13 March 2009 | BA_Harrison
A kitchen sink psycho thriller.
Although Hammer's output from the 60s and 70s was dominated by splendid Gothic horrors, their filmography from that period also contained a number of lesser known psychological thrillerstitles that were no doubt produced to cash in on the success of films such as Hitchcock's Psycho and French chiller Les Diaboliques.
One of the last such efforts to be produced by Hammer (before they turned their attention to making TV comedies into full-length features) was the intriguingly titled Straight on Till Morning, which somehow managed to combine murder with the more mundane elements of a 'kitchen sink' drama.
Rita Tushingham stars as Brenda, a desperate, dowdy young woman who leaves her home in Liverpool to try and find love and happiness in London. After finding herself a job in a trendy boutique, and a room to rent at a work colleague's groovy pad, Brenda begins her search for a man, but finds attracting the attention of the opposite sex much harder than she thought it would be.
When Joey (James Bolam)the one man with whom Brenda might have had some luck withwinds up in bed with her blonde nympho flat-mate Caroline (the lovely Katya Wyeth), the distraught girl flees into the night where she chances upon a lost dog that belongs to Peter (Shane Briant), a wealthy young man who could be her Mr. Right. If only he didn't have homicidal tendencies, a bizarre hatred of beauty, and a very sharp Stanley knife...
With this interesting story, exploitative content, and talented cast, Straight on Till Morning could have been superb, but the film's iffy editing (which irritatingly intercuts rapidly between scenes), combined with director Peter Collinson's frustrating decision to suggest his nasty violence rather than show us the goods, ultimately means that the film doesn't fulfill its potential.
Still, even though the film isn't classic Hammer by any stretch of the imagination, it's worth checking out for the hilariously horrible 70s fashion and fun scenes of swinging London, Briant's incredible mop of blonde hair that steals every scene it's in, the hysterical moment when Tushingham goes into town to glam herself up only to return looking like a bad drag queen, and a couple of genuinely disturbing moments that include a surprisingly bleak finalé.
5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.