After an eight-month stay in a mental hospital, a tormented man comes home to live with his sister; but a mysterious boarder may be trying to kill him.After an eight-month stay in a mental hospital, a tormented man comes home to live with his sister; but a mysterious boarder may be trying to kill him.After an eight-month stay in a mental hospital, a tormented man comes home to live with his sister; but a mysterious boarder may be trying to kill him.
After a fire that killed his father and scarred his sister, a guilt-ridden victim of psychosomatic blindness is released from a mental hospital and returns home to stay with his estranged sister, but it appears that someone is out for revenge and wants to drive him crazy. —alfiehitchie
Poor Anthony has family issues again...
Anthony Perkins became legendary and immortal thanks to "Psycho" in which he portrayed Norman Bates; a mentally very unstable boy with a more than unhealthy bond with his mother. I honestly wouldn't go as far as to call this typecasting, but in this slick and underrated TV-thriller Perkins depicts another mentally troubled young man and once again family issues are to blame for his condition! During the intro of the film we witness how Allan (Perkins) stares almost emotionless at the house fire that kills his father (a profound doctor) and mutilates his sister Katherine. From the shock, and probably also the guilt, Allan spontaneously loses his eye-sight. I didn't know this was possible, in fact, but the physician at the mental hospital carefully explains that Allan's blindness is purely psychosomatic. Eight months after the tragedy, Allan returns – arguably too soon – to his parental house to live with his sister who underwent plastic surgery to cover the burning wounds. Soon after his arrival, Allan becomes convinced that someone is trying to scare him away or even kill him, but his blurry visions can only identify a vague shape that wanders around the house. Is it the student tenant that his sister accepted into the house to generate an extra income? Or perhaps Katherine's old lover who returned from abroad and whom Allan never could stand? Or, who knows, perhaps Allan's fear of getting killed is only psychosomatic as well? "How Awful about Allan" is a typical TV-thriller from the early seventies, meaning that it benefices from a rather simplistic but nevertheless absorbing story, an atmosphere relying on suspense instead of action or gore and a handful of dedicated acting performances. The biggest trump here is that we, the audience, witness practically all the attacks from Allan's point of view and thus also only see vague shapes and blurred faces as well. Through this minor detail, director Curtis Harrington ("Games", "What's the matter with Helen?") upholds the mystery until the climax and makes it difficult for the viewer to make up his/her mind regarding Allan's true state of mind. There are a few powerful and creepy sequences, notably when a petrified Allan tries to drive off in a car and forgets for a moment that he's as good as blind. "How Awful about Allan" is perhaps not entirely on par with the absolute greatest TV-thrillers of the early seventies, but it's a good film and establishes the versatile talents of both its director Curtis Harrington and protagonist Anthony Perkins.
- Nov 28, 2016
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