Reviewed by Kryten Syxx
Starring Ann Sothern and John Savage
Directed by Curtis Harrington
Distributed by Dark Sky Films
Terry has been a bad boy. He’s been in jail for two years because he raped some girl below the docks. His lawyer was a hack who cashed in his freedom instead of representing him. And now Terry is in his early 20s with no life and no one except his mother to take him in. Everything should be OK now, right?
Maybe not. You see, Terry’s momma loves her baby boy just a little too much. That coupled with his slight loss of sanity during two years in the pen have made the wrongly convicted rapist just a little unstable. Terry is prone to angry outbursts towards younger women and he still has a bone to pick with his supposed victim and lawyer. While all this sounds like great groundwork for a horror or thriller … nothing comes together right in The Killing Kind.
Ann Sothern is simply amazing as our troubled youth’s mother. She’s jolly, loving and still retains a lot of her sexiness even through the years and extra pounds. Hell, even John Savage is good given the very limited character development the plot allows him. The surrounding cast make for good campy fun, but none of this matters when a story never jells or even makes sense.
Terry’s first kill is the girl who accused him of rape. Why she accused him doesn’t work in the first place. Terry’s buds were gang raping the girl and then turned to him, ripped off his pants and forced him on the chick. He yells out that he can’t do it and then we skip ahead two years when he returns home to momma. If he didn’t actually fuck her … why did she say he did when she had 10 other guys to choose from who really did force themselves on her?
You’d think police would investigate Terry seeing as he JUST got out of the slammer and the girl JUST died in a mysterious way. Nah. The cops never even come around. Law enforcement isn’t even interested when the home and former lawyer of Terry magically bursts into flames one night.
That right there is about the extent of the film. Terry goes bonkers just one last time and kills a woman who insults him. Momma has to try to cover this up, but she realizes Terry can never adjust to fit into society and she poisons him. The credits role and we’re left wondering what we should have taken away from this experience.
What I saw was a lot of missed chances. There is a subplot involving an older woman who likes Terry and would like him to kill her overbearing father, but not much comes of this aside from her being spurned and eventually calling the cops when she discovers the ensuing cover up of the final murder.
Ann Sothern ends up being the only likable actor of the affair. Sadly her real moment to shine comes within the last couple minutes of the film. The rest of it is spent as lite comic relief. Her overbearing and over-loving nature makes it difficult to sympathise or connect, but that is a problem with all characters in the flick. There’s simply no one to give a fuck about. The only real thing that makes this film interesting to watch is the history behind it and why it spend decades locked up in a vault.
This brings us to the special feature … just one: an interview with late director Curtis Harrington. As I mentioned before, this is the real reason to see the film. Harrington guides us through his long and struggling career. Quite a long time goes by before Curtis even mentions Killing Kind, but when he does we all get to see how sticky the movie biz can be when the wrong people get behind the wheel. To find out how this all came down, you’ll have to buy or rent the DVD. I can’t spoil everything for you.
Killing Kind has a few good aspects but is vastly outweighed by problems stemming from character development and gaps in common logic. Fans of Harrington’s other films such as Queen of Blood or Night Tide will most likely be satisfied with this outing. Everyone else, on the other hand, may not.
2 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5