Here is the second installment, a few more films that I consider highly engrossing for this theme, Women In Peril, horror/noir/mystery, and thriller. Some films create environments where the women in danger are subjected to psychological distress as much as they are in mortal danger of their lives. I hope you find this additional list interesting and entertaining. Again, I will review some or most of what I’ve listed below. I’ll go more in-depth as I usually do once I am examining a film as a singular entry which allows me more time to elaborate on the details, plot design, my impressions of the film, and a little referential details as I always like to do.
Note: I can’t do Last House On The Left, because I could never bring myself to see it. And I was interested in covering Tattoo, but I’ve heard it’s just a vile misogynist mess, so I’m not sure I’d even waste the time.
And I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of The Todd Killings which I would LOVE to see. Update: Got it!
The Todd Killings (1971) -The Oedipal Minstrel Killer of Tuscon and the Cult of Anti-Hero Worship
The Killing Kind (1973) I won’t be reviewing this film. I mention it because it fits the genre, yet I won’t be able to watch it again as I have previously stated there is a horrible scene of animal cruelty to cats and I just can’t bring myself to watch it again. I am a huge admirer of Curtis Harrington, yet I believe the film would have been better if he hadn’t included that aspect in this film. John Savage plays illegitimate Terry Lambert a young man falsely accused of participating in a gang-rape. While in prison he develops a violent sexual penchant towards women. Once released he moves back home with his emasculating mother played by Ann Southern, which only fuels his rage further. He winds up going on a killing spree of revenge toward all the women he perceives as having wronged him. Also stars Ruth Roman
Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting (1969) A mentally disturbed man stalks a woman who had once aborted the child he had fathered.
Stars Paul Burke and Carol White. Directed by Mark Robson. Again, I vaguely remember a cat being killed in this film, so I might skip the review.
Conflict (1945) Humphrey Bogart plays Richard Mason who pretends to be an invalid so he can plot to kill his wife Kathryn He does, however, kill her on a lonely mountain road. Or did he really succeed? Soon after, He smells her perfume, finds her jewelry, and sees an envelope addressed in her handwriting. Stars Alexis Smith and Sydney Greenstreet.
The Fantasist (1986) When an Irish woman moves from the suburbs to Dublin, she begins receiving phone calls from a stranger. Stars Moira Harris, Christopher Cazenove, and Timothy Bottoms.
Screaming Mimi (1958) Starring Anita Ekberg and directed by Gerd Oswald, She plays a tormented Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson. Who witnesses a murder? Each victim had purchased a contorted sculpture of a woman called the Screaming Mimi, which was created by her step-brother Charlie who was also responsible for shooting her attacker.
So Sad About Gloria (1975)
A young woman just released from a mental hospital moves back in with her family. However, she is soon troubled by disturbing visions in which she commits a series of axe murders. Stars Lori Saunders and Dean Jagger.
The Climax (1944)
Starring Boris Karloff he plays Dr Hohner the theatre physician at the Vienne Royal Theatre who has already killed his mistress and then becomes obsessed with a young diva (Susanna Foster)and goes to extreme lengths to make sure she will never sing for anyone else but him.
The 7th Victim (1943)
A young woman (Kim Hunter) in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York’s Greenwich Village and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling’s random disappearance. Starring Kim Hunter and Jean Brooks, this is yet another of Val Lewton’s
masterpieces, directed by Mark Robson who worked very closely with Lewton on his collection of shadow masterpieces for the poverty row scene set up to compete with Universal. I will be doing a feature on Val Lewton in the future and will be revisiting this film as part of his collection.
Jane Eyre (1943) Faithful adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s gothic romance about Jane played by Joan Fontaine, who has had a brutal childhood in a stark and cruelly run orphanage, comes to an old manor house, to take care of Margaret O’Brien, the daughter of the mysterious and angry Edward Rochester, played by the brooding Orson Welles.
The Big Heat (1953) Starring Glenn Ford as a jaded cop and Gloria Grahame the ex-mob gal whose face has been disfigured by her scorned lover (Lee Marvin). Ford enlists her help in trapping the mobster who was responsible for killing his wife. Grahame’s character is so integral to the plot, as she is thrown in harm’s way once again. Noir at its best.
1964) stars Joan Crawford and Diane Baker.
Directed by the showman William Castle
and written by Robert Bloch,
this is a story about insanity and the mother/daughter relationship complexities that unfold, once Crawford is released from an institution
Revenge, Axes, and Motherhood.
In Walk On The Wild Side (1962) Capucine plays Halie Gerard a kept woman by Jo (Barbara Stanwyck)who runs a house of ill repute. Jane Fonda(Kitty) and Laurence Harvey (Dove) stumble onto the House where Barbara Stanwyck keeps a tight hold on her call girls. When Capucine wants to leave with Harvey she threatens her safety and puts her life in jeopardy. Directed by Edward Dmytryk and the sultry titles by Saul Bass, make this a sexy thriller. Also starring Anne Baxter and Joanna Moore who also suffers at the hands of her brutal boyfriend Richard Rust.
Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) Otto Preminger directs this psychological masterpiece, where Carol Lynley comes to London with her little girl and her brother Kier Dullea. When Bunny her child goes missing after dropping off at school, no one believes her story, or that the little girl ever existed at all. Lynley’s ordeal is almost more punishing than if she herself were in danger because the psychic pain she endures is more compelling in a lot of ways. Laurence Olivier plays the kindly detective on the case.
Midnight Lace (1960)
Doris Day stars as the wife of David Niven. One day she hears a voice in the fog, and then she is continued to be assailed by an unseen figure. Is David Niven trying to gaslight her?
The Lodger (1944) Directed by John Brahm and scripted by Barre Lyndon, this adaptation of the Jack the Ripper-themed treatment stars Merle Oberon and Laird Cregar as the mysterious boarder who lives upstairs with his little black bag.
The Snake Pit (1948)
Directed by Anatole Litvak, this stars Olivia de Havilland as a woman whose harrowing life of hallucinations and memory loss come spiraling out of control as she is then thrown into a mental institution, the snake pit.
When A Stranger Calls (1979) Carol Kane stars as the babysitter who picks up the phone only to hear the voice on the other end say ” Have you checked the children”
Laura(1944) directed by Otto Preminger is a film noir masterpiece starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Vincent Price. A police detective Dana Andrews falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating.
Human Desire (1954) Directed by Fritz Lang this stars Gloria Grahame as the emotionally abused wife of jealous brut Broderick Crawford who works with Glenn Ford as a train engineer. Once Ford starts up an affair with Grahame things really get complicated for everyone. Blackmail, violence, murder, and passion. Another noir masterpiece.
The Unsuspected (1947) Directed by Michael Curtiz, Claude Raines plays Victor Grandison “Grandy” who hosts a radio show called ” The Unsuspected” which is a murder mystery program. A girl has been murdered. Joan Caulfield and Audrey Totter star in this intense thriller.
Fingers At The Window (1942)Stars Lew Ayres and Laraine Day and Basil Rathbone. There is an Axe Murderer running amok in the streets of Chicago. Lew Ayres takes a special interest in Laraine Day when he discovers that she might be next.
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
starring Gene Tierney
and Vincent Price
as the Lord of the Land in old Upstate New York, who takes Tierney as his bride after his first wife succumbs to illness. Once Tierney is on the estate, she finds her gentleman husband, who has strange mood swings and secrets as he insists that she bare him a son. Outstanding story with exceptional acting by Price and Tierney. Another of my favorite actresses.
The Woman In White (1948) Starring Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Gig Young, and Agnes Moorehead, Young is a painter who comes to give lessons to Eleanor Parker, when a strange and mysterious woman dressed in white keeps appearing. Is she a ghost? And what are the secrets that Sidney Greenstreet is keeping?