One of William Castle’s poorest offerings. In some ways it’s supposed to be a campy riff on “Psycho” but it falls flat. Of course it starts with producer-director Castle’s usual corny introduction.
Miriam Webster checks into a hotel for one night. She picks bellhop Jim Nesbitt to take her suitcase to her room. She offers him two thousand dollars to marry her. She’ll have the marriage annulled right afterwards. For two grand….why not?
They drive to the outskirts of town to a JP who’s half asleep and his shrew wife is bugged that anyone would come around that late. He performs a quick ceremony (funny bit). He goes to kiss the bride. She pulls out a knife, stabs him to death and takes off.
She drives to another car and makes the switch and goes to her house in another town. She lives there with the mute and wheelchair bound Helga and her sister. Turns out her sister is really Miriam and she’s Emily. Helga was their nurse in California and Denmark.
Miriam (Patricia Breslin) owns a flower shop and her boyfriend Karl (Glenn Corbett) owns the drug store. Emily gives Karl a prescription to fill for some poison. Emily has been acting strange and Helga is afraid of her.
Later Emily goes into Miriam’s shop and tears up the wedding displays. She also rips up a picture of her half brother Warren. As things creak along Karl is suspicious of Emily and brings in the cops. A sketch in the newspaper about the JP’s killer looks like Emily. Lt.Miller brings Nesbitt into Miriam’s shop and he says that’s not the woman from the hotel.
Back at the mansion Emily has her favorite knife sharpened. She’s just about to sink it into Helga when the doctor drops by to see her. He doesn’t stay long and just as he’s leaving Helga mouths the word help but he doesn’t get it. He leaves and Emily finishes what she started.
Later Miriam and Warren pull up and he goes inside. When he doesn’t come back out Miriam walks towards the house. There’s the sound of a loud heartbeat. Now it’s time for Castle’s gimmick. A clock comes on the screen with forty-five seconds on it. Castle’s voiceover says this is the fright break and it’s your chance to leave the theatre. Your forty-five seconds are up. Miriam continues her walk.
The ending is tipped off early only if a reference makes you remember a big news item from the fifties. The movie isn’t very good and isn’t one to spend time with. Put it on the back burner and leave it there.
The opening credits say “Introducing Jean Arless.” It’s really Joan Marshall who starred in the 1959 TV series “Bold Venture” as Sailor Duval.