Hywel Benneth plays Martin, a rather disturbed young man who lives with a very endearing mother and a stepfather that he really hates. He’s wealthy, he’s young, you’d think he’d have it all, but the one thing he wants is Susan, played by Hayley Mills (who was in those awful Parent Trap movies). He can’t just go and talk to the woman, no that’d be too easy. He decides to take a cue from his mentally-challenged brother and decides to act like a disturbed retard in front of her. For some reason Susan finds this very endearing, and soon Martin creeps into her life. But Martin is very jealous, and will stop everyone from trying to stop him from being with Susan, even if it means committing murder.
This nearly-forgotten British thriller is now mostly known by it’s main theme song. written by Bernard Herrmann, which was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1, during the sequence where Darryl Hannah walks in the hospital dressed as a nurse, ready to kill The Bride as she’s in a coma. It’s easy to see why he’d use it, as it’s very effective, from it’s beginning whistling to the loud bombastic and suspenseful build-up. But besides the music, this movie is very damn good.
The script and direction are very basic, and it’s no different than most psycho killer movies about disturbed young men that came out during the time, thanks to Psycho. However, Hywel is very memorable in the role, mainly because he’s so charming and good-looking, you’d never think of him as a psycho if you saw him in the street. Hayley Mills does fine, but my favorite character was her mother, played by Billie Whitelaw. She seems to be the only smart character in the film, noticing from the beginning that Martin is something of a nutbag, and in the end she sadly pays for it.
So if you want to watch a top-notch psycho-thriller that, while not offering something new, is still pretty cool and memorable, I recommend you watch this film. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go whistle the main theme now.