Review – Wicked, Wicked

October 19, 2008

Right off the bat – this is a really entertaining non-Hitchcock made, Hitchcock film (if you can wrap yourself around that sentence).  It’s shot in “Duo-Vision”, which is director Richard L. Bare’s gimmick name for a split-screen through the entire picture.

It’s so Hitchcockian in fact, that I had been about to accuse Brian DePalma of ripping off a good chunk of the movie for the early part of his career due to Bare’s use of split-screen and the dark sense of humor through the whole movie. However, IMDB says split-screen was used first by silent filmmaker Abel Gance (I can’t verify, since I can’t recall ever sitting through Napoleon).  Or maybe I’m just oversensitive to the connections since I managed to score a copy of DePalma’s Phantom Of The Paradise at a used DVD store and had watched that a couple of days before Wicked, Wicked (which makes a couple of pointed references to Phanton of the Opera) was on TCM, I dunno.

Anyway: sort-of-typical Hitchcock story of psycho Jason Grant (Randolph Roberts), working as an electrician in a huge hotel, putting on a Halloween mask & killing blondes due to sexual issues with his blonde mother. Detective (David Bailey) must protect ex-wife singer who likes to wear blonde wigs and sing nondescript rock songs (Tiffany Bolling). The humor in the film and the stylish way it was shot made the movie worth it, though.  I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t a DePalma film – some of the directorial choices really had me second guessing myself.

I think the Duo-Vision thing could’ve been used a little less and the film would’ve been better known, and for what it’s worth, Bare does go to full screen at certain points in the film. It’s not on Amazon either, so keep your eyes peeled for it to be on TCM next Halloween

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