The A.V. Club has agreed to sponsor 10 days of programming in Crackle.com’s Summer Drive-In Series. We’re providing a preview of each day’s movie (or movies) here.
Up today: Strait-Jacket (1964)
Producer/director William Castle has a reputation as a poor man's gimmick-obsessed Alfred Hitchcock. And, honestly, he earned that reputation via quickly made, inventively promoted movies like The Tingler and 13 Ghosts. But that doesn't mean he didn't make incredibly entertaining movies. Part of a Psycho-inspired wave of movies with menacing women of a certain age, Strait-Jacket casts Joan Crawford, fresh off Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, as an axe murderess reunited with her family after serving 20 years in an asylum. Only the time away seems not to have cured her of her axe-murdering ways… The movie's both a lot of fun and filled with weird discomfort with middle-aged women's sexuality. When she looks like an old lady, Crawford's harmless. But when she glams herself up, look out. Look for a homeless-looking George Kennedy and, in a small role at the beginning that gets, um, cut short, a young Lee Majors. (Also, Castle handed out free toy axes to promote the movie. Feel free to pick one up to enhance your enjoyment.)