leading men who put Hammer Films on the map, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Unfortunately, this is as far as the comparison can go. The production values for which Hammer is famous certainly do not exist in this film. Amicus also fails to execute the stories in an engaging way, probably because of less than adequate scripting.

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Village of the Giants, 1965

From the video case: Eleven year-old Genius (Ron Howard) mixes up some super-goo with his chemistry set, turning cats and ducks into giants. When a group of wild teenagers see the results, they gobble it up too and turn into towering tyrants, challenging adults and making mayhem while the world desperately searches for an anti-teen antidote. (1965, color)

Mark says: You will certainly recognize some names in this film, Ronny Howard as Genius, Beau Bridges as Fred, Tommy Kirk as Mike (I like him better in Mars Needs Women), and Toni Basil as go-go dancer, Red. Joy Harmon plays Merrie, the giant, bikini-clad, rebel teenager (pictured above, with Beau Bridges).

Let me state a bias right up front: I’ve never been a fan of beach party movies, and this movie has much more in common with a beach party movie than a monster flick.

The primary flaw of Village of the Giants is that it tries to be amusing. Not only does this movie fail in its attempt to be funny, but it fails to be humorous even in a bad movie sort of way. Intentional camp often defeats the purpose, especially when done poorly. And how much slow motion go-go dancing can a person take?

Jack Nitzsche’s original soundtrack that plays during the opening credits and while the giants dance is powerful in a trippy sort of way. The sixties band, the Beau Brummels, also perform and get a pretty good sound for not using microphones. I have to note, though, that the lip-syncing in this movie makes Ashlee Simpson look like real talent. Especially watch for Freddy Cannon singing Little Bitty Corrine. Most embarrassing.

If you like beach party movies (without surfing, or even a beach) and if you’ve just dropped a tab of LSD, this movie may prove fun for you. For me, it just fell flat.

If you want real camp, giant goodness, I recommend Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman.

Village of the Giants is produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon (Beginning of the End, Empire of the Ants).

Scene to watch for: Tommy Kirk fights a giant tarantula, and then a giant Beau Bridges, while wearing embarrassingly short shorts and white socks.

Line to listen for: “Dig that nitty gritty!”

Trivia: Joy Harmon. who plays giant bikini-girl Merrie, is also the woman in the car washing scene from Cool Hand Luke. Joy retired from film in 1968 to raise a family.

Mark’s Rating: ! ½ out of 5.


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