Tuesday, October 21, 2014


William Castle was known for his horror films with gimmicks in the theater to engage the audience. A few producers jumped on the bandwagon. Most notably, Alfred Hitchcock asked theaters to for a "No Late Admissions" policy on the movie PSYCHO and even used this in promotions for the film. It worked, both increasing ticket sales and the shock value of the movie.

On the other hand, some promotional gimmicks failed. One of those was Psycho-rama and a film called TERROR IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE or MY WORLD DIES SCREAMING. To go into to much detail on this film isn't worth it, because unlike William Castle, the producers of this film didn't even attempt to make a great film. They thought their gimmick "Psycho-rama" would cover their shoddy workmanship. All you need to know is a woman has recurring nightmares about the attic of an old empty house. Her new husband takes her to the house on their honeymoon.

"Psycho-rama" was a series of "subliminal messages and images" that were added to the film to "heighten the terror." Subliminal messages are supposed to be hidden, so as to only be recognized by the subconscious. The "Psycho-rama" images appear as a sudden flash that blots out the action on screen for about two seconds. The other problem is the images they chose to use to "heighten the terror." If the producers had any sense, they would have used a photo of a skull, an angry dog or a gruesome corpse. The images the producers used were a cartoon drawing of a bald guy with thick glasses eating a mouse and a devil sticking his tongue out (above). After a while, these start to get annoying because they seem to pop-up at random.

Add to this the story writing on the story is cliched and rather bland. Also several typical continuity errors, such as the story taking place late at night, yet when characters walk outside, it is daylight. Also the cars seem to change the direction they are parked mid-scene.

This film also waste two very talented people: Actress Cathy O'Donnell, who appeared in the movies BEN HUR and THE BEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and Gerald Mohr, who was the star of the TV series, Foreign Intrigue, narrator of The Lone Ranger TV series, and the original cartoon voices of Green Lantern and Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards. I notice they even spell Ms. O'Donnell's name wrong on the poster.

It is interesting to watch once for the novelty, but you probably won't watch it over again like many of the great horror films and even a few of the bad ones.


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