my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Twisted Nerve
Director:   Roy Boulting
Year:   1968
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   04.29.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
04.29.06Alamo DowntownThis Screening is part of event: Best of QT Fest
So after Bride ended and we all stretched our legs a bit (pacing is important), Quentin got back up on stage to introduce the next movie: Twisted Nerve. Pretty much the whole audience was familiar with the whistled theme to this movie since QT used it to great effect in Kill Bill. He even asked for all of us to give him a recital and for a few moments the theater was filled with whistling fools. Quentin ate it up. In fact he said that not only was it OK to whistle along with the movie, it was encouraged.

Twisted Nerve is sort of half a Psycho knock-off and half a Peeping Tom knock-off, fitting in nicely with a whole wave of British psychological thrillers that came out in the 60s. The basic plot is that this young guy pretends to be a simpleton to get into Haley Mills' pants. Oh, he also kills his dad. The title comes from a quote from... someone... and the explanation behind the main dude's actions get into DNA and mongrelism, so there's a semi-scientific approach there with is kind of creepy and funny at the same time. Having the crazy guy whistle the theme while he stalks women is an awesome bit (perhaps taken from Lang's M?) that, along with Bernard Herrman's constant variations on that theme all throughout the movie's score, ensure that it's the single most catching melody of all time. Quentin said that in lots of places but especially eastern Europe that melody is really popular as a cell phone ringtone.

It's really the characters that make this movie good though. Hayley Mills' character stays in a boarding house with a couple great supporting roles. The guy who played the killer in Frenzy is getting it on with the house matron but when she takes pity on faux-simpleton Georgie and lets him sleep in her bed and wont answer when Frenzy guy comes a calling, he gets miffed. Another tenant is an Indian (dot not feather) medical student... When Frenzy guy accuses him of seducing his sugar momma, he replies "We Hindus are forbidden to eat cow." Scorching line. 1968!

Other noted notables is a scene where a doctor's doing rounds with his student and they talk to an elderly lady sitting in her bed with a really strange relaxed look on her face. They start interviewing her until they find out that she's currently on a bedpan. They all leave pretty quickly. And toward the end when Georgie's been exposed as sociopath father-killer Martin, one guard tells another to "watch yourself, this one's a nutter." The dry delivery with the heavy accent really made me crack up.

Overall, even though I enjoyed Twisted Nerve, it didn't blow me away. Quentin went on at some length in one of these introductions about the general unavailability of a lot of these films. Stuff like Dion Brothers and The Outfit is nowhere to be found on DVD and VHS shelves... and he kind of thinks that's OK. Sometimes, it's good to remind yourself of the way things used to be before video or cable TV so when they left theaters you could not see them anymore. You had to remember them. You held onto memories of the films you loved and that made it all the better when a revival run came into town or something like that because couldn't see it any time you want so it made you excited about it. That said, After Twisted Nerve finished I thought about how tough it'd be to not be able to see this movie for years to come... and I wasn't that broken up about it. Dion Brothers I'm broken up about, Rolling Thunder not being on DVD i'm downright pissed off about, but not seeing Twisted Nerve again? eh... I'll live.
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