Wednesday, March 28, 2012

HOW AWFUL ABOUT ALLAN - "Wouldn't You Be Better Off Dead?" (1970)

"How Awful About Allan" is not really that exciting of a movie, but it just might be the only thriller with three consecutive 'A' words in the title, and that counts for something, doesn't it? Director Curtis Harrington was the man responsible for bringing us such classics as "Night Tide," "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet," and "Queen Of Blood," and statement and question titles like "How Awful About Allan," "What's The Matter With Helen?" and "Who Slew Auntie Roo?" before drifting off into a long career in television!

Jeez, for a moment there, I thought that was the "Psycho" house burning!

Basic premise: The family house burns up, and Allan feels responsible for not saving his Father and his sister. His Dad died in the fire, and his sister was horribly disfigured, at least for a TV movie anyway!

8 months later, Allan is scheduled to get out of the mental hospital, and go home, but there's just one problem..........

..........Even though there's nothing wrong with his eyes, Allan can't see!

Allan is kinda welcomed back home by his scarred sister Katherine played by Julie (East Of Eden) Harris! Katherine has all kinds of problems, the least of which is probably her brother!

Allan's fiancee before his big burnout was Joan Hackett as Olive! Joan had the role of Esther Fortune in the "Twilight Zone" episode entitled "A Piano In The House!" Most of Joan's career was on TV, and she left us way too early at the age of 49 back in 1983!

He might not be able to see, but Allan's Spidey senses tell him something is not right! It's hard to believe that Anthony Perkins has been gone since 1992! One of my favourites of his many crazy guys roles was that of the great baseball player Jimmy Piersall who suffered mental problems in "Fear Strikes Out!" Almost a documentary, I always remember the scene where Jimmy's on first, and he picks up sand, and puts it in the first baseman's pocket! The first baseman had no clue on how to react. Jimmy Piersall was a regular Till Eulenspiegel, and Anthony Perkins was cast perfectly for the role!

The music in "How Awful About Allan" isn't anything that special! Allan's tastes ran towards classical not rock or jazz, after all it was a TV movie!

Olive convinces Allan to get out of the house, but when she leaves him alone for a little bit, he freaks out and tries to drive away despite his vision problems! As would be expected, it doesn't work out very well!!

Allan is haunted by dreams and visions of his sister and his overbearing father, or as Tom Smothers would be expected to tell his brother Dick, "Dad always liked you best!"

Here's a great example of the genius of Curtis Harrington, out of the 73 minutes of runtime for "How Awful About Allan," I'm guessing 20 minutes is seen through Allan's blind eyes! Roll camera, shoot anything, it doesn't matter, he's blind, who cares if the boom mike is in the shot?

Allan spends another 15 minutes of so of the movie, hanging out dazed and confused!

Even though he's blind, Allan sees what's going on all around him, that nobody else seems to notice! The truth is that his sister is really a vindictive lying bitch! She was burned, but she had it fixed a long time ago, and wears the fake scar strictly for sympathy!

After the truth is finally told, Allan's vision is returned, and him and Olive get married, and live happily ever after!

Well, almost, after it's all said and done, there's no time for a happy ending here, as there are still more ghosts in the closet, and Allan's vision leaves him once again!

It truly is sad, "How Awful About Allan!" How awful that it was released as "Psycho 2" in Italy! Pass me another Giallo Shot, per favore!


Ralphie Bitsko said...

How Awful!!

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Yeah, it was a real shame!!!


Greg Goodsell said...

Never mind about Allan. This is a diverting time waster, but not one of Curtis Harrington's best.

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