When four men are found brutally murdered, Wymark is assigned to the case. Each murder has an odd quirk: the victims are found with lookalike dolls lying next to the corpses. It is learned the four victims were members of a commission that convicted a German industrialist of using slave
labor during WW II. After learning the dolls had been purchased by the man's widow (the husband having committed suicide upon his conviction), Wymark pays her a call. He finds the old woman (Johnston) confined to a wheelchair. Her room is filled with dolls with whom she speaks when her son is at
work. The inspector goes to visit the son (Standing) at his job in a boathouse. Standing becomes nervous under questioning and finally turns violent, knocking out Wymark. Huxtable, the daughter of one of the victims, decides to take up the investigation herself. She visits the old lady and finds
Standing's body propped up in a chair like a doll. Johnston gets up from her chair and begins walking towards the terrified young girl, but loses her balance, falling down a flight of stairs and killing herself. This is a nifty little shock film, full of surprises and some great production values.
The script is by Bloch, author of the novel that inspired Hitchcock's film PSYCHO. That probably accounts for the title. Some of the motifs from Hitchcock's classic (such as the crippled mother and strange son) recur in this film. The direction is well laid out, with some good suspense leading up
to the surprise ending. All the loose ends are tied up in the finale as well, which is to the film's credit. Performances are a lot better than one might expect, with fine characterizations by the leads. Like PSYCHO's Norman Bates, Johnston's character is one of those people that confuses the
audience. Do we feel sorry for her or hate her for her murderous ways? No matter. It's all well handled and very entertaining.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: When four men are found brutally murdered, Wymark is assigned to the case. Each murder has an odd quirk: the victims are found with lookalike dolls lying next to the corpses. It is learned the four victims were members of a commission that convicted a Germ… (more)