Well, that certainly took some unexpected turns. Not at all the movie I thought it was halfway through and so much weirder than I could ever have predicted. The blood stays on the blade.

united states, 1958, english


The Haunted Strangler

As I’ve mentioned here before, I love a good police procedural. I especially love it when the crime investigators aren’t actually police. My favorite episode of the classic 80s and 90s Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series is The Blue Carbuncle, where Sherlock just goes from clue to clue in relentless pursuit of the truth. For roughly the first half of this movie that’s what I thought I was watching. What I was actually watching was something very different.

I didn’t know this was a horror movie. I should maybe have guessed due to the inclusion of Boris Karloff as the lead actor, but I didn’t. I had no idea what was going on until the film took its dramatic turn, which I won’t spoil here. I think I actually gasped out loud, then laughed, and said to no one “well, I wasn’t expecting that!” Those kinds of surprises in life feel rare, and are something to celebrate.

It’s a goofy film to be sure, with an absolutely ridiculous and twisting plot. What I found most interesting to ruminate on though was how the story was really about Karloff’s character being so compelled to investigate a crime, because of his own repressed memories. It’s something I thought a lot about before I started therapy for the first time. I wondered if there was some deep dark secret buried away inside me. I’ve talked to other friends and they’ve told the same story.

I think it makes sense. It’s one of the tropes of therapy to begin with, and then if you sense you have a need for therapy anyway how could you not wonder? As it turns out my issues were much more obvious than that, well obvious to any trained therapist who wasn’t me I suppose. But the concept has stuck with me. This film represented a ludicrous horror movie version of the same idea, and I found that I enjoyed that very much.